Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) began as a concept that would help communication service providers add new network functions or applications easily. It created a faster way to design, distribute and run networking services.
Now, close to 79 percent of telecoms professionals view network functions virtualization (NFV) as a critical strategic focus over the next five years, according to the latest Telecoms.com Annual Industry Survey 2018. The study, which is sponsored by F5 Networks, demonstrates how the influence of NFV is on the rise in the telecommunications industry.
“An ever more competitive digital economy requires that applications and network services are delivered with unprecedented speed, scale, and agility,” said Bart Salaets, EMEA Solution Architect Director, F5 Networks.
The NFV potential
The benefits of implementing NFV include greater network and services flexibility, enabling automation for increased operational efficiency, and reducing operational expenses.
“Service providers are under massive pressure to optimize their data and video network traffic to maximize network efficiency, generate revenues, as well as maintain and improve subscriber quality of experience. Against a rapidly shifting backdrop of digital transformation and IoT uptake, service providers are increasingly deploying NFV to create new services and business models to increase service agility, drive innovation through automation, as well as achieve greater cost efficiency and operational flexibility,” Bart Salaets said.
According to an NFV Industry Report released by Global Market Insights, the NFV market is expected to surpass $70 billion by 2024. Another research released by Market Research Future shows the NFV market growing to $19 billion between 2018 and 2022.
NFV is also hailed as a tool that could potentially decrease capital expenditures while improving network performance and reliability.
What are the challenges?
More than 60 percent of respondents in the Telecoms.com Annual Industry Survey claimed that they were not on top of their purchasing methodology for NFV solutions.
"Challenges still remain with perceptions about implementation and purchasing methodologies. The industry needs a simpler, automated process," Bart Salaets said.
To add to this, there is also an air of apprehension about implementing NFV solutions. According to the survey, only 8 percent of respondents felt that NFV was easy to implement on schedule, while more than 22 percent experienced more-than-expected difficulty.
“NFV architectures have the potential to provide the necessary network flexibility to enable new service delivery models and elastic network scaling to reduce total cost of ownership. However, this potential will only be realized if the solutions deployed on NFV architectures are easy to integrate into the automation and orchestration toolchain,” Bart Salaets said.