This is a copy of a previous Linkedin Post Dated May 24 2016 which was not present on this Blog.
NFV is simple. It’s most simplistic distinction is that it is the Telecom Operators name for hardware independence and software dependence. Hardware is locked in while software is more easily changed (a project manager would say: relative to hardware that is).
We can try to see what problem NFV seeks to solve.
Telecom operators faced a dilemma about hardware. “To launch a new network service often requires yet another variety (of hardware) and finding the space and power to accommodate these boxes is becoming increasingly difficult; compounded by the increasing costs of energy, capital investment challenges and the rarity of skills necessary to design, integrate and operate increasingly complex hardware-based appliances.”
The sentence starts with “to launch a new network service often requires yet another variety” (of hardware). Remember they want to compete with the Whatsapp’s and Viber’s of tomorrow and need agility of deployment.
NFV seeks to provide that ‘Agility of Deployment’ of new network services to Network Operators by taking away dependency on proprietary and vendor locked in hardware. That is the high level purpose.
The rest is architecture. Hardware can be any compute(r) node with associated storage (types) and an accompanied (inter)network of such devices. Then it follows to make virtual services; Virtual Network Functions with Virtual Network Infrastructure.
To roll out software or new software for a new service is easier than to roll out hardware.
Another primary benefit is elasticity in energy consumption. Energy consumption according to demand. With more control of hardware, which is the energy consuming physical device, via dependence on software this is made possible.