Mirantis, the pure-play OpenStack company, has partnered with Citrix, Metaswitch Networks and Overture Networks to launch a network function virtualization (NFV) initiative.\n\nThe company said that the initiative will "unlock communications companies from expensive proprietary hardware, enabling them to launch new services with greater velocity and lower cost." Mirantis will also be adding NFV features to its carrier-grade OpenStack distribution.\n\nNFV is yet another example of the increasing popularity of software-based solutions for IT infrastructure that lower the cost and accelerate scalability as they remove the limitations of hardware.\n\n\u201cThe telecommunications industry is in the midst of a massive transformation. It faces a ballooning customer base consuming massive amounts of data, and competition from a new wave of startups born out of the Web,\u201d said Mirantis VP of Product and Partner Marketing, Kamesh Pammaraju. \u201cThese companies must innovate their networking to be agile, scalable and cost effective. The best way to do this is through NFV, which is why NFV investments will reach nearly $21 billion by 2020.\u201d\n\nWhat's NFV? According to SDX Central:\nNetwork functions virtualization (NFV) (also known as virtual network function (VNF)) offers a new way to design, deploy and manage networking services. NFV decouples the network functions, such as network address translation (NAT), firewalling, intrusion detection, domain name service (DNS), and caching, to name a few, from proprietary hardware appliances so they can run in software.\nMirantis said in a press release, "NFV allows carriers to virtualize network functions by running them as software instances on any hardware platform anywhere within their networks. Mirantis has been implementing NFV projects with telecommunications customers since the technology\u2019s inception and will offer an NFV reference architecture and OpenStack certification program for partner virtual network functions (VNFs). "\n\nThe Linux Foundation also started a collaborative project called OPNFV or Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) to accelerate NFV's evolution through an integrated, open platform.\n\nHeather Kirksey, director, OPNFV said, "Telecommunications companies are increasingly drawn to NFV because it frees them from expensive proprietary hardware platforms, reduces operational expenses, and facilitates the launch of new applications and services quickly. Developers can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time delivering innovative applications and services to consumers.\u201d\n\nUnder the initiative Mirantis will offer a whitepaper and a deployment guide for customers looking to deploy NFV solutions on OpenStack, and Mirantis OpenStack validation for partner VNF solutions under the Unlocked Technology Partner Program.