Virtualization was a minor topic at last May's TM Forum Management World in Nice, France. Software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) took a back seat to the forum's digital services initiative.
This week in San Jose, however, the management challenges around SDN/NFV are likely to be front and center at Digital Disruption, the forum's newly renamed Americas event.
In fact, we should get a much clearer view this week of the extent to which the TM Forum is stepping up to tackle the issues around the management and network orchestration (MANO) layer of NFV. We should also get some clues on the way big data analytics will connect with SDN to make networks more responsive to real-time challenges such as congestion.
Intriguingly, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) 's NFV Industry Specification Group is meeting just a few stops up the Caltrain line in Sunnyvale to show the progress of its work. (See: A Big Week for NFV.)
The TM Forum's engagement with NFV/SDN isn't so obvious in the 2013 TM Forum Case Study Handbook (registration required), the annual look at real-world deployments of its Frameworx suite of standards-based tools and best-practices that is showcased at this fall event. But that's not too surprising. Case studies are based on real-world deployments, and SDN/NFV won't be real-world for a while. The virtualization twins are expected to be major topics of discussion here, and that will include how Frameworx and its Information Framework, also known as the SID, may play a role.
Backers of some specific efforts to address the MANO layer, such as the CloudNFV initiative, say they are building on SID basics in developing their approach. Nik Willetts, chief strategy officer of the forum, has indicated in previous interviews that his organization is interviewing CTOs and CIOs to develop a practical plan for supporting NFV; it is looking at a two- to three-year horizon for deployment.
Some industry experts, such as Heavy Reading senior analyst Caroline Chappell, have said the SID will need augmentation before it can support virtualization and cloud services. (See: NFV in the Cloud: It's Complicated).
One of the things I'm on the hunt for at Digital Disruption is clear signs of what's on the TM Forum roadmap in support of virtualization. As my colleague, Sarah Reedy, noted last Friday, we heard from the forum's brain trust on other key issues (namely big data) in last week's Live Chat, and I think we will be hearing much more on NFV/SDN in San Jose. (See: Big Data, Sans Hype .)
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading