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FCW : April 15, 2014
operation. The control plane s job --- determining how traf c will move across a network --- is transferred to a piece of software called an SDN controller, which is used to program network devices and manage the traf c ow to and from devices. A server or servers running virtualized network func- tions would fall under the management purview of an SDN controller. The networking functions deployed as virtual machines must work in concert with one another, so they need something to steer traf c between them. "That is what the SDN controller does," Wright said. "We see an SDN controller as part and parcel of an NFV solution. In most cases, we see them going hand in hand." Based on the organization s policy, SDN can route ows to a stack of inexpensive servers that run a rewall or intrusion-detection system, Monga said, with those policy- based decisions taking place on the centralized SDN con- troller. "SDN is a new way to manipulate the network, and NFV is a new type of infrastructure to be manipulated," said Kelly Herrell, vice president and general manager of Brocade Communications Systems software networking business unit. The "black box" that typi es the traditional network infrastructure is in for a change with network virtualiza- tion. Herrell said NFV replaces the black box with industry- standard servers that run enterprise network functions as virtual machines. Both SDN and NFV seek to "increase the agility and increase the cost-ef ciency of networks," he added. Herrell said industry-standard x86 servers cost far less than proprietary networking equipment, and Intel s long- term initiative to make servers better at running networks is a key part of that direction. Brocade s Vyatta vRouter has achieved thousand-fold performance improvements over the past few years, Herrell noted, attributing the improvement to both Intel hardware upgrades and Bro- cade s software code. "Intel s force is being brought to bear in the networking world," Herrell said. Brocade s NFV solutions include both the Vyatta vRouter and the Virtual ADX. Other vendors active in the NFV market include Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Systems, Hewlett- Packard and Juniper Networks. NFV solutions were a key focus at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona in February, and overshadowed SDN to some degree. In fact, NFV can exist without SDN. For example, an organization might want to virtualize one network func- tion, which can be done without an SDN controller, Wright said. But deployments that involve a more complex virtual network topology will take advantage of SDN. April 15, 2014 FCW.COM 31 The future of NFV Here are a few things to keep in mind about network functions virtualization: • Its use is growing. The technol- ogy might not be soaring in the federal sector, but it is growing rapidly elsewhere. Mind Com- merce expects global spend- ing on NFV products to grow at an annual rate of 46 percent through 2019, when the market will see revenue of $1.3 billion. • Its vendor universe is expand- ing. More companies are expect- ed to announce NFV initiatives --- and that activity will extend beyond the networking-centric ones. For instance, Hewlett- Packard recently introduced OpenNFV, a program that virtual- izes core networks and network functions. • It could bene t from more openness. As vendors seek to make their mark on NFV, there is also a push for open networking. The Linux Founda- tion's OpenDaylight project, for example, seeks to build an open community of developers and open-source code to encourage widespread adoption of SDN and create a solid foundation for NFV. • It will become more secure. As a relatively new technology, NFV will likely generate more dis- cussions about security issues, with the government potentially weighing in. The National Insti- tute of Standards and Technology discussed virtualized networks in its Special Publication 800-125, "Guide to Security for Full Virtu- alization Technologies, " published in January 2011, before the arrival of NFV. --- John Moore
March 30, 2014
April 30, 2014