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Why is this storage guy getting so caught up in NFV?

Seeing visible technology disruption

This time around, I want to focus on the topic of technology disruption. I’m really beginning to sense there is “change in the air” in the IT space. One good example: the annual technology showcase at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona was a gathering of thought leaders and change agents discussing technology convergence, or Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). This looks very disruptive. In the words of Bill Veghte, HP’s EVP of the Enterprise Group “the NFV opportunity is one of the single most significant shifts the telecommunications industry has experienced in 20 years.”






Why Network Functions Virtualization—and why now

NFV has been toted around for the last year or so…so nothing new. However, previously only a concept, it now seems like reality as the Telco CEOs noticeably got involved at MWC. Basically, NFV takes the components of a service provider network and virtualizes the functions, as software, to run on industry-standard hardware: servers, switches and storage. This generates dramatic advantages in terms of the speed of deploying new functions and services but also completely transforms the cost efficiency of the classic Telco networks. Bingo! The same IT gear in the network and the data center: true network/IT convergence at last! You can check out the HP OpenNFV program here.


Storage and NFV

You might ask: Why is a storage guy getting so caught up in a subject like NFV? Well, I’ve always been interested in the role storage plays in the overall information ecosystem. The way NFV becomes the catalyst to converge networks and IT really fascinates me. From my (selfish) perspective, this means we can start to properly populate the data center and the network with a common storage architecture. In my world that means HP 3PAR, a modern, fully virtualized storage architecture, gets to play its full role across the whole data ecosystem. Imagine large central data stores alongside smaller network deployments: a single standard, massive efficiencies and a common management framework.


The New Style of IT

And now the business benefit: If we have a common way to store data, regardless of data center or network location, then the ability to service cloud computing, big data analytics and support mobility in a secure way becomes more of a reality. No more proprietary stovepipes of information that are difficult to access or manage. This is very significant and is a big step towards making the New Style of IT a reality.


So I think I need to go and do my homework and brush up on my network skills (!). In the meantime, it is exciting to think how servers, storage and networks can standardize across the globe and Converged Infrastructure really make an impact for organisations in the next disruption of IT infrastructure.


You can find me on Twitter @ChrisJohnsonHP if you wish to comment...


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