The momentum around Network Functions Virtualization or NFV is building. While still in its early stages, it promises to be a disruptive influence to the way service providers build networks and deliver services to their customers. It’s also going to shake up how traditional network equipment manufacturers do business in the future. IHS Infonetics projects the NFV market to grow to over $11B in 2019, and that $4 out of every $5 spent will be on software, not hardware.
Functionality and services will reside in Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) in this new telco communications cloud environment. But will costs come down when infrastructure functionality is taken off purpose-built hardware and moved to a common resource pool of virtualized compute, storage and networking? Will more hardware be required to support the processing of real-time applications in addition to the virtualization environment? Let’s face it, today’s COTS server is in the position of being a “jack of all trades”, but does that also mean that it is a “master of none”? Granted, overhead introduced by virtualization is coming down and getting close to native performance levels, but for real-time, rich media data plane processing, I/O and CPU speeds need to be fast. As we move towards 5G where envisioned application latencies are in the sub-millisecond range, processing speed will be paramount.
Moving applications to NFV is not as simple as taking existing software and dropping it on top of a virtual machine. This approach does not optimize application efficiency. Nor does it take full advantage of the benefits of a cloud-based approach, and service providers, that are already seeing margin erosion, run the risk of an unprofitable move towards an NFV environment. In a recent white paper, Jim Metzler outlined a few guiding principles, service providers should consider when it comes to virtualizing applications. I’ve highlighted a few of them below:
You can download the entire white paper - “NFV Applications: Key Considerations for Profitability” - for free by clicking on this link. What other requirements are there for profitable NFV deployment? Let us know by tweeting them with the hash tag #NFVprofitability to @Dialogic.