What Is Network Functions Virtualization NFV?

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What Is Network Functions Virtualization NFV?

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is a software-based networking technology that can enable network functions and services, such as firewalls, load balancers, and routers, to communicate with each other on standard server hardware using Software-defined Networking (SDN) methods.

NFV simplifies the deployment and management of network functions and services by virtualizing them and running them on commodity hardware, instead of specialized, proprietary hardware. By doing so, networking environments can be made more flexible, agile, and cost-effective.

Objectives of NFV

The objective of NFV is to enable the deployment and management of virtualized network functions (VNFs) without installing and configuring physical hardware. It simplifies the process of adding, removing, or scalability of network functions, without requiring complex hardware provisioning.

Many networking environments can use NFV, including data centers, enterprise networks, and telecommunications.

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History of Network Functions Virtualization

During the OpenFlow World Congress 2012, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), a consortium of companies including AT&T, China Mobile, BT Group, Deutsche Telekom, and others, introduced the concept of virtualizing network functions. To make network services more accessible, these service providers sought ways to accelerate the deployment process.

Previously, launching new network services necessitated additional power and space. Due to rising energy and space costs as well as a decrease in professional networking hardware engineers, the ETSI committee implemented network function virtualization.

With NFV, hardware appliances do not need physical space, and configuration and management do not require extensive networking experience.

Several open source projects are working on NFV standards, including ETSI, Open Platform for NFV, Open Network Automation Platform, Open Source MANO, and MEF. This was formerly known as the Metro Ethernet Forum.

Network Functions Virtualization can be challenging for service providers because there are so many competing standards proposals. Despite its growing popularity, enterprise networks are becoming increasingly complex and demanding.

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Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Architecture

An individual proprietary hardware device, such as a router, switch, gateway, firewall, load balancer, or intrusion detection system, performs different networking tasks in a traditional network architecture. To perform networking functions on a virtualized network, software applications run on virtual machines in place of physical equipment.

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Architecture

Three parts make up an NFV Architecture:

  1. NFV infrastructures can be based on container management platforms or hypervisors that abstract computing, storage, and network resources.
  2. Applications that deliver network functionality (virtualized network functions) through software instead of traditional hardware components.
  3. Infrastructure and Network Functionality need to be managed and automated through a framework (often called MANO, Management, Automation, and Network Orchestration).

What are The Benefits of Network Functions Virtualization?

There is no doubt that Network Function Virtualization offers many benefits that outweigh the risks. The building of hardware-based networks relies on network managers purchasing and configuring dedicated hardware devices by hand. Performing this task requires specialized networking skills and is time-consuming.

What are The Benefits of Network Functions Virtualization

NFV technology allows Virtual Network Functions to run on generic servers controlled by hypervisors without the need to purchase proprietary hardware devices. It is much easier to configure and manage networks when they are virtualized.

Virtual machines are easy to provision and manage, so network functionality can be added or modified on demand. Aside from that, a few benefits of network functions virtualization are:

  • It’s easy to deploy new or modify existing network functions with virtualization without having to buy physical hardware. Businesses can respond to market demands and change business needs faster this way.
  • You can scale network functions up or down without adding any more hardware with network function virtualization. Organizations can use this to save money and manage resources better.
  • Each network function can be isolated so security measures can be applied individually. By doing so, security breaches can be reduced and network security can be improved.
  • By combining multiple network devices into a single server or virtual machine, organizations can reduce hardware costs. In addition to saving money, this can also reduce energy costs.
  • Using Network Function Virtualization, organizations can centralize network management and monitoring, allowing them to detect and troubleshoot issues more easily. As a result, network performance and reliability can be improved.

Also Read: What Is A Security Operations Center (SOC)?

Risks of Network Functions Virtualization

Network Function Virtualization increases network responsiveness, flexibility, and scalability. As a result, it can significantly reduce equipment costs and speed up the time to market.

Risks of Network Functions Virtualization

The security risks of Network Functions Virtualization remain a concern among telecommunications providers, which has hindered its wide adoption. Network functions virtualization has some risks that service providers need to be aware of:

  • Compared to the physical equipment that is locked in a data center, virtualized network components are more vulnerable to new types of attacks.
  • In contrast to hardware components that can be isolated or physically separated, malware travels more easily between virtual components that are all running on the same virtual machine.
  • NFV requires more fine-grained security solutions since network traffic travelling east-west between virtual machines is less transparent.
  • Traditional network traffic monitoring tools struggle to spot potentially malicious anomalies. In inherently complex networks with a lot of layers, blanket security policies are not effective in securing them.

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How Does NFV Work?

Virtualizing Network Functions replace individual hardware networking components in terms of functionality. Essentially, virtual machines run networking software like traditional hardware. Hardware components do not perform tasks such as load balancing, routing, or firewall security.

Hypervisors or software-defined networking controllers allow network engineers to automate the construction of virtual networks and program all of the different segments. Within minutes, IT managers can configure various aspects of the network through one pane of glass.

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Implementation

A Virtualized Network Function, or VNF, is created and deployed to implement network function virtualization. Delivering more complex products and services requires building out VNFs in sequence as part of a service chain.

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Implementation

Implementing NFV also involves orchestration. In a network, the orchestration layer is responsible for defining, provisioning, monitoring, repairing, and billing VNF instances.

Providing high security, availability, and scalability are all features of carrier-grade offerings. Moreover, these features enable highly reliable, scalable, and cost-effective services.

Orchestration layers that properly implement VNF management must be able to do so regardless of the underlying technology.

To put it another way, an orchestration layer must be capable of managing any type of VNF, regardless of vendor or technology. In NFV, servers are a central piece of equipment that must be reliable and high performing.

Today, VMware, OpenStack, and container technology are the leading virtualization layers for NFV architecture. The main hypervisor options are VMware and OpenStack.

The use of containers for network function virtualization offers performance benefits for next-generation applications, despite its lack of widespread deployment. Some MANO layers use open standards, while others use vendor-supplied NFV architectures.

A VNF provides a rich set of features at the network application layer. To service elaborate network functions, network operators will group multiple VNFs from different vendors.

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Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Applications

There is a wide range of applications for NFV, including mobile networks. Virtualization of network functions is used in a variety of applications, including:

  • Streaming video content is one example of content delivery networks (CDNs)
  • The evolved packet core (EPC)
  • IMS (IP multimedia subsystem)
  • Monitoring of networks
  • Slicing networks
  • The load balancer
  • Web Application Firewalls
  • System for detecting and preventing intrusions, firewalls, and NAT
  • Session border control (SBC)
  • SD-WAN and software-defined branches
  • The virtual customer premises equipment (vCPE)

Why is Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Important?

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) makes it possible for communication services to be separated from dedicated hardware, such as routers and firewalls. By separating network operations from hardware, new services can be provided dynamically without having to install new hardware.

Why is Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Important

It takes hours instead of months to deploy network components with network functions virtualization. In addition, virtualized services can run on generic servers, rather than expensive proprietary servers.

Virtualizing Network Functions have the following additional benefits:

  • NFV models that operate on a pay-as-you-go basis can significantly reduce costs since businesses only pay for what they need.
  • By using virtual machines instead of physical machines, NFV reduces operations costs and requires fewer appliances.
  • Virtual machines make scaling network architectures easier and faster, and no hardware purchase is necessary.

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The concept of Software-Defined Networking, or SDN, allows networks to separate network control functions from network forwarding functions, such as routing, policy definitions, and applications.

SDN enables the programming of entire networks through a single pane of glass, using a virtual network control plane. A network can react quickly to dynamic workloads by automating control functions with SDN.

Both a virtual network and a physical network can be layered with software-defined networking, but virtual networks do not require it. As a result of virtualization technology, both SDN and NFV can operate.

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The Future of Network Functions Virtualization

There’s no doubt that the concept of Network Function Virtualization is growing in popularity, but what does the future hold for this technology? A connected world will require network optimization tools as it moves towards a more connected future.

The Future of Network Functions Virtualization

Software-based NFVs offer high levels of flexibility and scalability. Their key advantage is the ability to configure and update software at any time without physically modifying hardware.

In other words, NFV networks can implement and evolve as network capabilities evolve, whereas hardware networks take longer to do so.

Furthermore, we should note the progress made in automation and the Internet of Things, both of which require various forms of connectivity. A functional virtualization infrastructure will stay updated, evolve, and be easier to manage from the edge of the network when it is integrated into automated infrastructures.

Within the next few years, network complexity will increase, and more applications and services will connect. Using function virtualization will allow networks to become more complex and secure, as well as more flexible and reliable in the future.

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Why Choose Us?

Services are being moved from data centers to the network edge as service providers modernize their networks. With lower latency and higher bandwidth, services can be delivered more efficiently to subscribers.

You can save your company money, improve performance, and better protect your data with NFV-based IT infrastructure and architecture, which uses hypervisors and virtualization software such as OpenStack.

By using the latest NFV technologies and best practices, Infratech delivers superior results. You can build on a stable, interoperable foundation with our open-source and standards-based NFV solution.


What Is NFV Framework?

A network function can be virtualized through software virtualization by using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware instead of proprietary, purpose-built hardware dedicated to one service under the NFV framework.

What Is Network Function Virtualization In 5G?

5G Architecture integrates Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and cloud computing to meet the scale, throughput, latency, and reliability requirements.

Where Are the Network Functions Implemented In NFV?

VNFs, or Virtualized Network Functions, are necessary to implement network function virtualization. To deliver more complex products or services, VNFs must be strategically deployed in sequence. NFV implementation also involves orchestration.

What is VNF vs NFV?

The NFV provides the architecture for managing and orchestrating network activities, whereas VNFs provide virtual (independent-of-hardware) network capabilities.

What Are The Key Elements Of NFV?

It comprises virtualized network functions (VNFs), an NFV infrastructure (NFVI), and an NFV management and orchestration (MANO) component.

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