Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is a new technology that is based on Software Defined Networking (SDN) and started getting popular with the SDN installations in data-centers. As the SDN technology and moves to the other end of the connectivity, i.e. the office WAN, NFV load balancer is becoming a critical component of the network strategies of enterprises.
First let’s address the question what NFV load balancer means: NFV load balancer is the sofware nudget that can loaded onto a physical or virtual router that can provide WAN load balancing capabilities for the WAN links of an enterprise network. The software defined nature of a NFV load balancer means that the ability of the load-balancing algorithms can be quite advanced (mostly based on packet level broadband bonding approaches), that can literally spread (load balance) even a single session over 2 or more WAN links. Usually NFV load balancers are implemented on layer 4 or higher (in terms of the OSI stack), which means, they have the ability to be implemented across different service providers (i.e. one of the 2 WANs can be a provider A and the other one can be a different provider B) without requiring any coordination with the service provider. The overlay architecture of the NFV load balancer also means that the bonding tunnel is capable of shield network problems from the higher layers including the application layer. In other words, if during a file transfer, or a remote desktop session, if one of the WAN links goes into problem state, that problem can be routed around by the NFV load balancer, provided the software defined algorithms are sophisticated enough to do this automatically.
NFV load balancers should also work with standard routing so that you can inject it in your network, say between the WAN modems and your firewall/router seamlessly. With Mushroom Networks nomenclature we call this “passthrough mode” whereby the existing firewall/router and the modems don’t need any modifications and the NFV load balancer can be injected into the network to manage the overlay bonding tunnel. In some cases, that tunnel could be the legacy VPN connection that connects the office to the cloud.
Cahit Akin, CEO, Mushroom Networks, Inc.
Mushroom Networks is the provider of SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) and NFV solutions capable of Broadband Bonding that enables self-healing WAN networks that route around network problems such as latency, jitter and packet loss.