Management and service assurance capabilities are key to the success of the software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) movements, but not enough attention has been paid to these aspects, according to Heavy Reading analyst Ari Banerjee, who underscored that point this afternoon on a Service Provider IT Report radio show, "Service Fulfillment for the SDN/NFV Era."
What network operators most need to know is how to manage and assure quality of customer experience over evolving SDN/NFV environments, Banerjee said, because customers won't care whether operators are using traditional infrastructure or new "bare metal" components, just so long as it all works.
"If the customer experience is hampered, then all of this falls apart," he said. "Management technology is the building block which will either make these kinds of initiatives succeed or fail."
Are the TM Forum and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV Industry Specifications Group listening?
Both TMF and the ETSI group have made great strides in pursuing standardization and common practices around SDN/NFV. The TMF in fact just announced that several of its current Catalyst projects are NFV-related, and at least a couple of those have been accepted as proof of concept projects by ETSI's NFV ISG, which has included a Management and Network Orchestration layer in its architecture. But, Banerjee feels service assurance and QoE need more focused attention. (See NFV Takes Center Stage for TM Forum.)
"Today's specs talk a bit about SLAs and QoE vaguely," Banerjee added in a live text chat that followed the radio show. "More concrete measurement parameters are needed."
Though the TMF and ETSI NFV ISG have ongoing conversations on SDN/NFV, the assessment of Banarjee and at least a couple audience members was that more could be done to make sure management is adequately addressed in the short term. Could a hybrid group designed to address management and service assurance details be part of the answer? CloudNFV , a consortium of vendors, emerged last year to address MANO (Management and Orchestration) issues in particular, but maybe conversations between the TMF and ETSI need to move to a more formalized level. (See Answering the NFV Management Challenge.)
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading