Network functions virtualization (NFV) is a pervasive theme within the telecoms industry, and over the past year, it has become a catalyst for major transformational change in the network. Many service providers, telecom equipment manufacturers (TEMs), and an emerging NFV ecosystem have announced proof of concepts, live trials, and commercial products embracing the NFV vision. In addition, forums such as the ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group and the Open Networking Forum have provided the necessary structures to support the initiative and its continuing momentum and evolution.
The LTE evolved packet core (EPC), and especially the gateway functionality, is a good example of an application requiring not only high-performance user plane, but also extended performance scalability in both signaling and control plane. The full benefits of NFV will ultimately be realized when mature reference architectures are available that facilitate easy deployment of disparate network workloads; deliver high performance, quality, and resilience; and can be intelligently managed to allow rapid service invocation and delivery.