What Are Virtual Network Functions (VNFs)?

Previously, proprietary hardware performed functions like routers, firewalls, load balancers, etc. In IBM Cloud, we have proprietary hardware like the FortiGate firewall that resides inside IBM Cloud data centers today. These hardware functions are packaged as virtual machine images in a VNF.

VNFs are virtualized network services that are packaged as virtual machines (VMs) on commodity hardware. It allows service providers to run their networks on standard servers instead of proprietary ones. Some of the common VNFs include virtualized routers, firewalls, load balancers, WAN optimization, security, and other edge services. In a cloud service provider like IBM, a user can spin up these VNF images in a standard virtual server instead of proprietary hardware.    

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