NFV — Network Functions Virtualization

What is Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)?

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is a virtualized, software alternative to hardware appliances for the design, deployment and management of discrete networking services. It is a complementary approach to software-defined networking (SDN), which is an alternative, centralized way to implement network control plane functionality.

The NFV approach started when service providers attempted to speed up deployment of new network services in order to advance their revenue and growth plans, finding that hardware-based appliances limited their ability to achieve these goals. They looked to standard IT virtualization technologies and found NFV helped accelerate service innovation and provisioning.

With this common goal in mind, several providers banded together and created the NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG) under the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The creation of ETSI NFV ISG resulted in the foundation of NFV’s basic requirements and architecture for use industry wide.