Network Functions Virtualization

Increase service velocity, improve network flexibility and scaling, and reduce your total cost of ownership.

Moving Toward a Virtualized Network

Orchestration, Abstraction, and Programmability

Network functions virtualization (NFV) architectures provide the necessary network flexibility to enable new service delivery models and elastic network scaling to reduce total cost of ownership.

Fundamentally, NFV begins with the shift toward the virtualization of network components currently deployed on purpose-built hardware. As you evolve your networks to NFV, the abstraction of the control-plane and data-forwarding plane simplifies the creation and management of new services. At the same time, you benefit from a programmable network based on industry standard open APIs that give you greater flexibility and agility.

F5’s Broad Portfolio of VNFs

Whether your goal is to deploy a completely virtualized network or a hybrid network where only some of the functionality will be virtualized, BIG-IP products are available as both carrier-grade, purpose-built hardware and virtual editions (VEs) on COTS hardware.

VNFs available on the BIG-IP platform include Virtual Firewall (vFW), Virtual Application Delivery Controllers (vADC), Virtual Policy Manager (vPEM), Virtual DNS (vDNS), and more.

F5 makes network virtualization easier with fully automated packaged NFV solutions. These are ready-to- install solutions, purchased as consumption-based options from 5 to 50 Gbps increments, which greatly simplify network planning, sizing and purchasing. These packaged VNF services include the F5 VNF Manager, which enables a fully automated solution with full lifecycle management from service instantiation to auto-scaling to decommission. Realizing the full benefits of an automated, virtualized network has just come closer.

The Open Architecture Advantage

To sustain a profitable business model while experiencing tremendous growth in traffic, the world’s largest operators are turning to NFV with OpenStack in an open architecture.

One Tier-1 U.S. operator has collaborated with multiple vendors to create an NFV architecture design. Together, they engaged ACG Research to analyze the economics of two designs: the open architecture platform and a more “tightly bundled alternative.”

Over five years, the cumulative TCO of the open architecture platform is estimated to be 53% lower and three times faster in deploying new service offerings, when compare to the bundled approach.

A Growing Partner Ecosystem

All F5 solutions, including hardware and virtual editions, run on the same operating system (TMOS) and have standard open APIs/ REST APIs that can plug into management and orchestration solutions from our partners.


NFV Use Cases

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Leverage an integrated, broad portfolio of services

We deliver virtual editions of all our products. These virtualized network functions (VNFs) run on the same F5 TMOS platform as their non-virtualized counterparts.

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Reduce costs

Because all F5 solutions are built on top of the TMOS operating system, you can seamlessly transition your networks from the F5 VIPRION chassis and BIG-IP appliances to VNFs running on commercial, off-the-shelf hardware. Our solutions enable you to maintain a hybrid network architecture that can be tailored and customized based on your network requirements and NFV migration roadmap, while providing a high quality of service for your subscribers.

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Increase service velocity

F5 VNFs can be implemented with a licensing update enabling you to provision new services in hours or days. Our VNFs make it easy to leverage service function chaining, letting you combine a series of micro-services to deliver macro-services. All F5 VNFs can be deployed as a service, including load balancing as a service (LBaaS), firewall as a service (FWaaS), and DNS as a service (DNSaaS).

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Increase scalability and flexibility

F5 VNFs can quickly scale to meet demand by reusing and repurposing general-purpose hardware, or provisioning in the cloud. They also let you port services from one data center to another with whatever network functions you need. As a result, you can deploy capabilities in locations where it was formerly cost prohibitive or technically impossible; and by deploying in a smaller footprint for edge computing, you can better manage the growth of IoT, and drive 5G development and deployment.

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Deliver best-of-breed functionality

Based on industry standards, our VNFs easily integrate into your overall NFV environment, enabling you to develop a best-of-breed solution. F5 is a member of, and actively participates in, ETSI, NFV, IETF, Openstack Forum, Open Networking Foundation, and other NFV/SDN standards bodies and consortia.

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Optimize management and orchestration

F5’s VNF Manager helps you manage the lifecycle and orchestration of all L7 services without the need for a third-party vendor.  Our management and orchestration functionality allows you to consolidate and manage your virtual services; simplify and optimize your service orchestration; implement lifecycle management to support rapid spin up and spin down of services; rapidly deploy software updates/versions; and consolidate procurement with flexible cloud licensing models.

Unlocking Next-Gen On-Demand Services

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Maximize your ROI

Get the most out of F5 NFV solutions by optimizing your architecture and configuration.

Benefits of NFV implementation

Learn how a Tier 1 U.S. operator collaborated with multiple vendors to create a secure NFV architecture design that delivers 3x better performance with a lower TCO.

Simplicity, velocity, scale

Simplify your virtualized network with ready-to-install NFV solutions that are able to automatically unpack and self-configure, saving time and ensuring application performance out of the box.