Network functions virtualization (NFV) will be front and center at this summer's TM Forum Live, formerly known as Management World. As many of six of the event's 13 Catalyst projects incorporate some aspect of NFV, according to preliminary project selection. (See TM Forum Renames Annual Event.)
That's a far cry from 2013 Management World in Nice, France, where NFV was a minor consideration. The dramatic change likely reflects the growing realization that NFV and its virtualization twin, software-defined networking, will have a significant impact on network operations and billing support systems.
Catalyst projects are short-term collaborations among TM Forum members, sponsored by service providers and including hardware/software vendors (and sometimes enterprises), to tackle real-world problems. The projects result in demonstrations at the Nice event.
Ken Dilbeck, vice president of strategic programs for the forum, told us the Catalyst list is still tentative at this point, but he believes all six of the projects preliminarily accepted will be in Nice, unless there are issues with the named participants. At least two of those projects have also been accepted as proofs of concept by the ETSI NFV Industry Specifications Group, which pioneered the NFV effort.
One of the accepted proposals came from CloudNFV . The project, sponsored by Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), will model a network management and orchestration solution that will show how a single model can orchestrate southbound (to control infrastructure) and northbound (to manage the OSS-BSS process) and make it event-driven, said Tom Nolle, an industry analyst, president of CIMI, and chief architect of CloudNFV.
The CloudNFV group was also invited to make a presentation at an NFV workshop just prior to TM Forum's Action Week Feb. 10-14 in Madrid.
The CloudNFV idea is to show operators how to build services by combining virtual functions and traditional networks and managing those through OSS/BSS management systems, totally new management systems, or a combination of the two, Nolle said. The group essentially straddles the ETSI NFV ISG, which doesn't reach into overall network management, and TM Forum, which doesn't address deployment of virtual network functions.
Dilbeck said TM Forum's ultimate goal is to help network operators manage the transition from traditional OSS/BSS systems to more flexible network operations that incorporate and take advantage of virtualization. The group is working with the ETSI NFV ISG in an informal way and is encouraging all its Catalyst project organizers to pursue proof-of-concept status with that organization.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading