New Group Ties NFV to the Cloud
It's time to update your scorecard tracking the industry groups engaged in virtualization efforts for carrier networks. A new group, CloudNFV, tiptoed out of stealth mode this week, nudged along by early press coverage, but ready nonetheless to make some bold statements about how Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) must be developed as a cloud service.
The father of CloudNFV and, thus far, its public spokesman, is longtime industry analyst and software guru Tom Nolle of CIMI Corp. He says the impetus for the new group is the belief that, rather than design NFV to run on anything from "bare metal servers" to the cloud, the industry should move immediately to a cloud-based implementation, and that a prototype should be developed as quickly as possible to become a guide for implementation. Nolle explains his early thinking in this blog.
"We believe it is simple and more effective to run OpenStack on top of any server environment and create a private cloud environment for NFV," Nolle tells Light Reading.
At this point, CloudNFV consists of six vendors who share Nolle's thinking about NFV deployment, but network service providers are taking notice, in part because this approach guarantees them a critical advantage against over-the-top (OTT) service providers, Nolle says.
"We have built a platform that doesn't distinguish between the functions that make up a service and the components that make up an application," he explains. "So you can combine things that are typically thought of as applications components, like calendars, naturally and easily with things that are typically considered communications components."
That will enable some long-sought but never achieved benefits of Unified Communications to actually reach commercialization, Nolle says. It's not accidental that CloudNFV's first project is a cloud-based implementation of IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), the architecture designed to support converged services and enable network functions to be broken into reusable modular segments.
CloudNFV will go one step further in taking TM Forum-oriented operations processes and melding them into cloud deployment strategies that enable network management and Operations and Support System (OSS) functions to be engaged as well. Most likely there will be a software layer created that sits between the existing OSS/Business Support Systems, although Nolle says the data models for CloudNFV will include specs that would enable non-standard systems to be connected with simple Java apps.
Because service providers know how to enable apps that surpass Internet best-effort standards and run well enough "to make someone want to pay for it," Nolle comments, they can leverage a cloud-based deployment of converged capabilities that exceeds what a mere OTT player can accomplish.
CloudNFV will be ready for selective beta-style demos within the next six weeks, Nolle says, and ready for a public demo "no later than mid-October." The vendor partners are not yet public but will be shortly, he promises.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading