Pakhnyushchyy - Fotolia

Verizon NFV infrastructure offers interchangeable parts

This week, networking analysts explore Verizon NFV, SD-WAN as intent-based networking and automation costs.

Blogger Drew Conry-Murray, writing in Packet Pushers, examined the upcoming release of Verizon NFV, as the service provider adopts an OpenStack infrastructure that combines software from Red Hat and Big Switch with Dell hardware. Verizon NFV, or network functions virtualization, has yet to become a full reality, with only the infrastructure being announced, but none of the functions.

When it comes to Verizon NFV, Conry-Murray cited the service provider's strategy to rely on interchangeable commodity hardware and open source software, thus permitting White box switching and options to run multiple, different switch operating systems. This approach contrasts with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure, which is fully integrated and not interchangeable. To put the new Verizon NFV system into place, the company is aggressively training engineers and operators, and working to implement virtual taps as a monitoring supplement to its traditional network management oversight.

See more of Conry-Murray's thoughts on Verizon NFV.

SD-WAN and intent-based networking

Mike Fratto, an analyst with Current Analysis in Sterling, Va., discussed SD-WAN as an example of what he called intent-based networking. This approach to networking emphasizes the what, rather than the more technical how, methodology network professionals commonly consider. To that end, Fratto said he believes SD-WAN will provide the first glimpse of intent-based networking for many companies.

Fratto said SD-WAN will be an eye-opening experience for many administrators as they begin to use a familiar framework that's bolstered by a wider variety of options about how to handle traffic. He added that in the past, IT teams often spent a tremendous amount of time reconfiguring WANs to accommodate a customer relationship management app running over a VPN or MPLS. Today, as SD-WAN becomes a reality, teams will have more flexibility in determining how that traffic should be directed -- in the process, eliminating configuration steps.

Explore more of Fratto's thoughts on SD-WAN.

Weighing automation costs

Keith Townsend, writing on the CTO Advisor, advised against spending money on automation before IT administrators understand processes. Much like ERP projects are prone to failure -- leaving some questioning the wisdom of implementing them -- so do IT automation projects struggle or fail.

According to Townsend, the challenge is not automation itself, but creating a repeatable process in an enterprise. "Business agility isn't achieved by automating inefficient processes," he said, pointing to the failure of IT automation projects with orchestration tools available. The problem, Townsend said, is that many enterprises fail to assess their processes and end up automating inefficient operations.

Read more of Townsend's thoughts on IT automation.

Next Steps

What NFV vendors are on the market?

Defining SDN as intent-based networking

IT automation is imperative

Dig Deeper on Network infrastructure

Unified Communications
Mobile Computing
Data Center