Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Migration Challenges

A top challenge for service providers is transitioning network devices to software functions. A recent survey shows top issues are software maturity and performance, integration with existing network infrastructure, and lack of software experts.

Ixia’s NFV test solution helps carriers significantly boost the performance of virtualized functions. Our test tools and automated methodologies validate and quantify the deterministic behavior of NFV ecosystems throughout the VNF service lifecycle.

NVF Migration Challenges
Virtual Network Function (VNF) Benchmarking

NFV Benchmarking

The first step of NFV migration is to characterize the performance bottleneck and scaling limit of VNFs within the confined compute/network/storage environment. This can be achieved by testing VNFs with Ixia traffic and service emulators.

To fully quantify VNF performance, the test system must be physically connected to both the network interface card (NIC) and the VNF compute environment. VNF behavior can be measured while under traffic load conditions and then compared to the VNF behavior with other NFV implementations under the exact same conditions. This provides a comprehensive view for making informed decisions about the VNF and the underlying infrastructure.

Ixia Solutions

Virtual testers: IxNetwork VE, IxLoad VE, BreakingPoint VE
Physical testers: IxNetwork, IxLoad, BreakingPoint

Onboarding and Lifecycle Management


By integrating with automated test cases to validate package contents and functionality, new VNFs can be instantiated, scaled, and updated throughout the network service lifecycle. How can service providers integrate test cases with the CI/CD pipeline and monitor the efficiency of lifecycle management? 

Ixia’s service emulation with data-model-driven API provides the toolsets for seamless integration. Furthermore, Ixia’s professional services and partnership with top lifecycle management platforms simplify tasks and reduce time to market.

Ixia Solutions

IxLoad VE
Breaking Point VE 
Professional Services

Lifecycle management
Service Chain Validation



Throughout the network service lifecycle, new VNFs can be instantiated, chained, and scale up/down based on customer demand. Service providers must ensure the provisioned VNFs are chained properly and placed most efficiently for best performance. 

Ixia’s test solution can validate services provisioning and characterize performance and scale throughout the network service lifecycle.

Ixia Solutions

IxLoad VE
Breaking Point VE 

Edge Computing

To support services like connected cars, IoT, and augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), service providers are extending NFVI to the edge of the network—reducing latency and mitigating unreliable low-bandwidth connections. Validating the improvement in latency/performance and optimizing the distribution of resources between edge and central data centers is a critical component. 

Ixia’s unique tool sets can evaluate performance prior to deployment and during operation. Network emulators can further simulate the distance between edge and core data centers—crucial to mimicking realistic placement.

Ixia Solutions

IxLoad VE
Breaking Point VE 
Network Emulators


Ixia SDN/NFV Product Blueprint

Comprehensive test coverage for the future of networking




ETSI hosted its third NFV Plugtest for its NFV ISG work, with the added bonus of it being co-located with the OPNFV Fraser release Plugfest. While there has always been collaboration between the two communities, and a growing number of supporting open source communities actively involved in Plugtests, the event co-location provided additional opportunities for cross-community synergies. It also led to the creation of a new benchmarking initiative involving ETSI NFV, OPNFV, and Open Source MANO (OSM).

Featuring Pierre Lynch, Lead Technologist, Keysight Technologies

Filmed at: OpenStack Summit, Berlin, November 2018