Network Function Virtualization (NFV)
Virtualization concept came into existence with the advent of Internet only. The Internet created a cyber world, which is virtual. It isn’t tangible. One can touch, feel, smell or define dimensions for the Internet, thus it is virtual. Today, most of us have our cyber or virtual identity. We have virtual work places, and thus we have work from home option, we can shop virtually – the entire e-commerce is just a virtual market place, we can even have virtual education with online courses, even the governance is going virtual these days with e-governance. So why not have virtual networks too?
It’s democratic, easy, hassle-free, scalable, need based, mobile, agile, dynamic, distributed, resilient, secured and high level of redundancy. That’s why virtual is going places instead of real. It is beyond physical limitations. It’s multi-tenant thus the utilization is more and with the same resource, multiple people can benefit.
Now this is something that came into existence, as SDN or OpenFlow was getting delayed in getting ready to be delivered. The service providers developed a work around to make things happen. So the first step was, why depend upon a specialized hardware, why can we do it on a standard white box, by porting specific software to the white box. We all know that even a PC can be configured as a router or firewall or a BRAS, by using specific software’s. And then with services like AWS being available from Amazon, why to keep white boxes too, why can’t it be done on virtual machines?
Thus NFV got differentiated from OpenFlow & SDN, as both data & control planes are virtual, here. The complete network functions go virtual here. Thus all the functionalities of SDN like virtualization, programmability, Orchestration, automation, openness, multi-tenancy – all are done on virtual machines or on cloud.
We can sum up the NFV features as;
- Virtual with a predictable performance.
- Portable and mobile.
- Flexible & elastic still measurable performance as per commands.
- High level of resiliency and redundancy still secured.
- Completely cloud based, yet energy efficient and assured service.
Thus the best-suited applications could be, as it’ll reduce the CAPEX & Time for (GTM) Go-To-Market for them;
- Data centers, &
- Service providers – be it a mobility provider or an ISP.
- Did you know that cloud computing was neither invent by an IT Giant, not by IT academicians? Amazon.com invented it. Yes, August 25, 2006, Amazon planned to rent out their data center infrastructure as virtual computing under the brand name of (AWS) Amazon Web Services, which is one of the most profitable businesses for Amazon.com, today.