The introduction of virtualised network functions (VNFs) on common IT-based infrastructures in large-scale communications networks is proving to be a network operations game changer. Once restricted by proprietary network equipment, virtualisation is driving evolution from a traditional business operations approach to an architecture designed for what customers want to buy.

The evolution is well under way and will support business goals more effectively. A new PlanScape report from International Data Corporation (IDC) outlines the IT operations architecture transition to virtualised networks and the opportunities it represents.

“The business experience and benefits derived from virtualised server infrastructure are key to this network transition,” says Elisabeth Rainge, vice-president: communications service provider operations at IDC.

“Networking functions require a complex set of algorithms for sub-millisecond decisions and response times. However, the engine for making many of those decisions and executing them on the network is shifting from proprietary network processor hardware to the compute platform that IT operations teams have been working on for many years.”

The new IDC PlanScape offers a decision-making tool to help IT professionals plan the evolution of the IT operations architecture to virtualised networks. It helps to assure business value from technology by establishing a business case, identifying risk factors, and outlining critical success factors.

Additional insights from the IDC PlanScape include:

* Network virtualisation drives the urgency for change because it opens up software levers in the infrastructure that benefit customers, partners, and internal teams.

* Network virtualisation is creating new relationships among business, infrastructure, and operations teams across many companies.

* Networking equipment has already begun to migrate to commercial server platforms.