Network functions virtualization might arguably be the hottest trend in the industry right now, but that doesn't mean that everything NFV touches turns to gold – just ask the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) .
In November 2015 the industry organization, which represents vendors, announced its intention to set up and run an NFV lab where the industry could "demonstrate, market and sell NFV and Software Defined Networking (SDN) solutions." The lab, said the TIA, would be "launched in early 2016" and provide a "vendor-agnostic, open environment" for the testing of "product capabilities and interoperable features."
But there have been no further announcements during the past seven months and, according to industry sources close to the TIA, the NFV lab initiative has failed to attract industry support and has been shelved. Several industry executives told Light Reading that outreach and information about the lab had dried up and one industry executive, speaking to Light Reading on condition of anonymity, said the proposal was too similar to existing NFV interoperability initiatives that were already underway.
That reference is undoubtedly to The New IP Agency , the not-for-profit industry body that began its engagement with the NFV community in the middle of last year: The NIA has already completed and reported on several independent NFV evaluations and interop tests that have met with broad industry approval. (See EXCLUSIVE! NFV Interop Evaluation Results, Deep Dive Into the NIA's NFV Interop Test, Pics: Crowds Flood NIA Demos at BCE, Lucky 13 Sign Up for NIA's Next Interop and DT Has High Hopes for the NIA.)
(Disclosure: Light Reading helped to launch the NIA and continues to be affiliated to the association.)
Light Reading called and emailed the TIA's CTO, Franklin Flint, who joined in April 2015 from Dell and who is the lead TIA executive linked to the NFV lab and received this response by email: "TIA is committed to advancing NFV solutions on behalf of the ICT industry. We have shifted our current focus in response to overwhelming interest from our membership to address concerns about NFV security. TIA has formed an NFV Security Working Group, which is analyzing the issues and developing industry-lead solutions to mitigate the concerns buyers have with NFV technologies."
That would appear to be confirmation that the NFV lab idea has been shelved, though a further question seeking absolute clarification on that issue has not yet yielded a response.
There's no doubt, though, that there's a strong need and demand for NFV interoperability and capability testing from all corners of the virtualization community. More than 20 vendors have signed up to join the NIA and participate in independent evaluations, supported by a growing number of network operator members: Just recently Orange Business Services and Laser Light Communications have become members of the agency. (See Optical Satellite SDN Service Provider Laser Light Joins NIA, BCE 2016: How NIA Can Help With NFV, NIA Replacing 'Old Standards Bodies,' Says Cisco and Colt Exec Joins NIA Board.)
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading