There has been and continues to be a lot of hype around NFV. The benefits are highlighted above – namely CAPEX and OPEX reduction because of a move to software running on COTS servers in cloud based environments, and the resultant expected new service delivery because of these moves. As such the market is growing, and eating into heretofore hardware-based network infrastructure. Infonetics expects the global service provider SDN and NFV market to reach $11B by 2018.
NFV is not just creating software versions of hardware based infrastructure solutions though, such as software based SBCs or software based media servers. While that is certainly a first step, there are more steps to go to complete the vision of software infrastructure nodes that are managed in a cloud environment. As such, it also means these software based solutions need to fit into a larger solution, one that is managing all this different software.
ETSI first addressed this movement and came up with an architecture on how this could be implemented and continues to have meetings and move this forward. These documents outline the work ahead including introducing concepts such as VNFs (Virtual Network Functions) that run within the larger NFV framework, NFV-I (Network Function Virtualization Infrastructure) and MANO (Management and Orchestration), which is software to manage the VFNs and orchestrate the activity among the VFNs and the NFV. Dialogic has been a participant with these meetings.
OPNFV is another organization created to accelerate the introduction of NFV into the communications fabric. From my perspective, this has an open source point of view to NFV. While open source does not have to be present in a VNF, many VFNs are utilizing OpenStack since OpenStack helps build and manage and cloud-based infrastructure. Dialogic is using this in our NFV work for instance.
But since the industry is involved, I expect OPNFV will take a pragmatic approach to implementation and will start to tackle some of the implementation issues. We understand NFV is not just software-based infrastructure. We understand this since we offer software-based infrastructure today and we have been for almost 15 years. And we know there is work to do to get to true NFV environments. We support that. And that’s why we, as Dialogic, decided to join OPNFV.