Network functions virtualization (NFV) burst onto the telecom scene in the fall of 2012, as an operator-led initiative to move away from deploying a plethora of function- and vendor-specific gear in favor of virtualizing network functions onto industry-standard hardware.
In the 15 months since the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV Industry Specifications Group (ISG) began its work, this technology trend has taken off at a pace previously unseen in telecom. Now most often viewed as a complementary virtualization trend to software-defined networking (SDN), NFV remains a telecom phenomenon and one still dominated by the NFV ISG and its service provider originators.
That's not to say many hardware and software vendors haven't grabbed hold of the NFV football and attempted to run, throw or kick it over their own personal goal line -- in fact, many have rushed to show how they have already virtualized individual functions such as firewalls, deep-packet inspection and policy gear, session border controllers and IMS equipment and platforms.
During the course of 2013, however, the NFV conversation shifted from how to virtualize functions to whether virtualization wasn't just one step in a process that had to also include moving many functions into the cloud environment and developing new network management and orchestration capabilities to be able to effectively deliver services on a network composed of virtualized functions.
Our list of movers and shakers in the NFV space gives a nod to the range of activity in 2013, including two of the leaders of the initial effort, one outspoken proponent of keeping NFV moving forward, one individual who sounded the early alarm on network management and orchestration and the lone representative of the vendor community, a CTO whose software company actually delivered on a virtualization platform this year.
It's highly likely that next year's list could be substantially different, as we expect activity in the NFV space to heat up further with the launch of the NFV ISG's proofs of concept, along with initiatives on other fronts including the TM Forum 's efforts, which look set to climax at Management World in June, and the work of various vendor consortia that are emerging in growing numbers.
- Page 2: Dr. Prodip Sen, director, Network Architecture, Verizon Communications & chair, NFV ISG
- Page 3: Uwe Michel, network architect, CTO TAB, Deutsche Telekom & vice chair, NFV ISG
- Page 4: Margaret Chiosi, distinguished network architect, AT&T
- Page 5: Tom Nolle, president, CIMI Corp. and chief architect, CloudNFV
- Page 6: Martin Taylor, CTO, Metaswitch
- Tier 1 Carriers Tackle Telco SDN
- Telcos Turn Spotlight on Virtualization
- Carriers Peer Into Virtual World
- This Virtual World
- NFV: Talk of the Town
- One Problem With NFV
- Ethernet Europe: Top 10 Takeaways
- The Benefits of NFV
- MW13: NFV Picks Up Speed
- Orange Has High Hopes for NFV
- New Group Ties NFV to the Cloud
- Clouding Up the NFV Transition
- NFV in the Cloud: It's Complicated
- NFV: Set to Break the Big Box Brands
- NFV Requires Redefined Reliability: AlcaLu
- Forecasting the NFV Opportunity
- 5 Challenges for NFV in the 4G Core Network
- SDN & NFV to Shake Up Operator OSS Market, Heavy Reading Finds
- AT&T Puts SDN/NFV in Driver's Seat
- Telefónica Preps NFV Trial
- ETSI Publishes First NFV Specs
- NFV Group Finds Its Feet
- The SDN/NFV Integration Challenge
- Timeline for NFV Still Hazy
- TM Forum Sees Catalyst Role in NFV
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading