Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) – running network functions in software, independent of any specific hardware – offers CSPs many potential benefits. These include speeding up service delivery, cost-efficiencies, and a simplified architecture based on open standards. As networks evolve to cope with massive workloads (such as IoT traffic) and new technologies (like 5G) the attractions of NFV are obvious.
But, as so often in the early stages of technology paradigm shifts, there is still a lot to be worked out before the process is optimized. Both CSPs and the Manufacturers who supply them have to balance innovation with pragmatism. As a result, the process by which Communication Service Providers (CSPs) and their suppliers shift more and more telco workloads towards the cloud (private or even public) is an evolutionary drift rather than a big-bang migration.
This evolutionary approach is also informed by the challenges of cost and complexity that have characterized the early experience of on-boarding VNFs to the CSP infrastructure. The foundation of delivering services faster, cheaper, and better is to leverage economies of scale, economies of scope, and faster and more complete learning curves.