Transforming the network with Network Functions Virtualization: 10 recommendations for service providers

In order to be successful in the fast paced Internet world, leading carriers must quickly introduce new services and reduce costs. Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is a new technology enabling communications service providers (CSPs) to transform their networks. The goal of NFV is to help providers realize the innovation and cost curves enjoyed by the IT community.

NFV promises to lower equipment costs (capex) by migrating network functions from dedicated hardware appliances to software running on virtual machines on standard servers. NFV proponents also promise that the technology will reduce opex and enable CSPs to rapidly introduce new services via improved network flexibility and agility. (See "Network Functions Virtualization drives revolution in telecom network architectures" for more background on NFV.)

[ MORE:Mobile carriers, vendors eager to virtualize networks]

CSPs must move beyond their traditional ways of building networks and overcome the inhibitors of politics, regulations and their large bureaucracies to be successful. In order for NFV to truly impact the network and deliver on the promised benefits, here are 10 suggestions for the CSPs that have backed NFV standards:

NFV is a key technology to transform CSP networks and enable new competitive agility. However, it falls under the motto of "no pain, no gain" for the carriers. NFV is not going to be quick or easy and will require significant technological maturity and organization change in the largest CSPs.

Lee Doyle is principal analyst at Doyle Research. Doyle Research provides targeted analysis on the Evolution of Intelligent Networks: SDN, NFV, OPEX and COTS. Lee Doyle has over 28 years experience analyzing the IT, network and telecom markets. For more information please see, email me at, and follow me on Twitter @leedoyle_dc.

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This story, "Transforming the network with Network Functions Virtualization: 10 recommendations for service providers" was originally published by Network World.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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