NFV: Throwing Out the Pizza Boxes
Network Function Virtualization (NFV) has been made possible by the gains in the processing power of general purpose CPUs and by the rapid adoption and maturation of Virtual Machine (VM) environments. Network service providers have begun looking at NFV to speed the delivery of new offerings to customers and to reduce costs, replacing appliance-based services with software.
Enterprises stand to gain as much from NFV as network service providers. CIOs are under constant pressure to reduce operational and capital costs, increase service offerings to the business, while maintaining compliance with industry standards.
NFV implementation offers a new level of business agility to the enterprise. The use of NFV at the customer premise or in the cloud can help IT departments simplify interoperability testing of multiple, disparate systems by purchasing a pre-integrated solution from their service provider.
Replacing pizza box servers at the customer premise also greatly decreases compliance overhead and ensures a centrally controlled product with consistent configurations and software versions. NFV enables network administrators to add functionality as a location grows, for instance, without the need to ship equipment and incur capital expense overhead.
Combining NFV functionality within the Network Interface Device (NID) provides a true “one box” solution and reduces potential points of failure, which is especially critical in small offices and remote locations that lack dedicated IT staff.
The ability to mix and match service components, especially when controlled by the enterprise customer via a web or application interface, increases both the business and technical agility that CIOs are in search of in their constantly changing and evolving work environments.
The promise of NFV and SDN (Software Defined Network, which I’ll discuss next week) is to extend end-user control and configuration options, while easing implementation requirements. NFV brings the type of flexibility and agility to the network that enterprise customers have come to expect in the cloud-computing environment.