The NFV learning path

Many people ask me the general query - How can they learn NFV or Telco Cloud just like they can learn other cloud technologies? Well, there is no straight answer to this question. To understand why please understand this analogy -

If you ask me what is the learning path of the OSI communication model? Then, my answer would be - It depends on how the organizations are implementing/realizing the OSI model in their systems. Confused?

See below diagram (The OSI layers & possible options to realize those layers)

For ex- The physical layer can be realized by using a Telephone line, Copper cable, Ethernet CAT5, or an optical fiber.

Network layer can be realized using a router but again - You have so many routing technologies & vendors available in the market like Cisco, Juniper, HP, etc

So, you see in the above examples that the OSI model remained the same but its realization is different based on the needs & availability in the market.

Therefore you have to learn the technologies in bits & pieces & you have to fit yourself as per the need of the organization. You cannot learn everything & So, you end up making yourself either a good fit or a bad fit depending on the technologies used by your organization.

Similar is the case with Network Function Virtualization (NFV). It is a framework/model to realize a Telco cloud.

See below diagram (The NFV layers & possible options to realize those layers)

Exactly similar to the OSI, you have multiple options at every layer in NFV also.

For ex- CMS (Cloud management system) can either be OpenStack or VMware. Container management can be done by Docker swarm or Kubernetes.

So again, you have to learn the technologies in bits & pieces & you have to fit yourself as per the need of the organization.

One more point to note here is - The study material or resources of NFV are only available for the bottom layer i.e. the NFV-i . The other 2 layers are totally closed i.e. these are almost proprietary solutions of respective vendors which you cannot learn unless you’re working on that product.

The most demanding skills in NFVi are Linux, IP networks & OpenStack. Another addition is Kubernetes which is gaining momentum slowly because of the use of containers along with virtual machines. You have enough study material available on the internet to learn & practice these skills & then you need to apply all your energy to get an entry into an organization to gain experience.

I will publish a list of various learning resources in my upcoming articles. To know more about shifting your career to Telco cloud please refer to [one of my earlier articles here]

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