It didn’t take long — wandering the halls of Mobile World Congress 2015 (MWC15) — for me to see (and hear) that network function virtualization (NFV) is a hot topic in both the networking and telecommunication worlds. Every day it is being considered more of an emerging reality for network operators. Why is NFV being talked about so much? First of all, let’s start by looking at a snapshot of what’s going on in the networking and communication industry right now.
It is expected that global sales via mobile will reach $626 billion by 2018, while an analytics market driven by the Internet of Things will expand to $19 trillion in the next 10 years. The growing use and variety of connected devices and wearables will trigger these developments, contributing even more to the ever-expanding stack of big data collected daily. All of these factors call for major changes in the current network architecture, driving the need for faster, more flexible networks and enhanced capabilities for data centers. This is where NFV steps in. NFV and Software Defined Networking (SDN) are being viewed as the key technology drivers in an era where the need for complex infrastructure and hardware are beginning to take a backseat.
NFV leverages cloud to create fully virtualized IT infrastructures
As we move forward into the next generation of mobile usage, two of the most important things to consider will be speed and dependability of the network. Currently, mobile still relies heavily on hardware-driven functions such as network address translations (NAT), intrusion detection, firewall, domain name system (DNS) and more. Each of these functions often require their own dedicated hardware, infrastructure, and management. With software-defined capabilities becoming more and more commonplace, NFV is moving certain parts and functionalities of networks to the cloud. This allows networks to run seamlessly and be managed more centrally with less interference from outside sources.
Impact of NFV on mobile and wireless technologies
Eventually, as mobile becomes more vital to business operations, factors like cost and the amount of time it takes to market are going to be driving decisions on the mobile agenda. For businesses that know the importance of mobile, it comes down to making it a part of their key business processes. NFV can make mobile deployments a lot more sensible for businesses by taking care of issues such as cost-effectiveness, scalability, increased performance, and unified management of devices and networks. These aren’t the only benefits of NFV. A closer look turns up the following benefits as well:
- Traditional network devices can be replaced with software located on common servers
- Real-time data monitoring can be enabled to make quicker decisions
- Network services can be deployed easily and quickly
- Reduction of network downtime when changes are made
- Less space, power, and cooling requirements for equipment will be needed, simplifying the setup and management of network services
- More room will be available for quick scalability based on changing demands
If it wasn’t already, the massive amount of buzz here at MWC15 is showing that NFV is no longer just a cool topic for techies but is a real, practical vehicle for mobile proliferation. With promising new models for network service deployments, NFV is a subject that network operators and software vendors should be paying attention to.
What do you see as the most lucrative benefits of NFV? How will it improve your current network operations?
This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. To learn more about tech news and analysis visit TechPageOne. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.