A collaboration of many of the large players in the telecommunications space, the original NFV call to action focused on lowering the amount of proprietary hardware necessary to launch and operate services. The solution as discussed in the paper, already exists: high-end, virtualized computing resources.
With the addition of SDN, the combination of virtualized computing resources with storage and programmable switches allows Network Operators to add to their solutions portfolios while avoiding vendor lock-in and forced upgrade cycles. Bringing to life Software-led Infrastructure.
An NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG) has been formed with the ETSI.
Some of the values to the NFV concept are speed, agility and cost reduction.
By centralizing designs around commodity server hardware, network operators can:
Another key point brought up in the NFV call to action paper is the availability of network optimizations in current generation CPUs. The throughput and functionality of software based routers, switches and other high-touch packet processing devices is constrained by having to send each packet through the processor.
With tools such as Intel’s DPDK and the Linux based NAPI, Intel’s Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors can be optimized to provide high-speed forwarding paths allowing for much higher throughput rates.
While not called out in the NFV call to action, programmable switches are a gateway to NFV nirvana.
OpenFlow, a standard for programming data paths into networking equipment, provides one way to separate the control and data planes. OpenFlow allows for the use of commodity hardware for control plane decision making and inexpensive programmable switches for packet forwarding.
Other benefits to the separation of the control and data planes are:
Network Operators have realized that solutions to their current issues are available today. The combination of key parts of both SDN and Virtualization allows Network Operators to deploy features and functions in a timely and cost effective manner.
By using commodity hardware, costs can be managed and resources allocated effectively.