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OpenFlow and SDNs would enable Verizon to manage its network elements more flexibly, the carrier has said, so that it can explicitly define paths that might be based on service awareness, or subscriber awareness, or the state of network congestion and other capabilities.
NFV will be used to cut down on the number of hardware elements in these networks. Led by seven major communications service providers, NFV provides a standards-based approach to virtualizing a range of telecom applications, thus enabling them to run on industry standard servers.
The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is defining the NFV standard.
While SDN virtualizes the network infrastructure itself, NFV virtualizes network services, like load balancing, mobile core applications, deep packet inspection, application acceleration, WAN optimization, session boarder controllers, and firewalls and VPNs by eliminating dedicated appliances and running those functions as virtual machines on x86 servers.
Infonetics last year found that carriers rated content delivery networks (CDN), IP multimedia subsystems, and virtual routers/security gateways as the top applications for NFV.
AT&T is currently reviewing Request For Information (RFI) documents from vendors on their plans to embrace SDN and NFV in their products and product architectures to align with AT&T's Domain 2.0 virtualization strategy. Domain 2.0 is a network virtualization project that looks to embrace commodity, white box hardware and SDN controllers.
Read more about lans & wans in Network World's LANs & WANs section.