What do I really think of NFV?

Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

What do I really think of NFV?

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I’ve been writing a lot about NFV the past few months, and I’ve gotten a few comments like this one: “What do you really think about NFV?”  I get where these questions are coming from; my blogs about this topic have been largely educational – not editorial. NFV education is what the market needs, since this is a confusing topic with too much NFV/SDN hype coming out and too little actual information.  Indeed, this is why Dialogic partnered with Heavy Reading on an NFV whitepaper. ]

But still, people ask, “OK, OK, so what do you really think?”

Here’s what I really think: NFV is inevitable. It’s as simple as that. Just like VoIP was inevitable in 1998, NFV is inevitable now. That inevitability comes from:

  1. The ability to move to NFV because of the advances in both underlying infrastructure and COTS platforms; and
  2. The ultimate economics of NFV

Dialogic in the 1990s and the division I worked in at Intel during the first half of the 2000s (where ATCA came about) were all about COTS. COTS won because the economics were simply too powerful to ignore  NFV is really just the logical next step beyond COTS because it is simply telecom software running on large-scale COTS platforms in datacenters. 

Because carriers and enterprises are under tremendous cost pressures, they have to find ways to economically service their customers. NFV and SDN make sense. The key question is really when this will occur. Even though carriers and enterprises are under tremendous price pressures, rolling out new infrastructure is risky since service availability is ultimately the most important thing. You need customers right? So, we’ll see this rolled out in phases, maybe first in the places where equipment becomes obsolete Or maybe where additional scale is required as a way to test the service. Or where some bold company wants to change the game via reduced capex/opex and go for it, same as VoIP in the early days.  In other words, it’s real today for the early adopters. And in what will seem like no time, we’ll be making calls and communicating via NFV platforms without even knowing it.   


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