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SDN and NFV: Defining two different aspects of the future of networking

CK Lam, Director of Data Centre Fabric and Virtualization for Asia Pacific, Brocade | Feb. 23, 2016
This article outlines the role of SDN and NFV and goes on to consider their use in context with other virtualisation technologies.

Priming businesses for growth

In this way, the NFV model allows for not only the use of powerful, low cost server hardware but also the ability for operators and enterprises to deploy and/or update services much more quickly and at far lower cost than what occurs in status quo operations. With NFV, the old model of taking weeks or months to upgrade dedicated hardware solutions across a geographically large network becomes a thing of the past. NFV allows for the transition of new systems architecture, enabling new network designs, increasing agility and flexibility.

Although NFV was originally conceived by large service providers, enterprise network operators who are moving some of their workloads to the cloud are also benefiting. Prior to the advent of NFV, workloads that required specialized networking functionality were difficult to implement with high portability. The rise of software-based networking functionality makes it easier to move such workloads between different cloud providers.

Due to the nature of NFV being software based, rapid changes to network configurations become a simple contributor to growth, rather than a stumbling block to innovation. SDN has ignited a long term fundamental change to the network design. It has created a power shift away from the use of entrenched vendors. Customers and smaller, nimble vendors can now do network design at many levels that were previously version locked.

Ultimately, both SDN and NFV provide businesses and operators with more choice over the technologies they wish to implement, increasing agility and in turn being a catalyst for business growth.


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