What is NFV?
Network Functions Virtualization is the concept of replacing dedicated network appliances — such as routers and firewalls — with software running on commercial off-the-shelf servers.
NFV offers a new way to design, deploy and manage networking services. NFV decouples the network functions, such as network address translation (NAT), firewalling, intrusion detection, domain name service (DNS), and caching, to name a few, from proprietary hardware appliances so they can run in software.
It’s designed to consolidate and deliver the networking components needed to support a fully virtualized infrastructure – including virtual servers, storage, and even other networks. It utilizes standard IT virtualization technologies that run on high-volume service, switch and storage hardware to virtualize network functions. It is applicable to any data plane processing or control plane function in both wired and wireless network infrastructures.
History of Network Functions Virtualization
The concept originated from service providers who were looking to accelerate the deployment of new network services to support their revenue and growth objectives. The constraints of hardware-based appliances led them to applying standard IT virtualization technologies to their networks. To accelerate progress towards this common goal, several providers came together and created the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).
The aim of NFV is to transform the way communication service providers (CSPs) architect networks and deliver network services. Network operations are transformed as network function software is dynamically instantiated in various network locations in the network as needed, without requiring the installation of new equipment.
Benefits of NFV
• Lower hardware costs by replacing dedicated appliances with shared servers
• Speed revenue-generating services to market
• Reduce operational costs with fewer appliances to deploy and maintain
• Support on-demand pay-as-you go deployment models
• Enable Innovation by making it easier to develop network functions
• Deploy virtualized solutions on commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware