NFV paving the way to the IoT utopia

Terry Seeto/Dell

A world where machines do all the work – from ensuring that you get out of bed on time and have your coffee ready by the time you reach the kitchen, to automatically creating your grocery list based on the items missing in your fridge and storeroom. The possibilities are endless and this certainly sounds like a technology fairy-tale.

Considering the pace of technological innovations today, this vision is close to being a reality. Analyst firm IDC projects that the number of IoT installed bases in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) will include 8.8 billion devices by 2020.

Inevitably, this will also translate to a surge in data traffic. To cope with this new demand, service providers need to ensure that they scale up their networks to handle and store massive amounts of data which will be generated, and subsequently leverage the data for predictive analysis.

The arrival of network functions virtualization (NFV) is turning out to be good news for telco carriers in the IoT era. To put it in simpler terms, it is the effort to turn all service provider technology and operations into experiences that are as elegant and efficient as the best of cloud computing.

NFV is able to achieve this by combining software-defined networking (SDN) technologies with virtualized x86 compute platforms, deployed strategically throughout the service infrastructure.

Just as the cloud has transformed storage space, NFV is set to transform telecom networks due to the agility and flexibility it provides. The technology provides several advantages to services providers.

First is reduced capex. NFV users are given the option of “pay-as-you-grow” to avoid wasting money as a result of over-provisioning.

Second is scalability as NFV is based on open standards. Organizations are not locked in by technology and can take into consideration aspects such as design goals, service capabilities and environmental conditions.

Third, NFV provides room for customization of the product based on organizational requirements. Through industry collaboration, and open source and open standard initiatives, developers and end-customers can gain unprecedented access to technology underpinnings allowing for rapid innovation and customization.

Fourth is reduced operational costs. Lesser hardware means less space, no direct cost for power and cooling requirements. Additionally, the software based approach ensures the simplification of the roll out and management of network services.

Fifth is increased agility and flexibility. NFV ensures the ability to quickly scale up or down services to support changing demands. Additionally, the technology supports innovation by enabling services to be delivered via software on any industry-standard server hardware.

And sixth is accelerated time-to-market. NFV reduces deployment time to support changing business requirements and opportunities while also lowering the risk associated with rolling out new services.

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