With the basic premise behind NFV out of the way, let’s focus on the two major aspects of the NFV infrastructure that we’ll cover in the report: the NFVI (the foundation platform itself that includes the hardware, operating systems, hypervisor etc) and the VIM (the resource management component of the NFVI).
After physical network functions are converted to software i.e. Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), they need resources to run on. NFV Infrastructure (NFVI) consists of the physical and virtual compute, storage and networking resources that VNFs utilize.
The NFVI layer primarily interacts with two other NFV framework components: VNFs and the Virtualized Infrastructure Manager (VIM). As we have already seen, the VNF software runs on NFVI. The VIM, on the other hand, is responsible for provisioning and managing the virtual infrastructure. This means that the VNF to NFVI interface (Vn-Nf) constitutes a datapath through which network traffic traverses, while the NFV to VIM interface (Nf-Vi) constitutes a control-path that is used solely for management but not for any network traffic.
NFVI consists of three distinct layers: physical infrastructure, virtualization layer and the virtual infrastructure.
Through the rest of this section, we will take a deeper look at each component of the NFVI.
NFVI – Hardware (data center, edge and vCPE)
NFVI hardware consists of compute, storage and network hardware. We’ll examine each separately in more detail.
Compute Hardware: Industry Standard Servers
A key promise of NFV is to transition proprietary single function boxes to industry standard servers. There is a rich diversity of options when it comes to these standard servers, more than one might initially expect.