By examining the right metrics/key performance indicators (KPIs), communications service providers can more effectively put advanced network virtualization technologies into action in the network, according to a new report from the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS). The report offers insight into best practices for the implementation of NFV and SDN.

Driven by the need for agile service delivery, deployment of network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) is accelerating, according to the report. These technologies are helping service providers more efficiently deploy a range of network functions and applications across cloud, mobility, enterprise, as well as core and edge network services, according to the report.

In making networks more “virtual,” service providers have many potential suppliers of NFV infrastructure components as well as virtual network functions to choose from, and have great flexibility in configuring and scaling their components for best performance. Successful NFV and SDN deployments are dependent on good supporting infrastructure, including industry-standard computing systems, storage systems, networking systems, virtualization support systems (such as hypervisors), and management systems for the virtual and physical resources.

“For the purposes of Platform Service Assurance, it’s important to distinguish between metrics and events as well as how they are measured (from a timing perspective),” ATIS points out in the report.

With so many options, service providers must ensure that their infrastructure is correctly dimensioned and that resources are matched to meet the performance requirements of the many services they are delivering, according to ATIS.

So service providers need to examine a combination of generic and specific metrics. Generic metrics are independent of a specific implementation and should be available on all implementations, according to ATIS. Conditional metrics are related to the support of a particular functional capability. So conditional metrics should be available on implementations that support the related functional capability. An example condition based on a functional capability might be whether a Layer 2 network interface function supports MPLS or not, ATIS says.

“NFV and SDN are delivering service providers an opportunity for great gains in terms of time-to-market flexibility and agility when it comes to service delivery,” said Susan Miller, ATIS president and CEO, in a prepared statement.