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Testing of NFV Requires Industry to MatureTesting of NFV Requires Industry to Mature

New streamlined methodologies for data processing, analysis and storage are needed for testing virtualized network functions.

Denise Culver

December 22, 2014

3 Min Read
Testing of NFV Requires Industry to Mature

Telecommunications service providers are driving growth in NFV to enable them to meet specific requirements. In service provider environments, telecom and networking software is generally run on three types of platforms: standard servers running Linux or Windows, proprietary hardware appliances, and virtual appliances running over hypervisors on industry-standard hardware servers.

NFV originally got its footing from service providers such as AT&T, NTT and Deutsche Telekom, and such operators remain some of the primary drivers behind the growth in NFV. While there are differences in areas such as the scale and the extent of the enabling technologies, enterprises looking to adopt NFV technology within their walls face many of the same challenges that led service providers to first consider the concept of NFV.

By moving network functions to virtual appliances that can be easily provisioned and integrated regardless of the vendor that provided the appliance or the hypervisor on which it runs, the goal of service providers is to greatly simplify their operations and reduce expenses through NFV.

From a NFV testing point of view, there is a huge installed base of non-virtualized equipment, and orchestration of physical devices is inherently more challenging than virtual devices because of the proliferation of interfaces that must be automated. This orchestration is particularly important to make service quality assurance and pre-production testing operations as agile as the newly virtualized network architectures are supposed to be.

These are just some of the findings in the new Heavy Reading Mobile Networks Insider report, "NFV Testing Provides Critical Step in Virtualizing Networks." This report examines the market for testing of NFV, analyzing what types of NFV applications are being tested, as well as areas of growth expected in the market over the next two years. It discusses drivers and challenges in the industry and includes a comparative analysis of solutions available. Finally, it examines the geographic landscape of the market and details trends that are likely to occur in the industry over the next 18-24 months.

NFV involves many components to work together from the provisioning of the virtual machines (VMs), the required networking connectivity and integration with operation and business support systems (OSS/BSS). The challenge is getting orchestration systems, SDN controllers and others to all work together.

The only way for next-generation testing solutions to break the escalating monitoring cost curve is by implementing new streamlined methodologies for data processing, analysis and storage. Real-time intelligence and analytics providing correlated media, location, user plane and control-plane analysis preempt and prevent service disruption and enable meaningful integration of SDN, orchestration, NFV and policy domains. This is a fundamental architectural shift required by next-generation assurance and performance management systems.

— Denise Culver, Research Analyst, Heavy Reading Mobile Networks Insider

NFV Testing Provides Critical Step in Virtualizing Networks, a 24-page report in PDF format, is available as part of an annual subscription (six issues) to Heavy Reading Mobile Networks Insider, priced at $1,499. Individual reports are available for $595. To subscribe, please visit: www.heavyreading.com/mobile-networks.

About the Author(s)

Denise Culver

Online Research Director

Denise manages Heavy Reading's Thought Leadership Council, which uses a focus group approach to glean insights from CSPs on topics ranging from automation, IoT, 5G, B/OSS transformation, SD-WAN and emerging technologies. Additionally, Denise covers the test and measurement industry as an analyst, focusing on how T&M vendors are addressing telco transformation, as well as the impact that technologies such as IoT are having on service provider networks. Denise also continues to oversee development of Light Reading's Pedia projects, including Virtuapedia and Testapedia. Previously, she was a Contributing Analyst with Heavy Reading for seven years, covering a wide range of areas, including mobile, IP transformation and T&M. Her career in technology journalism began in 1996, and she is a past winner of the American Business Media Association's Jesse Neal Award for editorial achievement. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University.

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