I’ve spoken with many in the IT industry about SDN (Software Defined Networks) which promise to greatly shorten the time to introduce new services while providing a significant cost reduction in the operations on the network.
What was interesting was that when bringing up the concept of NFV (Network Functions Virtualization), I got blank stares.
For me, I associate NFV with services provided by Carriers or Service Providers (SPs) like Allstream, Bell, Rogers and Telus here in Canada, whereas SDN is a component of Smart Networks within the Enterprise.
Smart networks encompass SDN and EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management).
NFV provides agility and flexibility in spinning up new services for enterprise customers at a reduced cost to the SP and presumably this will result in lower prices and faster delivery to the Enterprise customers.
SDN promises to provide agility and cost savings within the private or Hybrid Cloud networks within the enterprise.
A great deal has been made about the promise of cost savings in CapEx (Capital Expenditures) by reducing the cost of hardware as the intelligence in the network will come from Software Based Controllers and the switching fabric will be stripped of much of the decision making thus lowering the cost of the switches and routers throughout the network.
Gartner Group has a different view based on its celebrated Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) model. It sees the cost of hardware or more specifically CapEx actually increasing from 14% to 15% of overall TCO and that the cost savings will be derived (75% estimated) from the operations component and virtualization component which typically represents almost 91% of the TCO. This could result in millions of dollars in OpEx (Operational Expenditure) savings.(Source: Application Centric Infrastructure – Cisco – Dec 5, 2013)
A particularly lucid discussion can be seen from the recent TIA show interviews:
Increasing Network Intelligence