“The way in which network services are delivered is going through an unprecedented shift — the biggest we’ve seen since the broad adoption of MPLS,” - Shawn Hakl, Vice President of Networking and Innovation at Verizon.
It’s time for the channel to take note of virtualization, understand the various strategies, and see the sales benefits compared to physical appliances. Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is set to increase sixfold by 2020 due to the flexibility that allows more customer deployments in areas that hardware solutions weren’t previously feasible.
The NFV Boom
According to market research, 20-30 percent of managed services like enterprise routing, security, WAN optimization, intelligent edges, and network analytics, are on pace to shift from physical appliances to software. As businesses crave agility without the stifling costs, providers are working to replace static configurations and topologies with a more fitting dynamic fabric. To ensure quality, all of this would be done in harmonization with an intelligent edge that can transform with bandwidth and concurrent call spikes.
For managed service providers (MSPs) and value added resellers (VARs) there is a profit opportunity in transformation. While physical appliances are changed out every three to five years, the channel has the ability to sell a greater volume of NFV services since the sales cycle does not need account for big hardware investments.
Backed with other benefits like easy updates for security patches, a growing concern for today’s businesses, the channel has an easy sell. Plus, NFV also relieves staff of spending time of fixing bugs and pushing through new features since everything can be managed on the provider side.
Gaps Needing Innovative Services
While there are burgeoning benefits to NFV, the technology development and business direction are still taking shape. Standard bodies like ETSI are carving out frameworks so that automating management and integration doesn’t remain a downfall of NFV.
ETSI has identified that service providers with large portfolios and heterogenous systems may face the following management challenges:
- Root cause analysis across hardware, software, or both
- Deploying virtual network functions to the appropriate network location across the WAN
- Disjointed mapping of services to physical infrastructure
- Tracking usage for billing and patching
- Scaling hardware resources to meet capacity needs, which could incur CapEx charges
Channeling the Functions
The channel can help bridge the NFV gaps by not only offering connectivity services, but by augmenting with virtualized value-added services that have three key features:
- Vendor Agnostic – To ensure there are no interoperability issues between hardware and software.
- Built-in Monitoring – To provide visibility that can be drilled down for troubleshooting even in times of peak usage.
- Security Focus – While NFV is agile, it’s imperative that security scales with the functions.
MSPs that choose to work with vendors which produce solutions that fit this bill can chain together dynamic routing, security, WAN optimization, analytics, and other functions to mitigate threats and latency, and eliminate time-consuming management.
Edgewater Networks has created Cloud2Edge Complete, a software-as-a-service offering of our popular Network Edge Orchestration solution. With virtual services, MSPs can expand their geographical reach without concerns about truck rolls to install hardware. And while customers are enjoying lower costs and higher quality services, MSPs can benefit from not only increased revenue, but less time managing the solution.
With Cloud2Edge Complete, usage is tabulated at the account level, not the device simplifying billing as ETSI has outlined.
To learn more about this highly adaptable and profitable take on networking, download our white paper: Using Network Edge Orchestration to Increase Profits.