As you read this blog, another industry conference is drawing to a close. This time it was the Network Virtualization & SDN World event, which took place in London May 26-28, and in case you hadn’t already guessed, the topic was network function virtualization (NFV) and software defined networking (SDN). Both are incredibly hot trends these days and should be on your radar; if they aren’t already.
According to a recent study released by Research and Markets, the global market for NFV is expected to grow at a CAGR of 83.1 percent between 2015 and 2020. By the end of 2020, NFV revenues will top $8.7 billion. The numbers are no less impressive for SDN. That market is expected to grow to $8 billion (worldwide) by 2018 alone, at least according to International Data Corp. (IDC) SDN Momentum Builds in Datacenter and Enterprise Networks study.
There are many reasons why the NFV and SDN markets are growing; but an obvious one is revenue. That was one of the messages from Neil McRae, chief network architect with BT, during his presentation at Network Virtualization & SDN World. According to him, there are four key areas where NFV and SDN can deliver real value: virtual data centers, virtual CPE, traffic engineered services across the Wide-Area Network (WAN), and value-added services within the network.
In his presentation, McRae explained that fully automating virtual data centers allows virtual machines to adapt to changing conditions (e.g., scale up or down), while SDN in the data center eases automation by adapting the network along with compute. With NFV and SDN, WANs can adapt to local traffic conditions and self-heal on failures. What’s more, virtualizing network services for the enterprise on to a shared platform on the branch can reduce deployment time for new services. And, virtualizing value-added services on to a shared infrastructure, can increase service flexibility, turning up service on demand.
Of course, BT is not the only communications company to take an interest in NFV and SDN. Verizon, just recently announced its intention to embrace SDN. It is implementing a SDN architecture to introduce new operational efficiencies and enable both rapid and flexible service delivery to its customers.
One company that sees the major transformation coming for the telecommunications industry, thanks to technologies like NFV and SDN, is Microsoft. In fact, Eric Troup, CTO, Communications and Media Industries at Microsoft, wrote an interesting blog recently on just that subject matter. You can read the blog here, but essentially Troup spells out what Microsoft sees that transformation entailing, what’s driving it and how Microsoft is working to enable it with its network cloud platform for SDN/NFV.
According to Troup, NFV and SDN bring cloud computing to Communications Service Provider networks and distributed computing to Digital Service Providers. And as networks converge, "the distinction between virtual cloud computing and virtual networking will fade. Within a few years, cloud computing, WAN and wireless networking infrastructures will have many common cloud elements." Microsoft hopes to play a key role in this transformation with its network cloud platform for SDN/NFV. For more information on the solutions that comprise that platform, check out the following resources:
- Microsoft SDN: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/solutions/software-defined-networking.aspx
- Microsoft Cloud Platform System: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/cloud-platform-system/
- Microsoft Hybrid Cloud: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/cloud-os/modern-data-center.aspx
- Microsoft Azure: http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/
For more information on NFV and SDN, in general, check out:
This blog about storage and networking is sponsored by Microsoft.
Cheryl J. Ajluni is a freelance writer and editor based in California. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of Wireless Systems Design and served as the EDA/Advanced Technology editor for Electronic Design for over 10 years. She is also a published book author and patented engineer. Her work regularly appears in print and online publications. Contact her at [email protected] with your comments or story ideas.