Virtualized testing keeps pace with NFV cost savings: Page 4 of 4

January 28, 2015 // By Steve Jarman, Spirent Communications
The growth in IP traffic presents both an opportunity and a challenge for network operators – revenues continue to grow, but are being overtaken by the costs of handling the growth in traffic.
A White Paper Testing Methodologies for Validating NFV Environments is available from the Spirent website that gives more examples of testing using virtual appliances – these include VM migration and stability testing. The paper is available at:


Network operators are looking for effective ways to scale their services while keeping down costs to maintain revenue growth. NFV has emerged as a promising solution, enabling service providers to deploy large numbers of virtualized network functions on industry-standard high-performance servers. As well as cutting both operational and capital expenditure, operators benefit from shortened time to market. Other advantages for the industry include the growth in independent software vendors, and easier development and deployment of new revenue-generating features.

In theory, virtualised network functions perform exactly as their physical counterparts. In practice such complex systems always require thorough testing under simulated but realistic operating conditions to eliminate unexpected phenomena arising out of complexity. So NFV functions and infrastructure must be stringently tested in the lab before turn up of services, in order to minimize network outages in the final network. It is also necessary to monitor performance on an on-going basis to ensure continued good service.

With the massive scaling of today’s networks, testing at this level could add considerable cost – although, of course, the long-term cost of not testing might be far greater. The use of virtual test appliances, however, greatly reduces this overhead, both in terms of capital outlay and labour. This approach is recommended for all but the most critical functions, where a certain proportion of physical testing would still be recommended.

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