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Industry Confidence in Distributed NFV Reflected in Survey at Ethernet & SDN Expo
With Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) deployments on the horizon, there is high confidence that it will deliver the benefits that it promises, according to a RAD-sponsored survey at last week's Ethernet & SDN Expo in New York.
The survey, conducted among event attendees, asked several NFV-related questions. To measure expectations that NFV will deliver its promised benefits, respondents were asked to rate their confidence on a scale of 1-to-10. A full two-thirds expressed high confidence with a rating in the 7-10 range. Asked where they think NFV will have its biggest impact, a third of respondents pointed to the network core, while half said it would be either in the data center, network edge, or customer premises.
"This was a very interesting result," commented Dr. Yuri Gittik, Head of Strategic Marketing at RAD. "The common perception is that NFV will be implemented in data centers, but there is clearly an understanding that it makes sense to locate NFV in other parts of the network as well,” he continues. “Within this Distributed NFV approach, RAD specifically focuses on NFV at the customer premises."
Forty percent said they expect to implement NFV capabilities in one–to- two years, while a third said it would be within a year. Asked about which of NFV's potential benefits was most important, more than a third of respondents cited reduced total cost of ownership (TCO), while 20 percent pointed to quicker time–to-market and 15 percent chose improved network performance.
"This survey tells us that there is a very good feeling out there about NFV," Gittik noted. "Service provider representatives recognize what NFV can do for their networks and believe that these promises are more than hype."
The Distributed NFV approach emphasizes the flexibility of the technology beyond mere relocation of functionality from a customer site to the network, wherever it is most effective.
The survey responses also reflected some skepticism about NFV. Forty percent of respondents said they fear NFV is more susceptible to breaches in security than are hardware implementations, while 25 percent thought it was less susceptible and the rest thought it was about the same or weren't sure. And asked to rate their concern over how general network health would affect virtualized functions' performance, 57 percent were very concerned (in the 7-10 range) and 33 percent were moderately concerned (in the 4-6 range).
"As with any new technology, doubts are to be expected," Gittik concluded. "We believe that many of these concerns can be mitigated by the Distributed NFV approach. For example, with more functions virtualized at the customer premises, security, access control and network health can be enhanced, rather than impaired."
The survey was conducted by RAD on October 2-3 at Ethernet & SDN Expo. Just over half the respondents were service provider representatives.
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