Guest Column | May 5, 2014

What You Need To Know About Virtual Communications Networks

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Virtual Communications Networks

By Jim Machi, Vice President of Product Management, Dialogic

Q: What do VARs and MSPs need to know about the demand for virtualization solutions?

Machi: Virtualization, cloud computing, hosting, and network functions virtualization (NFV) are all the rage in communications these days. Companies can run their communications networks and applications on data center hardware that doesn’t necessarily need to be in the same building as your business. There are three major reasons why this is becoming reality:

  1. Advances in computing power. First of all, the computing power of today’s COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) hardware continues to advance in lock step with Moore’s Law, and the need to use purpose-built discrete hardware is considerably less. 
  2. Advances in virtualization technology. The computing virtualization technology that ushered in the cloud era was geared more towards transactional computing. Today, the virtualization technology also incorporates scheduling requirements required for real-time communications.
  3. Migration to all-IP. As the networks themselves transition to IP, the need for physical connectors to TDM (Time-division multiplexing) networks dissipates. As such, network functions can be run in virtualized environments, taking advantage of virtualized network interfaces, and these IP-based networks are faster than they’ve ever been. 100 Gpbs speeds on the Internet backbone are here and Gbps speeds to the home are within reach, thereby enabling a cloud-based NFV model. Therefore, running network functions in locations that are not physically near the subscribers is possible, and having multiple data centers of this sort to enable redundancy is easier and more economical.

I would characterize two types of virtualized solutions: a hosted model, and better utilization of COTS hardware. For purposes of this Q&A, I’ll refer to virtualized solutions from the context of hosted solutions.

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