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NFV Benefits Include Both COTS Software Savings, Faster Turn-up Times

May 04, 2016

Network functions virtualization is most frequently described as a method of instantiating network functions in software only, so network operators can run that software on the hardware of their choice. That ability to leverage industry-standard hardware, NFV proponents suggest, can allow for significant cost savings.

But, as a recent article by C.K. Lam notes, network functions virtualization also provides network operators with the ability to deploy and update services much faster and more affordably than they could with the legacy architectures that are currently widely in place.

That can help these network operators to expedite the provisioning and turn up of services so that applications and services are available on demand, as opposed to the weeks or months it can take to provision services on most of today’s networks, notes Lam, director of data centre fabric and virtualization for the Asia Pacific at Brocade.

Indeed, an array of service providers including AT&T (News - Alert), CenturyLink, Masergy, and NTT are already leveraging software-centric architectures that leverage NFV and/or SDN to outfit their business customers with the ability to self-provision their services.

AT&T, BT (News - Alert) Group, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefonica and Verizon popularized the concept of NFV a few years ago with the creation of an NFV group within ETSI (News - Alert) and the publication of a white paper on NFV. Since then, many other facilities-based communications service providers, and their suppliers, have jumped aboard the NFV train.

But it’s not just CSPs that are embracing NFV, says Lam. Enterprise networks operators that are moving some of their workloads to the cloud are also benefiting from the technology.

“Prior to the advent of NFV, workloads that required specialized networking functionality were difficult to implement with high portability,” Lam writes for MIS Asia. “The rise of software-based networking functionality makes it easier to move such workloads between different cloud providers.”

Edited by Rory J. Thompson