5 Top Tips When Evaluating Your NFV Strategy

5 Top Tips When Evaluating Your NFV Strategy
Network Function Virtualisation (NFV); Lessons from Cloud and Virtualisation – Part 2

Originally written for the J-NET community at Juniper Networks (Guest Blog). Stuart Bates @recoveringtechy

In the first part of my blog I talked through the lessons I had learnt from seeing my customers adopt both virtualisation and cloud technologies, and it got me thinking about how they apply these learnings to the latest virtualisation technology, Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV).

The acronyms “SDN” and “NFV” are as popular around our industry now as “cloud” and “virtualisation” was a couple of years back. We saw these ideas rapidly moved from a PowerPoint presentation to real life tangible benefits, and I believe the same is true here.

NFV was primarily formed by service providers looking at a way to reduce cost and increase agility whilst reducing the reliance they have on hardware vendors, therefore it has real momentum as the people who created it are the ones who will consume it.

Software Defined Network (SDN) has a broader remit and is, therefore, less well formed, but is potentially more significant in its potential impact to how you architect your network and applications.

Both SDN and NFV, however, should mean something to you and your business and they will undoubtedly transform it over the next five years.

Most of my customers are looking seriously at NFV and now need to decide on their platform going forward. I advise them to look back at the lessons their organisations learnt from virtualising their compute and any moves to cloud that they have made.

My 5 top tips when evaluating your NFV Strategy:

 

1) Show me the money
Make sure the business case stacks up for the use cases you are considering your technology partners should want to assist you here, but you will need to be open with them.

2) Be picky
You don’t need to virtualise every network service you offer today! Start with a well developed virtual appliance that has an addressable market today.

3) Get the basics right
Make sure you deploy an open platform to build new applications. Get the OSS/BSS integration right from day one.

4) Don’t get distracted
You could spend six months building an orchestration and controller architecture, but how much revenue would that have bought you? Focus on the OSS/BSS integration.

5) Get into software development
If you’re not already developing apps, now is the time to do so! Look at the DevOps model and work towards launching apps quickly on your new platform. This is where you really benefit from adopting NFV.

What about SDN?

For me, true SDN is about control, and if you look at SDN version 1 (Openflow to you and me) it has a strong whiff of ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) about it. We need to see better integration with Optical networks and integration of real time analytics into the control plane to really provide benefit to Service Provider networks. That said the essence of SDN, of removing control of network decisions from devices to better enable virtualisation and automation of the those resources is a fundamental of NFV.

Final thoughts

There is no doubt in my mind that SDN and NFV represent a huge shift in how we deploy networks and applications that will change how vendors, resellers and organisations train, deploy and sell their services. When you look through my top tips ask yourself; are you ready to make these changes and are your partners ready to make them with you?

At Imtech ICT we are working with a range of partners to provide an open, agile platform to launch NFV Services on and have chosen Juniper Networks’ Contrail platform due to its open standards and scalability, which we think will be key to successful deployments.

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