A shift toward network function virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networks (SDN) represents the most transformative architectural network trend in nearly 20 years. Communication Service Providers are taking a page from SDN and NFV world to implement new services and to keep up with the changing consumer demands for interactivity, social networks, smart devices and Internet of Things.
“Software-defined” lately has become an overused term, but its basic meaning is “software that helps to automate manual tasks”. Unfortunately, network devices are often manually configured one at a time using SSH (and hopefully not Telnet). We in Ethernity Networks use the term SDN in the context of building a data-center fabric and providing micro-segmentation. NFV can be effective because many nodes within a network share the common functionality requirements, however virtualization has its own challenges. With the exponential growth expected in Internet and data center traffic in the next future, the network infrastructure equipment must be able to handle prominent increase in traffic. Software programmability alone won’t be enough to enable generic hardware to scale easily with growing bandwidth demands. The ubiquitous hardware must be re-programmable in order to optimize the system overall performance. That will allow vendors and service providers to leverage NFV and SDN in a “work smarter, not harder” manner, to meet growing demands of end users – the network customers. A programmable hardware and software infrastructure is the only way to truly implement the vision of NFV and SDN.