Masergy CEO: How NFV Will Win The Enterprise

Masergy Communications CEO Chris MacFarland
Masergy Communications CEO Chris MacFarland

Network Function Virtualization and Software-Defined Networking capabilities are redefining the network landscape as we know it today, says Chris MacFarland, CEO of the managed networking and cloud provider Masergy Communications.

Solution providers need to realize the benefits of NFV and SDN, such as reduced cost and complexity, and begin adopting it or risk losing market share, said MacFarland. According to an Infonetics report, the global carrier SDN and NFV markets will grow to more than $11 billion in 2018, up from less than $500 million in 2013.

In February, Plano, Texas-based Masergy launched a cloud-based routing service, Cloud Router, targeted at enterprise customers with small branch offices to allow greater control through SDN.

MacFarland tells CRN about the benefits of NFV in the enterprise and where VARs and solutions providers can make money on NFV.

What are some key benefits of NFV in the enterprise?

NFV increases speed of deployment and reduces cost, complexity and personnel requirements.

It allows service providers and integrators to deliver carrier-grade network services and applications without having to maintain costly legacy systems. I imagine that we'll see existing service providers migrating to this model as well as new entrants to the market who are not encumbered by the way things have been done in the past, offering innovative new approaches to networking.

It also introduces scalability, so that integrators can help customers spin up new resources or turn them off depending on their business and processing requirements.

Software-controlled services can be created, replicated and distributed throughout the customer organization in a matter of minute or hours. If you've ever tried to ship hardware to remote parts of the globe, you'll understand the time consuming nature of getting things through customs departments. With a software implementation, that time wasting activity is eliminated. You can deliver software over your private network to a customer facility in Jakarta or Beijing for instance, in a matter of moments. You can also update the software, change network configurations, update routing tables, and add new network nodes from a central administrative console without having to send a technician to the remote facility.

What are the benefits for VARs/solution providers in NFV and how can they make money?

Traditionally VARs have sold these solutions as premise-based devices. By utilizing NFV they can shift their revenues to software sales, eliminating the need for physical inventory, shipping and installation costs.

NFV will make system integrators more agile in their ability to generate new functions, services and applications in response to customers' business needs. It will enable them to test and deploy services more rapidly to create revenue-generating customer solutions. NFV removes many of the traditional CAPEX and OPEX costs associated with selling, shipping, installing and maintaining monolithic, legacy hardware solutions.