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Economic Impact of NFVI Design Choices

Learn the Four Critical NFVI Design Choices that will Impact the Cost and Performance of Your Network

“It’s important to understand that certain NFVI design decisions can have a material economic impact on the overall solution cost.”
– Tim Irwin, VP of Pre-Sales Systems Engineering, Affirmed Networks

Telecommunications carriers are moving to software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) architectures as a means to deliver new services more efficiently, scale their networks more effectively, and drive down costs. Yet, in focusing on NFV/SDN as the goal, carriers may risk losing sight of the fact that how they arrive there—that is, the network design choices they make along the way—can have a significant impact on network cost and performance. In fact, just making one or two seemingly minor changes in the design of the NFV infrastructure (NFVI) can end up saving (or costing) carriers millions of dollars down the road.

For these reasons, experienced guidance is critical when designing an NFVI architecture. Unfortunately, many carriers do not have a lot of experience in building SDN/NFV environments; a problem that is compounded when carriers bring together IT and telco application teams to create an SDN/NFV design plan. Because of the very different network requirements of IT and telco applications, this approach can quickly create confusion instead of synergy. Bringing in outside expertise is certainly an option, but here again, carriers need to be careful. Many vendors have an ulterior motive for advancing their own NFV/SDN approach, particularly when hardware sales are at stake, and carriers may miss an opportunity to realize the full economic benefits of NFV/SDN as a result.

4 Critical NFVI Design Decisions That Matter

There are four critical areas in the functional design of an NFVI architecture that can have a profound impact on cost and performance:
1. Packet-forwarding method
2. Data center design
3. Software efficiency
4. Hardware choices

It’s not uncommon for carriers to identify and address one or two of these areas in their own design efforts but, in our experience, it’s very rare to encounter a carrier that has taken all these areas into account when designing their NFV network. This is unfortunate because making a less-than-ideal design decision in any of these areas will have a significant impact on network and services costs down the road. Read More...