BARCELONA -- A new ETSI-based open source community, launched this week, is demonstrating its model-based approach to management and orchestration for NFV here at Mobile World Congress, hoping to build consensus and speed practical deployment of virtualization by solving its most persistent problem.
The global Open Source MANO (OSM) group builds on Telefónica 's OpenMANO Project and, in addition to the Spanish giant, was initially founded by service providers BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; Vienna: TKA) and Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) with support from vendors Canonical, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Mirantis Inc. and RIFT.io . (See ETSI Launches Open Source Mano Group.)
It's actually one of two new communities expected to launch in Barcelona, both addressing the thorny challenge of how to manage hybrid virtual and physical networks in a seamless and automated fashion. (See Split Emerges in Open Source MANO Efforts.)
OSM's stated goal is to deliver a production-quality open source MANO stack and it is demonstrating initial OSM code base in Barcelona that is already able to orchestrate complex NFV use cases for an end-to-end service, using common information models that are vendor-neutral, in support of multiple virtual network functions. This initial software "seed code" integrates existing open source modules from Telefónica's OpenMANO project, Canonical's Juju generic VNF manager and RIFT.io's orchestrator.
The goal of this demonstration is to "make clear what is already possible -- show what can be done," Francisco-Javier Ramon Salguero, head of network virtualization for Telefónica, tells Light Reading. By using a common information model (CIM), OSM intends to make it easier for both service providers and equipment vendors to know how the different pieces of the ecosystem need to be built to run effectively together and work in any CSP's network
The demo covers a set of operator-chosen use cases and, using the seed code and commercial VNFs, will show such capabilities as layering, abstraction, modularity and simplicity, according to the OSM announcement. Among the capabilities to be demonstrated are end-to-end automation and multiple VIMs -- using both OpenStack and OpenVIM -- in support of multi-tenant and single-tenant VNFs. The demonstration will show resource orchestration through several VNFs, deployed on multiple sites and using different VIMs, as well as supporting different Enhanced Platform Awareness solutions. The initial OSM implementation will be used to build a virtual private network across multiple router sites and then chain value-added services as well, without requiring special integration work.
OSM is building on extensive experience of some pioneering operators, notes Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell, practice leader, Cloud and NFV.
"BT and Telefónica have shown strong industry leadership in thinking through many of the challenges associated with the NFV MANO," she comments. "I'm confident that this grouping will create a robust and authoritative implementation of the MANO with well-defined layers of abstraction and modularity. Rift.io and Canonical, which are providing seed code, both have model-driven credentials, which gets the initiative off to an excellent start, since the ability to manipulate data models rather than scripts and workflows is critical to efficient automation in future."
Support for the CIM and neutrality on NFV infrastructure (NFVi) and Virtual Infrastructure Managers (VIMs) is a significant strategy, she says.
"OSM's VIM/NFVi-neutrality is sensible given how fast the cloud landscape is changing as containerization takes hold and the line-up of support for OSM is impressive," says Chappell.
Salguero says that using a CIM is critical if service providers are going to be able to combine best-of-breed gear from multiple vendors in their networks. "Everyone will know, without going through a long process, exactly what it takes to be [deployed] in Telefónica's network, in service provider A's network, in service provider B. Without a common information model, you have to do a lot of low-level integration work," he says.
Lakshmi F. Sharma, SVP of strategy, architecture, and product management at RIFT.io, which is contributing a substantial chunk of the early code, says the CIM approach is essential to "meet our goal of driving predictable and repeatable behavior of virtual network functions and other network services" running on multi-vendor VIMs and NVFis. She also believes being operator-led and use-case driven are key components to OSM's future success.
OSM's intent is to bring unity to the process of developing orchestration so that industry technology vendors can move faster and more confidently in developing their solutions and delivering them to customers, Salguero says. "We need to create certainty as to what it takes to be [deployed] in a service provider's network -- that is one of the key objectives here."
The Telefonica exec downplays any competition among open source groups, saying the two groups can work on different aspects of the necessary open source code. RIFT.io's Sharma says OSM is "getting strong interest from CSPs, ISVs, application builders and solutions vendors to join."
"Of course, VNF vendors and other organizations, such as OPNFV, will need to work with both OSM and the Linux Foundation's OPEN-O for the time being, which will create overhead for them. OPEN-O is also rumored to have an open source MANO version that is closer to deployment, which may sway operators that want to accelerate NFV implementations," analyst Chappell says. "It will be interesting to see how industry allegiances shake out over the next few months and whether a few key vendors/operators will try to drive both initiatives towards convergence."
The other technology companies rounding out the 23-company roster of OSM supporters at this point are Benu Networks, Brocade, Comptel, Dell, Indra, Metaswitch, RADWare, Red Hat, Sandvine, xFlow and 6WIND.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading