Primarily used for telecommunication sector , Network Functions Virtualization delivers an innovative approach for communications service providers (CSPs) to design, build and manage networking infrastructure services by disconnecting it from proprietary hardware with software based virtualized network functions techniques along with vswitch technology . vswitch is a significant component of NFV platforms, provides connectivity between VM-VMs and with the external network.
NFV is a paradigm shift of legacy network infrastructure towards fastest virtualized network infrastructure, Invented in 2012 by AT&T, BT, China Mobile and Deutsche Telekom.
With legacy network setups, we often stuck in getting support and hardware renewal issues. Furthermore, as now-a-days due to fast growth of hardware appliances, it raises end-of-sale and end-of support issues as well. Moreover, it is obvious that with having wired networks consists of switches and routers does not meet dynamic needs of network traffic. NFV is an evolution in technology that can support network operating teams to minimize the quantity and variety of specific devices.
NFV objective is to address this evolution in a way by adopting IT virtualization technique to unite network appliances, servers and storage.
Virtualized network functions can be applied as software that can run on multiple range of industry based server hardware and can transport the network functions towards several locations in the network as and where required, without configuration of new physical hardware. This simplify the IT roll of network services by reducing the complexities in OPEX and CAPEX of network operations and hence it can reduce overall operational costs.
As a whole, NFV is a comprehensive approach of making network functions to work virtually same as we were using previously with storage virtualization carried out by dedicated hardware. It should be noted that it is not fully dependent on software but if hardware pairs with Software Defined Networking (SDN), it can transform the network use with significant ease.
The Vswitch capabilities
As we have been discussed in our openvswitch article, vSwitch is a software switch along with almost all layer-3 functionalities, used with NFV and SDN deployments, works at network access layer with-in the Virtual machine (VM) .Normally vSwitch accomplishes as a core switch that can handle only layer-2 network traffic.
In NFV, network devices hosted on virtual machines and set-up network functions to work within it, this makes IT administration skilled to not purchase dedicated hardware (routers, firewalls etc.) devices.
They can create a secure network hypervisor domain which can capable enough to add network services (functions) through software.
NFV potential use-cases in telecommunication sector are virtualization of mobile core network gateways, virtualization of mobile base stations for LTE, 3G, 4G etc. and fixed access network functions virtualization with the help of on-demand isolated virtual networks programmatic creation.
To conclude, deployment of virtualized network services in the replacement of physical network devices it is clear that NFV want to de-associate the network service from the dedicated hardware including switches, routers and firewalls and transform it into purely software-based networking use-cases having high extent of automation with the help of SDN.