Essential Guide

Get started Bring yourself up to speed with our introductory content.

NFV basics: A guide to NFV implementation, challenges and benefits

Dedicated hardware has met its match with network functions virtualization. Learn how NFV affects service providers and the enterprise alike.


Network functions virtualization (NFV) allows service providers and operators to abstract network services, such as firewalling and load balancing, into software that runs on basic servers.

For operators and service providers, the holy grail of an NFV implementation is the ability to dynamically provision network components, services and applications in a matter of minutes rather than the weeks or months it takes to do so now.

Mobile operators and service providers are embracing NFV more quickly than anyone had expected, and experts are betting that the new technology will eventually make its way into the enterprise. However, business and technical challenges still loom in NFV.

In this Essential Guide, we explore NFV implementation basics and the potential benefits. We also break down current issues with NFV, as well as vendor approaches to the new technology.

1The ins and outs of NFV-

NFV: How does it work?

NFV virtualizes network services and applications that once ran on hardware appliances. In fact, network functions virtualization could replace many network devices with more flexible software running on bare metal servers, enabling a new kind of service chaining. Learn the basics of how NFV works, and how it could make its way into the enterprise.


What can NFV do for you?

Traditionally, NFV addresses the provisioning of virtual features. Here, Tom Nolle explains how NFV orchestration should instead address the service chaining in its entirety. Continue Reading


Software becomes front and center

David Jacobs explains how NFV allows engineers to replace costly network devices with software, allowing for flexibility on servers. Continue Reading


NFV in the enterprise

Even though NFV is gaining traction in the service provider space, Jason Edelman says it will no doubt be used in the enterprise. Continue Reading

2NFV roadblocks-

Challenges and issues with NFV

It's clear what NFV can offer in terms of benefits, but challenges also exist. Some network experts argue a new network management model is needed for NFV and its implied orchestration. Operators will also face issues with NFV implementation, as well as with finding funding for the new technology.


Network management needs a makeover

Because of provisioning and orchestration brought on by NFV, Tom Nolle says a new network management model is needed to integrate legacy and virtual tools. Continue Reading


How to deal with NFV implementation issues

With NFV, carriers need implementation prespecification. Try looking to TM Forum and cloud management models for help. Continue Reading


Challenges exist with NFV ISV apps

The ISV community is bringing NFV to telecom, but limited resources make it hard to create market awareness for NFV apps. Continue Reading


SDN and NFV not quite ready for operators

Telecom operators said at the ONS 2014 that NFV and SDN are the way to go, but software and hardware tools are still not ready. Continue Reading

3NFV upsides-

The benefits of NFV

Cost efficiency is a main driver of NFV. Learn how increased service agility and other benefits could result from an NFV implementation.


NFV gives way to service agility

How will NFV eventually mean increased service agility and more revenue for operators? Tom Nolle explains. Continue Reading


Architecture takes a new spin with NFV

Virtualized devices and services in larger networks made possible with NFV can, in turn, make architectures more cost efficient. Continue Reading

4How SDN and NFV work together-

What is the relationship between SDN and NFV?

SDN and NFV aren't one in the same. In this section, experts explain the differences between SDN and NFV, while also taking a look at how each complements the other. Together, SDN and NFV provide powerful benefits to those in the mobile space as well as within service chain provisioning.


SDN and NFV: What's the difference?

Software-defined networks and NFV are different. Glen Kemp explains. Continue Reading


How SDN and NFV complement one another

Tom Nolle says SDN and NFV aren't interchangeable but they do advance one another when used together. Continue Reading


SDN and NFV in mobile networks

When used in mobile networks, software-defined networks and network functions virtualization mean better orchestration and dynamic provisioning. Continue Reading


Service chain provisioning benefits from an SDN, NFV partnership

Together, SDN and NFV simplify service chain provisioning. David Jacobs explains how it becomes easier to spin up apps in enterprise and service provider networks. Continue Reading

5Tangible NFV-

Real world uses of NFV

NFV is getting closer to actual uptake. In this section, read about various vendors and their NFV strategies for mobile operators and other service providers.


AT&T embraces NFV and SDN with Domain 2.0

AT&T's next-gen network, called Domain 2.0, embraces both SDN and NFV. Continue Reading


NFV prototypes developed by CloudNFV

Vendors come together to tackle an NFV implementation with a multi-vendor approach called CloudNFV. Continue Reading


Programmable NFV brought to you by Cisco NCS

Cisco's Network Convergence System enables programmable routers for service provider networks. Continue Reading


Ixia's IxLoad hardware virtualized for NFV

Ixia virtualized its network testing hardware for NFV, allowing mobile operators to use it for NFV testing. Continue Reading


Service providers gain NFV orchestration from Overture

Overture, an Ethernet vendor, introduced new software that gives service providers access to NFV. Continue Reading


An NFV vendor ecosystem forms

Vendors including Cisco, Juniper and HP are coming together to release portfolios of SDN and NFV for service provisioning. Continue Reading


Voice over LTE meets NFV

Alcatel-Lucent released an NFV technology that allows mobile networks to receive provisioning and scalability for Voice over LTE. Continue Reading


Service providers gain NFV software architecture

Brocade's Vyatta Platform includes OpenDaylight and OpenStack, and it offers NFV software to service providers. Continue Reading


VMware's NFV strategy in a nutshell

Engineer Bruce Davie answers questions regarding VMware's NFV strategy. Continue Reading

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.