NFV (Network Function Virtualization) is a vital enabler of 5G infrastructure, including Next-Generation Core, down to the Radio Access Network (RAN). NFV empowers new innovative services, such as network slicing and mobile edge computing.
Because NFV components are tightly combined, they create a layer of complexity and introduce the following challenges:
- Performance and scale: Apparent issues at the NFVI host risks around vSwitches bottleneck, and hardware acceleration techniques like DPDK or SR-IOV aim to maximize larger pools of hardware. Besides, the performance limitation of the VNF itself. Does the VNF achieve the expected performance? How many compute nodes does it take to reach the required scale?
- Interoperability: For NFV success to be realized widely in the industry, increased interoperability across vendor solutions and individual components is needed. A major factor that slows down NFV adoption is the lack of interoperability between the multitude of building blocks. Both the VNF manager and NFV orchestrator need to integrate with many VNFs such as virtual routers, switches, load balancers, and many others from other vendors.
- Security: NFV opens a window for new security risks. Software is more vulnerable to the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks than physical components. NFV architecture exposes an organization to several new security issues that need to be addressed. An attack on a certain VNF might affect other VNFs running on the same VM or physical server.
- Lack of Standards: Although the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI) is progressing with reasonable amounts of NFV standards, the industry lacks an overall consensus on implementing these standards in the same way.
EANTC supports service providers in their NFV journey with the following services: