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Influence of NFV on the Future of Network Monitoring

By Mariano Kimbara January 08, 2015

Network performance monitoring providers are experiencing pricing pressures from end-users and, thus, are seeking alternative ways to improve their offerings. As the network infrastructure is becoming more dynamic and increasingly virtualized than before, the industry has started to see Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) as being important to accelerating innovation, provisioning, and product capabilities in order to meet new customer requirements. The value creation comes from the idea that virtualizing and consolidating legacy physical network using cloud technologies will reduce both OpEx and CapEx for Service Providers (SPs) and enterprises. This trend of virtualization is changing the entire landscape of the market.

Nevertheless, companies pointed out that there is still considerable confusion in the industry about what Network Functions Virtualization can offers in a highly virtualized network monitoring environment and the way it can manage network services. Mostly adding to the confusion is the extensive number of solutions combined with the limited number of proposed approaches.

Upcoming new scenario in Network Monitoring’s Providers Infrastructure

Enterprises are demanding to not only have greater insights and better visibility across their networks, but also to go beyond the legacy monitoring analytical tools. Top companies are upgrading their internal ability to optimize the network services themselves. Frost & Sullivan foresees an increasing need in the following years for a single integrated solution with the capabilities to screen, allocate, and transport virtual resources without manual intervention. From a market standpoint, there are several network monitoring providers approaching the deployment of NFV that dynamically support virtual Ethernet networks for better utilization of network resources, security enhancement, and easier management. Companies point out that a co-existence between NFV and legacy networks can be expected.

Key challenges in the deployment of NFV

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  • Bilateral mapping for virtual and physical network infrastructure: There is a criterion that companies should take into consideration for the adoption of an NFV solution, especially when it comes from the interaction of physical and virtual networks. Physical networks and NFV remain as separate entities with different control points. We see the adaptation of physical network to virtual network evolution as being critical to accelerating innovation. There is an increasing requirement to provide bilateral mapping and seamless control for virtual and physical environments whenever a network performance occurs. In such a scenario, companies that are able to provide not only a greater visibility into the virtual network, but also a comprehensive view into a complete solution, enjoy a better position to grow in this competitive market.
  • A flexible NFV solution with dynamic connectivity and open Interfaces: From a market standpoint, open interfaces, open source software, and a flexible framework and environment are required from multi-suppliers and an extensive number of vendors.


Though implementing NFV presents risks and network operators are still wondering how to transition their existing networks, investment and several assessments have been made to meet the evolving requirements and adoption of NFV solutions. There is still little deployment of production networks, however, companies are actively analyzing the potential value that NFV can offer. Each type of network would be comprised by the co-existence between NFV and legacy networks. The current landscape can change dramatically. We can see a migration towards NFV-based network services only once the service levels are met and IT virtualization technology is improved. Adopting a real end-to-end network performance monitoring approach is a key criterion for adopting NFV services. The industry is forced to re-defining itself from existing network management practices.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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