Network functions virtualization (NFV) offers an alternative way to design, deploy, and manage networking services. It is a complementary approach to software-defined networking (SDN) for network management. While they both manage networks, they rely on different methods. While SDN separates the control and forwarding planes to offer a centralized view of the network, NFV primarily focuses on optimizing the network services themselves.
NFV began when service providers attempted to speed up deployment of new network services in order to advance their revenue and growth plans, and they found that hardware-based appliances limited their ability to achieve these goals. They looked to standard IT virtualization technologies and found NFV helped accelerate service innovation and provisioning. With this, several providers banded together and created the NFV ISG under the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The creation of ETSI NFV ISG resulted in the foundation of NFV’s basic requirements and architecture.
ETSI continues to innovate NFV with new projects. Announced in September 2014, the Linux Foundation announced its open source reference platform, the Open Platform for NFV Project (OPNFV). OPNFV will work closely with ETSI to push for consistent open standards for NFV.
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