& cplSiteName &

Answering the NFV Management Challenge

Carol Wilson
LR Mobile News Analysis
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large

Amidst all the hype around software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV), three realities have emerged: First, these two technologies are essential to the future success of telecom networks, because they hold the best hope of reducing costs and adding new revenue-generating services. Second, the changes they represent are profound, touching every part of the network, and so they won't happen quickly.

The third reality follows on from those first two and may be the most important: Telecom service providers have no choice about adopting SDN and NFV, so they'd better be about the business of doing that now.

Major network operators clearly are aware of these realities and are pressing both their vendors and their associations to be moving ahead with greater speed than usual in making plans for this transition. Vendors report this activity, without naming names, and the service providers themselves are publicly talking about the urgency of this action.

So after all our talk of the challenges of NFV and SDN deployment, we're going to focus on the solutions, and there are quite a few. This article will focus on CloudNFV's efforts, with the next stage being a look at the vendor-specific projects. CloudNFV is a group of vendors that came together around the thinking that virtualizing functions is not enough -- it is essential that service providers move to a private cloud environment for managing the widely distributed functions of an true NFV deployment. (See New Group Ties NFV to the Cloud and NFV in the Cloud: It's Complicated.)

As industry analyst Tom Nolle, the godfather of CloudNFV, explains in his recent CIMI Corp. blog, the organization has a different take on the Management and Orchestration (MANO) layer of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV group and has created a set of proof of concept proposals for that organization as well. The first of those is being delivered this month.

CloudNFV is trying to look at both management and orchestration as applications that can run off a unified data model that is very agile, Nolle says. While using a single data model for simplicity's sake, the organization describes the data model in two levels -- Active Contract and Active Resource.

"Active Contract is the portion of the data model that relates to service orders, service templates that you would create an order from, and a description of components -- in other words, it is kind of the service side of the picture," Nolle explains. "Active resource represents a data model that describes the state of the infrastructure."

In this model, the NFV's MANO function is an app that connects Active Contract to Active Resource, he adds.

"We call the management process derived operations, because when we describe how a service is created from virtual components, we also describe how management of a given set of components is derived from Active Resource, with what we call a visualizer," Nolle says.

So if a Virtual Private Network service uses a combination of real network resources -- a router, for example -- and functions that have been virtualized, such as a firewall or a load balancer, service assurance and status reports on that service are delivered from a combination of the real network management of the router and the visualizers for the virtual functions.

That is, of course, a very simplified explanation of a more complex problem, but it begins to show how CloudNFV sees the transition to fully virtualized network services. There is a visualizer application that corresponds to the virtualized function and can derive its status and describe it using the existing notions of customer-facing services and resource-facing services as described by the TM Forum's Frameworx and therefore modeled into a TMForum-compliant Operations and Support Systems/Business Support Systems process -- if that's the choice the service provider makes, says Nolle.

"One of the problems is that there isn't agreement, even within the service providers, as to whether they should integrate into their existing OSS/BSS systems or try to do something totally different," Nolle says. He describes conversations with executives from the same company whose views on handling legacy support systems are 180 degrees apart.

The CloudNFV approach finds something of a middle ground, where virtualized things are managed in a more virtual way but existing network resources and existing operations can still function as they have, where that makes sense, without being blown up in the process. The worst-case scenario, Nolle adds, would be to force old management techniques onto new virtualized functions and the new services they support.

"This is what I mean when I talk about selling virtualization short," he says. "You limit the power of virtualization by replicating the old process, by managing things as if they are real."

There is much more detail about how CloudNFV will do this on its website and much more detail to come this fall, when the participating vendors will go public and the first demo, an IMS deployment, will be publicly staged.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Bulb
8/14/2013 | 10:39:58 PM
re: Answering the NFV Management Challenge
In the area of accommodating SDN in Service Provider IT or O/BSS, I think the disconnect between the executives maybe the perspective of SDN and payload (involvement in revenue generating products). I see three areas for SPIT, two in O/BSS the 3rd inside it's own operations. Obviously, it will be easy for SPIT departments to adopt SDN into it's internal operations. I think that experience will help the other two areas be fleshed out for each provider.

1) When SDN/NFV can provide a host for managed services products inside the Service Provider. MPLS look like a non-product for a while until TSPs started managing the label switch. Now, MPLS is migrating to Service Provider hosted networks 2) When the internal datacenter, Cloud, Co-lo centers adopt SDN. In both instances if the the two products are adopted the O/BSS development will need to be addressed.

I tried to rent space inside of RackSpace for my servers, racks and thus applications. I could not. I could be a tenant in their deployment. Makes sense for many and for RackSpace. Similarly for Verizon, AT&T, Sprint etc....
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
VMWare VP Brings Women Up With Her

8|16|17   |   6:49   |   (1) comment

It's an art and a science to make mentorship, inclusive leadership, diversity and promotion of high-potential women work, says Honore' LaBourdette, vice president of Global Market Development at VMWare.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Spectrum Wars – The Recap

8|15|17   |   2:22   |   (0) comments

Service provider 3 has filed a lawsuit against Ofcom over 5G spectrum auction in the UK.
LRTV Custom TV
Say What? Facebook Unleashes AI Anarchy – The Recap

8|7|17   |     |   (0) comments

A recap of the week's talking points on Light Reading's sister site, telecoms.com. Facebook AI programmers had a bit of a brain-fade as they allowed one of its AI applications to invent its ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu's Women Band Together to Help Girls Do STEM

8|2|17   |   9:35   |   (1) comment

Supporting women both inside and outside of Fujitsu is a top priority of the telecom vendor. Yanbing Li, Fujitsu Network Communication's director of System Software Development & Delivery, shares why it's important, but why there's still a long road ahead.
LRTV Custom TV
If You're Not First, You're Last – The Recap

7|31|17   |   08:18   |   (1) comment

In case you missed it, Amazon's 1% stock increase helped Jeff Bezos dethrone Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Also, Taiwanese electronics manufacturer
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (10) comments

AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment

Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment

At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments

Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments

When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments

Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments

Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Intel CEO Leaves Trump Biz Advisory Board
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/15/2017
Are Cord-Cutting's Days Numbered?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 8/14/2017
Orchestration Startup UBiqube Pivots Away From NFV
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/15/2017
Verizon Video Woes Pile On
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/14/2017
WiCipedia: Dolly Babes, Manifesto Backlash & 'Brotastic' Failures
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 8/18/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Animals with Phones
We Know a Tough Day When We See One Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.