Legacy network hardware, such as routers, firewalls, SD-WAN and VPN terminators continue to be replaced with virtualized network functions (VNF). When compared to traditional methods of deploying and managing network infrastructure using custom-built hardware, network functions virtualization (NFV) is simplifying nearly every aspect of network management by enabling greater agility, flexibility and scalability at a lower cost. These advantages are driving a market shift from physical deployment to virtual deployment of network services with an estimated 22.9% compound average growth rate (CAGR) of NFV component revenue between 2017 and 2024.[i]
Worldwide Network Functions Virtualization Market Forecast by Region (USD Billion) Projects a 22.9% CAGR
Source: Marketsandmarkets Research Private Ltd.
At Equinix, we recognize the transformational advantages that NFV provides and continue to make significant investment so our customers can benefit from the wide range of capabilities available of NFV deployments. Network Edge offers a marketplace of virtual network functions, deployed as-a-service. By leveraging Network Edge, network architects can select the VNFs they want, deploy in the location they need and connect to the cloud services they require.
NFV component revenue is growing at a 22.9% CAGR between 2017 and 2024.
How NFV simplifies network management
Enterprises need to deploy and manage their network resources with greater efficiency to gain visibility and deliver higher application performance and reliability to their end-users. Key NFV capabilities that ease management responsibilities for network architects and administrators include:
- A single source for a wide range of best-of-breed network functions – Given that no single network fits all, enterprises need a choice of network provider and/or require multiple networks for greater resiliency. Via Network Edge, architects can select from a wide range of virtual network functions from various market-leading vendors, such as Cisco, Fortinet, Versa, CloudGenix, Palo Alto Networks and Juniper Networks.
- Centralized deployment and management – As enterprise networks are becoming more complex and highly distributed, management is becoming unwieldy. NFV frees up time that used to be spent on manual network configurations, on-site troubleshooting and racking and stacking of the hardware.
- Automated on-demand deployment – The automation that NFV architectures provide is a huge time saver for network teams. To further speed up time to market we have worked closely with our VNF vendors to ensure each device has the appropriate compute resources and is fully integrated with Platform Equinix® to ensure trouble-free deployment and optimized performance.
- Easily scale up/down – With on-demand deployment, virtual network functions can be spun up and down to meet varying needs across enterprise networks. This capability is ideal for short-term projects like data migrations or proof-of-concept testing.
- Locate network function to optimize performance – Virtual network functions can be deployed globally across multiple metro and regions on Platform Equinix and located close to data, applications, clouds and business ecosystem partners. This minimizes latency to support real-time interactions, enhance network security and optimize application performance.
How to facilitate connectivity when building NFV architectures
The whole point of NFV is to gain more flexibility for deploying network services, so it is important to be able to leverage that same flexibility to connect to cloud and network providers. This includes giving network architects greater control and agility when building out network architectures and enhancing network connectivity and performance.
Our enterprise customers who already have agreements with network service providers can connect with them on Platform Equinix, allowing the provider to carry traffic anywhere worldwide while taking advantage of the NFV services that support faster network connectivity, easier management and greater performance.
The rich interconnection capabilities of Platform Equinix and selection of NFV services available via Network Edge give network architects the flexibility to:
- Connect to clouds in regions without the need to establish a physical presence in the area.
- Deploy virtual routers for cloud-to-cloud connectivity to eliminate data throughput delays caused by backhaul routing through corporate data centers.
- Configure SD-WAN services to securely connect branch offices with regional data center hubs, aggregate traffic and eliminate the need to provide multiple connections from branches to data centers.
- Deploy a virtual firewall between corporate apps and the public cloud to protect corporate data center applications from the risk of attack from public-facing applications.
If your business is planning to adopt NFV, Equinix provides the ideal infrastructure and environment to maximize the benefits of NFV while simplifying network management. At Equinix, network architects can rapidly deploy and interconnect virtual network services, such as routers, firewalls, and SDWAN to optimize network performance, enhance security and lower ongoing operational costs.
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