The ETSI Zero-touch network and Service Management Group (ZSM) has launched ServoCloud, its first effort to create a reference architecture for dynamic services and a new lighter-weight approach to automating practical operations, starting with 5G network slicing. (See ETSI's Zero Touch Group Gains Support, Kickstarts Its Automation Engine and ETSI's 'Zero Touch' Group Issues Telco Automation White Paper.)
The proof of concept will be hosted by Amazon Web Services Inc. and has Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) as its service provider champions, as well as EnterpriseWeb LLC , Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX), EXFO (Nasdaq: EXFO; Toronto: EXF), Infosim, Metaswitch Networks and Fortinet Inc. as participants. Beginning with a demonstration next month, ServoCloud will focus on the practical aspects of working "across domains to eliminate siloed OSS implementations, synchronize operations and rationalize IT software systems," according to its public Wiki page.
"To do a PoC very soon is one key component of the ISG approach," says DT's Klaus Martiny, chairman of ZSM, which launched in December of last year, in an email response. "Because the belief is that we need an adaption of the way the industry delivers standards."
The idea is not to "start from scratch and create new solutions," he adds but to identify the obstacles to doing end-to-end service management on an automated basis and then either identify existing solutions -- from other standards or open source groups -- or creating new ones.
ServoCloud has an ambitious schedule, with its first demo in July, an expected first report by September, a second demo in the fall and a final or intermediate report in November. The choice of 5G network slicing as a scenario was an obvious one, says Dave Duggal, founder and managing director of EnterpriseWeb, which was also engaged in the first ETSI NFV proof of concept.
"5G showcases the zero-touch service management problem, it is almost like an archetype problem in that the slice itself has to cross all these domains," Duggal says. "Technically, I've got these network domains but now operationally I want an end-to-end [service level agreement] on this multivendor, multi-domain network service. How do I automate the enforcement of that SLA across that 5G slice?"
According to the ServoCloud project description, the PoC will show how common lifecycle and element management policies can be abstracted out of network service to eliminate domain silos and enable the end-to-end management and control across use cases. The group will both identify gaps in existing ETSI standards and develop and propose some new specifications -- including metadata and metrics -- for modeling faults, accounting, performance and security events within a ZSM framework.
Those new specs can then be used to trigger automated operations by other network elements such as a virtual network function manager or a software-defined networking controller.
Both Duggal and Martiny admit there are still details to be worked out but the roles of the players are clear. AWS will host the NFV infrastructure, in different regions to reflect different domains, Duggal says. He adds that Amdocs is providing a billing support system, EnterpriseWeb will provide a reference implementation of a ZSM framework, EXFO will provide service monitoring and assurance, Metaswitch is providing its virtualized IMS, Fortinet is providing security and InfoSim is providing resource monitoring.
In addition, Duggal says, ServoCloud will use a Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center for SDN, and a Radisys open source Evolved Packet Core (EPC).
"We think from day one, we have put together a terrific team with DT and Sprint in our corner as network operators," Duggal says.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading