Written by Jim Metzler
Jim Metzler is an expert at researching and analyzing emerging technology trends within the networking and service provider space.
NFV is widely associated with service providers. But enterprises have been more aggressive in virtualizing network functions over the past few years. However, enterprises have yet to get into the management and orchestration that many service providers are currently coming to grips with.
One of the things that fascinates me about NFV, is almost everybody associates that with service providers, and that makes total sense. ETSI, the European Telecom's Standards Institute, among others, the TM Forum, has done a lot of work on NFV, focused on service providers.
On the other hand, I recently surveyed about 200 IT professionals, and they all raised their hands, so to speak, saying, we're doing NFV today. What they mean, is they've virtualized some key functionality. Win optimization, controllers, some firewalls, et cetera, and they have.
The enterprise has been, if you will, more aggressive than service providers over the last two or three years, in implementing virtualized functionality. Now, we're getting a bit here into the issues that we had years ago around cloud computing, when one group said, "Oh, cloud computing. That means public cloud. You can't say private cloud. That has no meaning. It's wrong."
Yes, NFV certainly applies in the carrier space, but I believe it also applies in the enterprise space, but what's interesting here, too, is that the host service provider movement is further along, in terms of understanding and trying to work the issues of, say, management and orchestration. The enterprise, right now, is still happy to have a win optimization control in a virtual format.
They have not got into yet, they will, the management orchestration and SLA type levels that the service providers are coming to grips with. The good news, by the time the enterprise is ready for that, their problem will have been largely solved for the service providers.