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NFV Agility for Communication Service Providers

Posted on: February 19th, 2016 by Mobile Communications

NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) is a network architecture that provides a number of benefits that were previously more difficult to attain due requirements to dedicate hardware for specific applications and/or services. Instead, NFV allows standard off-the-shelf hardware to be assigned as “virtual machines”. Virtualized servers are deployed with management resources to more cost effectively offer an environment with additional benefits.

Cost savings is certainly the first benefit that comes to mind. However, business agility may in fact be even more important as competition for subscribers heats up. How can “agility” be quantified? Flexible scalability is an area where NFV make great sense. It’s not just in scaling up for spikes in voice and messaging. Sporadic promotions, seasonal variations, or internal issues may create situations where scaling down is also a benefit.

Support for NFV will also make it easier for existing systems to be applied for new application testing or phased roll-out of innovative services. Not having to pay for or wait for dedicated hardware streamlines time to market. NFV “greases the skids” for deployment, helping Communication Service Providers by more quickly realizing a revenue stream for any new service.

Perhaps another less obvious NFV benefit is the role infrastructural agility can play in helping to make organizations more innovative. Lowering the capital expenditure bar for server resources due to NFV flexibility resonates to the highest level of an organization as risk/reward tilts in favor of action instead of “wait and see” when capital expenditure requirements are reduced. Opportunities in new geographies or with new partners can more easily become reality as service providers take existing functions and instantiate them as a virtual machine on lower cost standards-based servers.

Efficiency without a doubt is one of the most visible NFV benefits. However, Communication Service Providers should be keenly aware that business agility achieved via an NFV foundation could be the spark that ignites top line revenue gains by facilitating time to market speed and encouraging organizational innovation.

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