Network function virtualisation (NFV) is a movement that promises some significant benefits for network operators. OpenCloud products are all 100% software, designed from the start for deployment on commonly available servers – naturally this includes virtualised deployment too. (You can read about our part in VIP Mobile’s completely virtualised VoLTE project here).
Scalability is a key aspect of virtualisation that leads to some of the primary benefits of NFV: It enables new systems to be launched small, and grow only when demand grows. This avoids the cost over-investment in capacity (and avoids the risk of under-investment) and reduces the delay between investment and the return on that investment.
Open, Virtualisation for DevOps
However, scalability of cloud-based solutions also plays an important role in unlocking the path to agile innovation. It enables wireline operators, mobile operators and MVNOs to embrace a “DevOps” (development and operations) approach to support sustainable incremental service development – in the same manner as leading IT and Internet companies.
In IT/Internet companies, developers typically have access to their own development environment, including replica systems into which their innovation will be deployed. Traditionally, in telecoms, a single physical test network has existed – it was a scarce and costly resource, and is a bottleneck that delays the testing and launch of innovation, or prevents innovation from being trialled.
With NFV, miniature cloud-based replica networks can be created rapidly and at very low cost for development teams. They can then quickly cycle through developing new features and deploying and testing them in an agile manner, deploying a steady flow of innovation into the live network.
In addition to supporting virtualised deployment, the open nature on OpenCloud products also plays a vital role in enabling agile innovation: without the open ability to create the innovative ideas there would be nothing new to test.