What is virtualization?
Virtualization is the capability to replicate a hardware platform in software such as a server, storage device or network resource. The functionality of the software is alienated from the hardware and simulated as a “virtual instance,” with the ability to function just like the conventional hardware. There is a host hardware that constantly supports these virtual instances but this hardware. Additionally, a single hardware platform can be used to support multiple virtual devices or machines, which are easy to spin up or down when required. As a result, a virtualized solution is typically much more portable, scalable and cost-effective option as compared to conventional ones.
Applying Virtualization to the Network
Network virtualization (NV) is defined as the ability to craft logical, virtual networks that are decoupled from the primary network hardware to ensure better network performance when integrated with virtual environments. The virtualization technologies are increasing at a very fast pace. Network virtualization (NV) abstracts networking connectivity and services that have conventionally been delivered via hardware resources into a logical virtual network. This network runs autonomously on top of a physical network in a hypervisor. NV includes L2-3 services like switching and routing, along with virtualized L4-7 services that include firewalling and server load-balancing.
Why is it important?
Network virtualization can solve multiple challenges in network technology across various data centers thus helping the organizations to centrally program and provision the network, as and when needed without having to physically handle the primary laid infrastructure. With virtualization, it has become so much easy for organizations to adjust their workloads and successfully meet their computing needs. It can also be used to create virtual networks within a virtualized infrastructure. This enables NV to sustain the compound requirements in multi-tenancy environments. It delivers a virtual network within a virtual environment that can easily be separated from other network resources. In the instances, when resource requirement is heavy, NV can split traffic into a zone or container so that traffic does not blend with other resources or cause destruction in the transfer of other data.
In the world of 5G, virtualization is everything. It is more than just the next generation of radio technology. It is about access, transport, and cloud. Also, it is linked to network virtualization, automation, virtual network functions, management, and orchestration. Operators these days look forward to technologies of virtualization, cloud RAN and various other associated technologies to improve end to end network capabilities. There is absolutely no need to install other appliances whenever a new network, service or application is required with virtualization as it enables CSPs to deploy software-based network functions on general purpose hardware.
How does virtualization enable 5G network
Network functions virtualization (NFV) is the replacement of network functions on dedicated appliances such as routers, firewalls and load balancers with virtualized instances operating as software on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. NFV’s aims to transform the way networks are built and services are distributed. It is possible to carry out the wide range of network functions with NFV’s thus maximizing the efficiencies and increasing the revenue by faster delivery of network services with more available resources.
NFV is a key for 5G enabled networks as it can virtualize all the appliances available in the network. It will enable network slicing. It is a framework where multiple virtual networks can be created on top of the shared physical infrastructure. These networks can be customized according to the requirements of customers, operators, applications, services or devices. They can produce virtual networks for those applications that require features such as performance, latency, capacity, security, coverage, and reliability.