Cloud native network functions (CNFs) are the next evolutionary step of how network functions are instantiated. CNFs provide increased flexibility, scalability, reliability, and portability for applications versus virtual network functions (VNFs). CNFs push up the efficiency and agility to offer new features and services and push down the complexity and costs of implementation and ongoing management.

Cloud Native Solutions

CNFs are based on the use of containers rather than virtual machines (VMs).  Containers allow the packaging of software (eg. applications, functions, or microservices) with all of the files necessary to run it—while sharing access to the operating system and other server resources.

A key aspect of the implementation of CNFs is the role of automation for the development, deployment, operation, and  reliability of application workloads.  Automation optimizes handling of dynamic demand, accelerates deployments, reduces complexity, shortens software upgrade cycles with less errors, and takes advantage of tools matured in open source communities.

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The evolution to Cloud-Native Network Functions