Importance of the cloud-native architecture in NFVs

After the Tail-f whitepaper I wrote on “Network Programmability in cloud-native NFV” was released, a quarterly report on Wireless Packet Core was published by the Dell’Oro Group which further validates the importance of the cloud-native architecture in NFVs. As was reported by Fierce Telecom, the run-up to 5G is pushing service providers’ move to cloud-native based architectures, and cloud-native NFV is playing a key role in that migration.

According to the report, everybody that’s getting ready for 5G is going with cloud-native virtual network functions (VNF) today. This gets us to the point where it enables us to provide a resilient network because the cloud-native architecture should be stateless and dataless. That means you could lose a VNF (virtual network function) and then spin up a new VNF without losing any data and the user never knows it. It also enables network slicing that might not be done in a non-cloud-native environment. Cloud native also fosters automation as well, which is beneficial to DevOps teams.

Cloud-native NFV lays the groundwork for 5G while also providing benefits in today’s networks. As noted in the report, virtualization (NFV) revenues grew to 16% of the VoLTE market in the first quarter of this year, and are projected to account for more than 30% of the market one year from now. Leading service providers that are spinning up for 5G are really accelerating the NFV market, which is moving faster than what was previously forecasted only 6 months ago.

NFV, along with software-defined networking, is seen as a key element to the migration to cloud-based, automated, hybrid networks, but implementing it can be disruptive and complex in the current network environments. That’s the advantage that a full line supplier or an end-to-end supplier has because they can offer a pre-integrated, pre-tested solution that can get an operator up and running faster instead of trying to integrate all of the best of breeds in each category. That takes time and you may not have the talent in your organization to do it right.

Based on this report, I believe automation in the NFV space is becoming more important. For network equipment vendors, designing programmability into your VNFs should be your number one priority. You can learn more about network programmability and automation in our recent Heavy Reading Whitepaper on “Enabling Network Programmability & Automation with NETCONF/YANG”.

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