The new networks are coming, and they're set to be faster, smarter and based heavily on open software. Instead of being wary of service virtualization, providers can look at the benefits and the opportunity for new streams of revenue with this shift and shape their future business plans around it. NFV SDN gets more visible every day, as do the possible models companies can use to incorporate it fully. There are few different features shaping the new state of the business, which we will discuss below:
SDN refers to any solution that enables network administrators to provision network resources according to real-time demand without having to make any changes to the physical hardware. Without getting too detailed, a controller – an application running on a machine – responds to switch queries about how to handle certain packets. Automation is at the heart of SDN.
NFV is not much different than SDN, but different enough in that NFV's scope goes beyond packet management. What NFV does is virtualize software and abstract from hardware, such as network address translation, intrusion detection, DNS, cashing and firewalling from hardware so that all of those functions can operate through an application.
Another question that may dictate the flow of the industry is the hierarchy: What body will set the standards and oversee the relevant legislation? As of this writing, a key player appears to be the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, which is behind global standards for the IT industry.
In September, the organization announced NFV Release 2, which looked to update earlier specifications in the face of new Network Functions Virtualization advances. The body's Industry Specification Group on NFV was responsible for the new specifications, and this group's chairman, Diego Lopez of Telefonica, said that it will be part of a larger strategy as ETSI moves forward.
"This represents another major step towards our objective of defining a comprehensive set of specifications that will facilitate the deployment of NFV throughout the telecommunication industry, with significant benefits being subsequently derived in many interrelated sectors," he said.
How Bandwidth on Demand stands out
The idea of the "Bandwidth on Demand" model fits neatly within the larger push toward virtualization. In a recent piece for Network Computing, analyst Dan Conde commented on the way new business models will allow providers to "scale" within the ease of the virtual space. In addition, Conde said that service providers can also offer SD-WAN solutions, leading to more built-in options to match client need.