Ten years ago services were formulaic and the service providers knew the formula. New services took years to deploy due to rigorous standards for stability and quality but the customer was none the wiser and accepted this. Today’s customer is wiser. Today’s customer wants new services and they don’t want to wait for them. The introduction of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) has bought with it enormous potential to create and deliver services very quickly, for the customer this is great news. For the service provider this is a big headache.
So what is NFV?
NFV is a network architecture concept that proposes using IT virtualization related technologies, to virtualize entire classes of network node functions into building blocks that may be connected, or chained, together to create communication services. NFV offers service providers potential lower costs, greater agility and higher levels of service customization through virtualized infrastructure. The formation of the NFV Industry Specification Group (NFV ISG), was founded by seven large operators in 2012 – AT&T, BT, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Verizon – and now includes more than 150 companies, 28 of them service providers.
What does this mean for service providers?
Even as a new concept NFV is proving popular throughout the telecoms industry with early adopters including: Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei and HP. As NFV popularity grows, so do the concerns over partnerships, SLAs and scalability. The development of secure and trusted partnerships will be key to service providers capitalizing on the potential of NFV.
You will be able to find out much more about NFV and virtualization at the ‘Virtualizing Everything Forum‘ at TM Forum Live! in Nice in June.