At today’s Layer123 SDN and OpenFlow® World Congress, a group of Network Operators announced an initiative to form a new Network Operator driven “Network Functions Virtualization” Industry Specification Group (ISG) under the auspices of ETSI. The Group aims to address the hardware challenges facing Network Operators in a world where networks are characterized by an ever-growing number of proprietary hardware appliances. We’re all painfully aware of the current model, where new network services mean more new boxes. Accommodating the physical size, growing energy costs, and capital investment requirements is becoming increasingly challenging for Network Operators worldwide. The Network Functions Virtualization ISG aims to help solve these problems by consolidating disparate network equipment types onto industry standard high volume servers, switches and storage, with important emphasis on implementing their functions in software.
Network Functions Virtualization complements the work being done by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) in Software Defined Networking (SDN). The combination of Network Functions Virtualization and OpenFlow-based SDN is a powerful one. OpenFlow-based SDN can enhance the performance of Network Functions Virtualization by simplifying compatibility with existing deployments and facilitating many aspects of network operation and management. In fact, many of the ISG’s participating Network Operators, including Colt, Deutsche Telecom, KDDI, NTT, Telecom Italia, and Verizon, are ONF Member companies who are embracing the value of collaboration between the two groups. And several of our Board directors are playing an active role in steering the NFV group.
We at ONF look forward to working alongside this new ETSI ISG, as its goals for encouraging openness and furthering innovation in the networking marketplace match our own. Stay tuned for additional updates on our work together in the coming months.
--Dan Pitt, Executive Director