Networking used to be all about specialized “boxes,” but that era is fading fast.
By a specialized box, I mean a piece of hardware that was built to perform an individual function. Physical firewalls, routers, servers, load balancers, etc., are all examples of these different boxes, and they are still everywhere. But new technology is seriously disrupting the old ways of doing things.
Virtualization has made it possible to separate the software functionality of all those boxes from the specific appliance-type hardware in which it resides. Network functions virtualization (NFV) software can replicate an appliance’s function in a more cost-effective commodity server, which is easy to obtain and deploy and can hold the software for numerous functions at once. People like the improved simplicity, cost, agility and speed that comes with this change.