For communications service providers (CSPs), the journey toward network functions virtualization (NFV) will not end with virtualization. To truly benefit from this transformation, CSPs will need to automate their operations. Management and orchestration (MANO) of the virtual environment will play a key role in this automation.
MANO will allow CSPs to automate the configuration of the NFV infrastructure (NFVi), service creation and network resource optimization. When this happens, CSPs can achieve both lower opex and improved service agility.
In my recently published report, "MANO & the Future of CSP Automation," I highlight the progress that the industry has made on some of the issues raised in the early days of NFV. This report also contains information on the two leading open source MANO projects as well as updates on the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) MANO-related activity. It provides discussion of some key areas the industry continues to work through.
As NFV moves out of proofs-of-concept and into production, many in the industry are now focusing their attention on how to operationalize NFV, including MANO. Indeed, during the spring conference season, numerous vendors, open source project leaders and CSPs celebrated their triumphs and soberly described the challenges to be overcome.
CSPs are forging ahead with NFV despite a lack of standards for the MANO elements. The concerns about OpenStack as the Virtualized Infrastructure Manager (VIM) are largely resolved, with leading CSPs publicly discussing their implementations of it. Most concerns around MANO are less about architecture, and more about implementation. Open source communities such as Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) and Open Source MANO (OSM) have expanded beyond the original work of ETSI to ensure that CSPs can create and manage services across virtual and physical domains. The ETSI NFV Industry Specifications Group (ISG) is also continuing its efforts and collaborates closely with OSM.
Many in the industry are also investigating common information models that are needed to ensure the MANO elements can onboard and manage multiple vendors' virtualized network functions (VNFs) in a consistent way from a common architecture. Some CSPs and their suppliers expect that the cloud-native approach used by the hyperscale Web companies will also influence their future MANO architectures.
– Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading