As communications service providers (CSPs) move towards cloud-based infrastructure models, serious interest in network functions virtualization (NFV) is growing accordingly. The technology has evolved rapidly enough that the ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ETSI NFV ISG) is shifting its focus from requirements to implementation. Now the big question is how to implement NFV successfully in today’s heterogeneous environments.
A new white paper sponsored by Dialogic and authored by networking veteran Jim Metzler of Ashton, Metzler and Associates, helps CSPs plan out the most effective path to profitable NFV implementation. “NFV Applications – Key Considerations for Profitability,” looks at how software-based network functionality should be architected when it comes to migrating services to a virtualized environment.
The white paper takes a look at software modularity and outlines guiding principles so CSPs can maximize the profitability of NFV when deploying virtualized network functions (VNFs) that support IP multimedia subsystem (IMS)-based services. The paper also examines technical and business drivers around NFV, what individual CSPs should consider when looking at VNFs, and how to maximize profitability of NFV implementations.
How to Find the Right NFV Approach
When CSPs implement NFV, they should have two main goals: 1) to increase the profitability of existing services delivered in a traditional manner, and 2) to adopt new, profitable business models for the deployment of new services.
Moving network functions to the cloud is not a trivial task. To help CSPs do so in a way that fulfills the key goals, the paper lays out the most important factors to consider:
- Modular software programming: A key technique that decomposes pieces of software-based functionality into independent modules
- Technology considerations: The importance of flexible architectures to support VMs, containers, and unikernels
- Software-centric design: The importance of choosing VNFs designed to run in a virtualized, software-centric environment as opposed to porting legacy code
- The role of open source: How industry groups and open source are shaping the evolution of NFV
- Programmatic interfaces: How cloud automation, scalability, and programmability have shifted from “nice to have” to “must have” in NFV environments
- NFV and SDN: Why NFV and SDN will increasingly be intertwined
- High availability: How NFV shifts the focus away from redundant systems of highly reliable physical components to highly available services supported in part by the underlying NFV infrastructure (NFVI) layer.
The paper offers VNF implementation examples that illustrate some of these guiding principles.
Read the white paper on NFV profitably and software modularity to learn more.