The NFV framework enables network functions to be standardized, allowing for the construction and management of function or functions that best support the organization’s environment.
This makes it easy for service providers and enterprises to deploy new services faster, while maximizing their investments in existing platforms.
VNFs in the NFV Framework
As described in the introduction, there are three major components to an NFV framework:
- VNFs – the virtual implementation of a physical network function.
- NFVI – the physical resources (compute, storage, network) and the virtual instantiations that make up the infrastructure.
- NFV MANO – the management and control layer that focuses on all the virtualization-specific management tasks required throughout the lifecycle of the VNF.
These components fit together in the architecture depicted in the diagram below.
Specifically, for this report, we will be focusing on the VNF portion of the infrastructure, which includes VNFs (the actual network functions running as pure software implementations) and VNFCs (VNF components, often library or subcomponents that can be used to modularly build up VNFs).
VNFs are essentially the “stars” of the NFV show as they represent the key functions that service providers are trying to migrate into a virtualized environment. Some examples of common VNFs include vEPC services, routing, caching, security etc. Most of the VNFs are provided in the form of VMs (Virtual Machines) that run on the NFVI which often includes a hypervisor like Linux KVM or VMware’s ESXi. However, we are seeing some more recent implementations that use Linux Containers as their execution environment, addressing some of the performance and memory footprint overhead that VMs have to contend with.