April 23, 2015
NFV migration will require a change in the testing of network functions. Software testers will be required to have more of a focus around an expertise in virtual networking, coding and technical skills.
The advent of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) will induce a dramatic change from legacy systems and clunky hardware, as virtualization, or the act of creating something virtual rather than “real” version of something, overtakes the technology world. This need for virtualization has resulted from the desire to reduce environmental footprints, reduction of custom hardware appliances for each network function, and eventually lower cost output.
This change to NFV will also require a change in the software testing practices of network functions. Software testers will be required to have more of a focus around an expertise in virtual networking, coding and technical skills. Automated testing will be more of a requirement in order to account for the layers of virtual machines running different software and processes, on top of high volume servers, switches and storage, and even cloud computing infrastructure.
This change in the requirements of software testers will necessitate the need for a “skills pivot”. Basically, testers will have to adjust to not being able to physically touch network equipment, and instead learn to focus more on software instead of hardware. A cultural shift will occur in organizations, as the hardware teams become phased out, and the software teams learn how to understand these new technologies and the speed at which they must be deployed.
A uniform, end-to-end approach to service assurance and network performance will be required from organizations. An emphasis on DevOps, and collaboration amongst the development, production and testing departments should be encouraged in order to incite comprehensive NFV testing.