What is NFV, Network Function Virtualization?
Traditional IT networks are unable to respond to consumer demand demanded by the new Mobility and Cloud scenarios. This post explains what NFV is, Network Function Virtualization, and how it solves current needs for bandwidth, flexibility, speed, and security, reducing hardware costs.
Furthermore, the extreme competition in which companies move today has forced them to tackle a digital transformation in which the network cannot remain left out.
Business users need immediate and fluid access to applications from their fixed or mobile devices. It is only imaginable if there is a perfect mesh between the entire IT architecture that makes it possible. The network ensures that the dialogue between all IT elements is optimal.
In fact, a manual and traditional network management approach is unaffordable: purchase of dedicated hardware for each network element, design, and configuration, IT maintenance services to guarantee its operability and adaptation to changes that remain applied over time.
If we multiply this network operation for each IT resource, it is an investment in cost and time that practically no company can support.
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How Network Virtualization Technology Works
The benefits of virtualization also apply to networks to meet new needs and deploy profitable IT infrastructures.
Likewise, NFV (Network Function Virtualization) consists of moving the network functions of dedicated HW devices to virtual servers. It involves consolidating multiple tasks on a single physical server.
When network functions remain controlled by a hypervisor (i.e., virtualization software), services that required dedicated hardware can remain performed on standard servers. VMware vSphere ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, or Citrix XenServer are some of the most used hypervisors.
Adding a new network role is as simple as starting a new virtual machine, shutting down when required.
Differences Between NFV and SDN
As well as, An NFV architecture remains made up of Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs):
- Network function devices: switches, routers, network access points, Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) …
- Network-related IT devices: firewalls, IDS systems, network device management systems …
- NAS storage: network-connected database or file servers.
The virtualization of these devices follows the same principle applied to servers and desktops; they start to share generic hardware resources. They are no longer isolated resources with dedicated HW.
Moreover, many NFV implementations use SDN (Software Defined Networking) controllers as part of their architecture to manage these and the end-to-end network. SDN refers to programs that control network equipment to automate, follow established rules, deliver services in an agile and optimal way, and balance use and traffic according to needs.
Deployment of Virtualized Networks: Benefits
The implementation of NFV is complex without the collaboration of a company specialized in IT support services as a Service. Virtualizing Network functions move Open Source standards to facilitate deployment, but incorporating existing infrastructure requires a dedicated implementation.
The benefits provided by NFV are more than enough to apply it directly to updating and incorporating new network needs:
- Reduction of expenses in hardware purchase
- Savings in space, cooling, and electricity
- Fast deployments of new devices
- Maximum flexibility and scalability to meet specific network needs
- Automation and centralization of management
Orbit Consulting Group specializes in designing and implementing IT architecture solutions for SMEs and companies in Madrid and Spain.