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NFV basics: A guide to NFV implementation, challenges and benefits

Last updated:October 2014

Editor's note

Network functions virtualization (NFV) allows service providers and operators to abstract network services, such as firewalling and load balancing, into software that runs on basic servers.

For operators and service providers, the holy grail of an NFV implementation is the ability to dynamically provision network components, services and applications in a matter of minutes rather than the weeks or months it takes to do so now.

Mobile operators and service providers are embracing NFV more quickly than anyone had expected, and experts are betting that the new technology will eventually make its way into the enterprise. However, business and technical challenges still loom in NFV.

In this Essential Guide, we explore NFV implementation basics and the potential benefits. We also break down current issues with NFV, as well as vendor approaches to the new technology.

1Challenges and issues with NFV

It's clear what NFV can offer in terms of benefits, but challenges also exist. Some network experts argue a new network management model is needed for NFV and its implied orchestration. Operators will also face issues with NFV implementation, as well as with finding funding for the new technology.

2The benefits of NFV

Cost efficiency is a main driver of NFV. Learn how increased service agility and other benefits could result from an NFV implementation.

3What is the relationship between SDN and NFV?

SDN and NFV aren't one in the same. In this section, experts explain the differences between SDN and NFV, while also taking a look at how each complements the other. Together, SDN and NFV provide powerful benefits to those in the mobile space as well as within service chain provisioning.

4Real world uses of NFV

NFV is getting closer to actual uptake. In this section, read about various vendors and their NFV strategies for mobile operators and other service providers.

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