Some of the frequently used abbreviations that are used in this guide are listed here with their descriptions.


Network Functions Virtualization - The process of decoupling a network function from its proprietary hardware appliance and running it as a software application in a virtual machine.


A Virtual Network Function (VNF) is a collection of virtual machines interconnected with virtual links. A VNF exposes its functionality through external connection points. It is managed by a Virtual Network Function Manager (VNFM), and it can be composed into a higher-level Network Service (NS) by a Network Function Virtualization Orchestrator (NFVO).

Network Service

A Network Service is a collection of network functions: Virtual (VNF), Cloud-Native (CNF), or Physical (PNF); interconnected with virtual or physical links. It is managed by an NFVO. A network function exposes its functionality through external connection points.


A Cloud-Native Network Function (CNF) is a containerized network function that uses cloud-native principles. CNFs are designed to run inside containers. Containerization makes it possible to run services and onboard applications on the same cluster, while directing network traffic to correct pods.


Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure - Is the foundation of the overall NFV architecture. It provides the physical compute, storage, and networking hardware that hosts the VNFs. Each NFVI block can be thought of as an NFVI node and many nodes can be deployed and controlled geographically.


Management and Orchestration - Manages the resources in the infrastructure, orchestration, and life cycle operations of VNFs, CNFs, and Network Services.


Virtualized Infrastructure Manager - Is a functional block of the MANO and is responsible for controlling, managing, and monitoring the NFVI compute, storage, and network hardware, the software for the virtualization layer, and the virtualized resources. The VIM manages the allocation and release of virtual resources, and the association of virtual to physical resources, including the optimization of resources.


NFV Orchestrator - Is a central component of an NFV-based solution. It brings together different functions to make a single orchestration service that encompasses the whole framework and has a well-organized resource use.


A VNF Manager (VNFM) is responsible for the lifecycle management of Virtual Network Functions (VNF). It interacts with VIM, NFVO, and Network Function Catalog during lifecycle management operations.
Note: VNFM works with both VNFs and CNFs.


Network Function Descriptor - Is a deployment template that describes a network function deployment and operational requirement. It is used to create a network function where life-cycle management operations are performed.

Network Function Catalog

Is a functional building block within a network infrastructure. It has well-defined external interfaces and a well-defined functional behavior.

Network Services Catalog

A Network Service Catalog stores the required artifacts to create Network Services and to manage their life cycle operations. It has well-defined external interfaces and a well-defined functional behavior.


Specific VNFM. SVNFMs are tightly coupled with the VNFs they manage.


Generic VNFM.

Kubernetes Pods

Kubernetes Pods are inspired by pods found in nature (pea pods or whale pods). The Pods are groups of containers that share networking and storage resources from the same node. They are created with an API server and placed by a controller. Each Pod is assigned an IP address, and all the containers in the Pod share storage, IP address, and port space (network namespace).


Container Storage Interface. A specification designed to enable persistent storage volume management on Container Orchestrators (COs) such as Kubernetes. The specification allows storage systems to integrate with containerized workloads running on Kubernetes. Using CSI, storage providers, such as VMware, can write and deploy plug-ins for storage systems in Kubernetes without a need to modify any core Kubernetes code.


Container Network Interface. The CNI connects Pods across nodes, acting as an interface between a network namespace and a network plug-in or a network provider and a Kubernetes network.


VMware Telco Cloud Automation Control Plane. Previously known as VMware HCX for Telco Cloud.