By 2028, the size of the global network functions virtualization (NFV) market is projected to reach $94.1 billion, growing at a market development rate of 24.8% CAGR, according to a new research report published by ResearchAndMarkets.com.
Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is a network architecture concept in which network functions, such as firewalls and load balancers, are implemented in software that can run on standard hardware or in the cloud, rather than being implemented in dedicated hardware devices. This allows network functions to be more flexible and easier to deploy, scale, and manage. NFV relies on traditional server virtualization techniques used in enterprise IT.
Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) are the actual implementations of network functions in software that can be used in an NFV environment. VNFs can be deployed on standard hardware or in the cloud and are typically packaged as software images or containers that can be instantiated and managed using NFV orchestration tools. A VNF is deployed within one or even more virtual machines or containers that are each running different software and processes on top of high-volume commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers, switches, storage devices, and cloud computing infrastructure, as opposed to using specialized hardware appliances for every network function.
Thus, vendor lock-in is avoided. For example, a virtual session border controller can be used to secure a network rather of genuine network protection devices, which are generally more expensive and difficult to purchase and install.
Flexible Network Architecture
A flexible network architecture is achieved by isolating the network function software from the specialized hardware platform. This enables quick service rollouts, agile network management, and a considerable reduction in CAPEX and OPEX. NFV enables the separation of communication services from specialized hardware such as routers and firewalls.
This division allows network operations to provide new services on demand and without having to invest in new server and network equipment. Instead of taking months as with conventional networking, network components may now be installed in a matter of hours thanks to network functions virtualization. The virtualized services can also run on less expensive generic servers as opposed to pricey proprietary hardware. In essence, network function virtualization replaces the functions provided by individual hardware networking components.
Some examples of applications for NFV and VNFs include the following:
- Data center networking – VNFs can be used to implement various network functions in a data center, such as load balancing, firewalling, and VPN connectivity. This allows data centers to be more flexible and scalable, and to deploy new services more quickly.
- Telecommunications – NFV can be used to virtualize network functions in telecommunications networks, such as mobile network infrastructure, to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
- Cloud computing – VNFs can be used to implement network functions in cloud computing environments, such as load balancing and firewalling, to improve the performance and security of cloud-based applications.
- Internet of Things (IoT) – VNFs can be used to implement network functions in IoT applications, such as gateway functions, to enable secure and reliable communication between IoT devices and the cloud.
- Software-defined networking (SDN) – NFV and VNFs can be used in conjunction with SDN to enable more flexible and automated networking in various applications.
NFV and VNFs combined with SDN can take network virtualization to the next level. When using NFV and VNFs in conjunction with software-defined networking, it can offer the following benefits:
- Flexibility – By decoupling the control plane (i.e., the decision-making part of the network) from the data plane (i.e., the forwarding part of the network), SDN enables more flexible and dynamic networking. NFV and VNFs can further enhance this flexibility by allowing network functions to be implemented in software and run on commodity hardware or in the cloud, rather than being tied to specialized hardware. This makes it easier to deploy, scale, and manage network functions, and to quickly roll out new services.
- Automation – By centralizing control of the network in a single SDN controller, it becomes easier to automate network management tasks, such as provisioning, monitoring, and troubleshooting. NFV and VNFs can further enhance automation by enabling programmatic control of network functions through APIs and other interfaces.
- Cost savings – By virtualizing network functions and running them on commodity hardware or in the cloud, NFV and VNFs can help reduce hardware and maintenance costs. In addition, the automation capabilities enabled by SDN and NFV/VNFs can help reduce labor costs associated with manual network management tasks.
- Improved performance – By enabling more flexible and dynamic networking, SDN, NFV, and VNFs can help improve the performance and reliability of networked applications and services. For example, VNFs can be used to implement load balancing and traffic management functions to improve the scalability and availability of services.
- Security – By centralizing control of the network in a single SDN controller, it becomes easier to implement and enforce security policies across the network. VNFs can also be used to implement security functions, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems, to improve the security of networked applications and services.
The ‘Global Network Functions Virtualization Market Size, Share & Industry Trends Analysis Report By Component (Solutions and Services), By End User, By Enterprises Type, By Organization Size, By Application, By Regional Outlook and Forecast, 2022 – 2028’ report has recently been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s report offering.