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What is Network Function Virtualisation NFV and does it save money?

What is Network Function Virtualisation NFV and does it save money?

There has been a lot of talk recently about the best way to simplify network operations, from path control to orchestration to overall visibility and flexibility. Network Function Virtualisation NFV is an initiative to virtualise the network services that are now being carried out by proprietary, dedicated hardware. If successful, NFV will decrease the amount of proprietary hardware that’s needed to launch and operate network services.

Before getting into the detail of NFV, it’s important to first make a distinction between NFV and Software Defined Networking (SDN) as the two are different but complementary technologies. Both SDN and NFV rely on software that operates on commodity servers and switches, but both technologies operate at different levels of the network.

SDN allows administrators to manage network services through abstraction of lower-level functionality that adheres to three principles:

  1. Separation of control and forwarding functions
  2. Centralisation of control
  3. Ability to program the behaviour of the network using well-defined interfaces


In contrast NFV is focussed on network appliances that perform path control, protocol manipulation, logging/monitor/capture, content analysis, security control and similar functions. These functions are in use today as routers, firewalls, IDS/IPS, proxy caching, WAN acceleration, data centre and WAN load balancers.

So what does all this mean and what are the benefits for your network?

Cost Savings

NFV can reduce operating and capital expenditures. NFV can lower an organisations reliance on proprietary hardware and enables virtualised network functionality on standard, high volume devices. Therefore, initial purchases for the system are reduced, as well as overall operating costs.


As NFV uses regular hardware, users have the ability to choose and build the hardware in the most efficient way to suit their needs and requirements.

Faster Service Life Cycle

New network services or features are able to be deployed rapidly in an on-demand basis.


Network resources can be provisioned and de-provisioned to respond to changing network conditions.


For more information on NFV and for an assessment of it it is suitable for your organisation, please contact us.