If telecom operators or enterprises were to build their networks from scratch today, they would likely build them as software-defined resources, similar to Google or Facebook’s infrastructure. That’s the premise of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).
NFV is a once in a generation disruption that will completely transform how networks are built and operated. And, OPNFV is a leading open source NFV project that aims to accelerate the adoption of this technology.
Are you a telecom operator or connected enterprise employee wondering which open source projects might help you with your NFV transformation initiatives? Or a technology vendor attempting to position your products and services in the new NFV world? Or perhaps an engineer, network operator or business leader wanting to progress your career using open source projects (case in point, in 2013 Rackspace stated that network engineers with OpenStack skills made, on average, 13 percent more salary than their counterparts)? If any of this applies to you, the Understanding OPNFV book is a perfect resource for you.
In 11 easy-to-read chapters and over 144 pages, this book (written by Nick Chase from Mirantis and me) covers an entire range of topics from an overview of NFV, NFV transformation, all aspects of the OPNFV project, to VNF onboarding. After reading this book, you will have an excellent high-level understanding of what OPNFV is and how it can help you or your organization. This book is not specifically meant for developers, though it may be useful for background information. If you are a developer looking to get involved in a specific OPNFV project as a contributor, then wiki.opnfv.org is still the best resource for you.
In this blog series, we will give you a flavor of portions of the book — in terms of what’s there and what you might learn.
Let’s start with the first chapter. Chapter 1, no surprise, provides an introduction to NFV. It gives a super-brief overview of NFV in terms of business drivers (the need for differentiated services, cost pressures and need for agility), what NFV is and what benefits you can expect from NFV.
Briefly, NFV enables complex network functions to be performed on compute nodes in data centers. A network function performed on a compute node is called a Virtualized Network Function (VNF). So that VNFs can behave as a network, NFV also adds the mechanisms to determine how they can be chained together to provide control over traffic within a network.
Although most people think of it in terms of telecommunications, NFV encompasses a broad set of use cases, from Role Based Access Control (RBAC) based on application or traffic type, to Content Delivery Networks (CDN) that manage content at the edges of the network (where it is often needed), to the more obvious telecom-related use cases such as Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and IP Multimedia System (IMS).
Additionally, some of the main benefits include increased revenue, improved customer experience, reduced operational expenditure (OPEX), reduced capital expenditures (CAPEX) and freed-up resources for new projects. This section also provides results of a concrete NFV total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) analysis. Treatment of these topics is brief since we assume you will have some NFV background; however, if you are new to NFV, not to worry — the introductory material is adequate to understand the rest of the book.
The chapter concludes with a summary of NFV requirements — security, performance, interoperability, ease-of-operations and some specific requirements such as service assurance and service function chaining. No NFV architecture or technology can be truly successful without meeting these requirements.
After reading this chapter, you will have a good overview of why NFV is important, what NFV is, and what is technically required to make NFV successful. We will look at following chapters in upcoming blog posts.
This book has proven to be our most popular giveaway at industry events and a Chinese version is now under development! But you can download the eBook in PDF right now, or order a printed version on Amazon.