Communication Service Provider (CSP) networks use a variety of proprietary appliances for network function when delivering services. Therefore, deploying a new network function often requires new hardware components. Integrating new equipment into the network requires space, power and the technical knowledge to deploy and operate the new network function. This problem is compounded by function and technology lifecycles which are becoming shorter as innovation accelerates in an increasingly network-centric connected world.
The concept of virtualization is well-known and has been used for many years, including operating system virtualization (Virtual Machines) ; computational and application resource virtualization (Cloud Computing) ; link and node virtualization (Virtual Network Topologies) ; and data center virtualization (Virtual Data Center) .
Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is a new industry initiative  and aims to leverage existing virtualization concepts to consolidate function-specific network equipment onto standard high volume servers , switches and storage, which could be located in network nodes, data centers or at enterprise customer sites.