Over the last decade, enterprise networking has experienced a key paradigm shift with the transition from the deployment of physical network appliances that host specific network functions to the virtualization of those network functions or Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).
NFV systems run a common x86 hardware platform that provides a single physical device that can support multiple virtual applications or Virtual Network Functions (VNFs). The interoperability of those VNFs is enabled by Distributed Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure (D-NFVI) software. D-NFVI provides a hypervisor, virtual switch, and agent to deliver hosting, orchestrating, and service
chaining of those applications or VNFs. Specifically, legacy networks have required enterprises to purchase and maintain multiple hardware appliances for various network functions, such as routers,
firewalls, WAN optimizers, or Session Boarder Controllers (SBCs). With NFV, these functions can run as software VNFs on the common x86 server, sometimes referred to as Universal Customer Premises
Equipment (uCPE). In addition to running VNFs, uCPE edge platforms can run a variety of edge applications on a single high-performance compute server. Examples of edge applications include the
Internet of Things (IoT), robot control, and video surveillance. The term virtual edge is used to define an edge x86 server running a combination of VNFs and edge applications on top of D-NFVI software.