Containers Shake Network Functions Virtualization Assumptions

One of the bigger debates to emerge at the Mobile World Congress 2018 conference this week is the degree to which network service providers will be relying on virtual appliances rather than containers to implement network functions virtualization (NFV). Service providers of all size are rushing to embrace network virtualization to replace physical network appliances that today must be managed manually. That transition has been extended to the point now where many service providers are now trying to decide between transforming a network function into a virtual appliance based on a hypervisor or rely on containers to achieve the same goal. This week Metaswitch, a provider of cloud-native networking software, published a white paper in collaboration with Telenor, a provider of mobile networking services, to help network service providers determine when best to apply containers instead of virtual appliances. The white paper details the underlying architecture the two companies employed to create a proof-of-concept instance of an NFV platform based on containers running on Intel servers.

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