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Innovate faster and compete to win with NFV


Author: Saar Gillai, Senior Vice President and General Manager, HP NFV Business Unit


We live in a ”I want it now” world. People expect click and consume functionality. As a CSP, meeting your customers’ expectations means you need to move faster and cut the delivery time of new services from years to months, months to days, and days to minutes.

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But going faster isn’t enough. People have been conditioned to expect a continuous stream of new and exciting innovations. As a CSP, the need to innovate has never been greater. You need to build and pilot creative new services quickly, fail fast, and try again. You need to take chances, test ideas and learn what works. This is what you must do to compete in the future.


When you boil it all down, innovation is about moving away from closed, rigid, monolithic, and purpose-built solutions to more open and flexible solutions built on a cloud paradigm. With this shift you can be more agile and innovate faster.


That’s what NFV is all about: getting to a more open and flexible environment so you can deliver new applications and services more quickly.


But NFV isn’t a single solution at a point in time. NFV will evolve in stages. Each stage will drive more innovation and faster delivery of applications and services. These stages represent an evolution of technology, and you can jump ahead as these stages of technology mature.


Here’s how we see the evolution of NFV technology.

  • Stage 1: decouple network functions from platforms. In this stage network functions were separated from underlying hardware and deployed as software on standardized platforms. This unchains CSPs from proprietary, closed solutions to deliver more flexibility in your data center and network and reduce costs and complexity. Innovation comes from more efficient operations; standardized platforms streamline maintenance and reduce management overhead.
  • Stage 2: virtualize infrastructure resources. In this stage network functions are deployed on hypervisor-driven, virtualized infrastructure resources. This stage lets CSPs achieve higher utilization/densities, improve cost efficiencies, and rapidly scale capacity as needed. Innovation is achieved from higher system utilization, reduced infrastructure burdens and more rapid response to variations in customer demand.
  • Stage 3: cloudify the environment. In this next stage wide area networks are operated as part of the cloud and holistically aligned and consumed with compute and storage pools. This stage lets CSPs achieve efficient network-wide resource utilization, respond dynamically to shifting traffic patterns and customer demand, and instantiate services dynamically through automation. Innovation comes from extremely efficient resource utilization, radically streamlined just-in-time delivery, and the ability to scale and introduce services dynamically.
  • Stage 4: decompose monolithic network functions. In this stage network, compute, storage architecture and resources are distributed. Monolithic network functions are decomposed into elemental building blocks (sub-functions) and selectively integrated into resource pools and deployed where needed. Services are recomposed from these ‘micro services.’ CSPs and their customers can compose new and improved services through the use of service-aware interfaces that provide seamless integration of network, compute and storage resources. In this stage CSPs will realize the benefits of NFV. In this last stage innovation comes from dramatically increased capacity to quickly deliver new, innovative, adaptive apps and services.

So how do we get there faster?


The most important way to get there faster is by creating and nurturing a vibrant ecosystem. It’s been proven that where you have a good ecosystem, innovation happens. Look at the Internet and the innovation it has enabled. Part of NFV is breaking out of a model where only a handful of companies are building solutions. This is essential to moving faster.


We also need orchestration tools that allow us operate in the new NFV-driven environment. These tools are specialized to make the best out of an NFV-centric operating model.


But we need to make sure we don’t trash existing operations. We therefore need solutions that bridge orchestration and management.


Lastly, in order to make the operational changes necessary for the new environment, CSPs need to change their organizational culture. This is very important, as people will need to think differently about how they deliver services. And it’s crucial to taking full advantage of NFV.



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