In a recent poll*, more than 41% of respondents rated their current level of visibility into NFV as being 'Poor' or 'Very Poor'. On the other hand, 43% of respondents thought it was Good, while another 16% thought it was 'Very Good' or 'Excellent'.
These results reflect NFV’s incomplete evolution with respect to critical operational aspects such as monitoring and troubleshooting. This is not surprising as the initial focus for NFV has been on deploying solutions “that work” vs. managing the performance of a production environment. This issue has been highlighted by many Service Assurance vendors in recent white papers and newspaper articles. Not surprisingly, answers to our survey question form a classic adoption curve, skewed by Late Majority adopters and Laggards (those reporting Poor and Very poor visibility).
So, to answer the question from the title, we are not there yet, but we are making progress. The good news is that open solutions (i.e. not tied to any specific vendor system),
such as virtual probes that analyze traffic flows, are being brought to market to address specific NFV-related visibility issues.
In a related question, the audience was asked to indicate who they expect to supply NFV monitoring solutions. Although no supplier category won a majority of votes, results show that NFV infrastructure vendors seem to have an advantage. This reflects a market where visibility, be it for monitoring, service assurance, etc., is still seen as the responsibility of infrastructure vendors. Here again, traffic flow analysis technology inside the vendor solution (such as a virtual probe), is well adapted to address this need.
From these two sets of answers, we could also conclude that visibility is perceived as satisfactory because current deployments cover relatively small-scale environments with solutions from a limited number of vendors. It will be interesting to see if these perceptions change over time as NFV deployments increase and cover more services.
* Poll conducted by Light Reading during a Qosmos-Intel sponsored webinar on NFV Monitoring in March 2017. Number of respondents = 63 and 62.