NFVI hardware platforms consist of NFVI data center hardware platforms and edge solutions that help complete entire NFV solution applications. Platforms that exist on the edge may be similar or scaled-down versions of that in the data center, often designed to support popular edge applications (or application families).
Popular NFV edge applications/platforms include CORD (Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter) from the LF (and ONF), VCO (Virtual Central Office) from the LF, Multi-access edge computing (MEC) as drive by ETSI, some of which relate to platforms like Virtual and Universal Customer Premise Equipment (vCPE & uCPE). Most of these hardware platforms take advantage of COTs hardware to reduce overall solution costs. These applications also change the way service providers are approaching their customers as their architectures change.
CORD (Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter) and VCO are transforming central offices by combining NFV, SDN, and the elasticity of clouds to bring datacenter economics and cloud agility to the Telco Central Office. CORD lowers costs, enables quicker time to market with new services and offers more flexibility to administrators to meet customer’s needs.
Mobile Network Operators (MNO) are utilizing MEC to meet rapidly changing customer demands. MEC is a network architecture that brings real-time, high-bandwidth, low-latency access for new 5G and IoT applications, allowing operators to open their networks to new ecosystems and value chains. MEC permits multiple types of access at the edge, including wireline.
uCPE and vCPE solutions address the similar needs in different ways. They both take advantage of commodity hardware and utilize software to provide the network services at the customer site. uCPE does this completely on the customer premise, where vCPE relies on functions to be delivered from a central cloud solution.
In summary, commodity hardware and NFV solutions are not only changing data center architectures and reducing costs, but also those of end to end applications.