Split Emerges in Open Source MANO Efforts

A broad attempt to create a single open source effort around managing and orchestrating NFV is now bifurcating into two separate groups, based on irreconcilable views of how to best standardize the MANO going forward.

One group appears to be emerging from the Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF)-led effort around OpenMANO, and the other is being led by players within the Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. Caroline Chappell, Heavy Reading's practice leader, Cloud and NFV, confirms that the critical differences between the two revolve around whether it's necessary to have a common information model, as the OpenMANO group believes, and whether it's wise to tie the effort to OpenStack , as the other group plans to do. (See Telefónica Releases OpenMANO NFV Orchestration Stack.)

The net effect is likely to be faster movement forward by the OPNFV-led effort, but potentially a surer footing for OpenMANO, she notes.

"This is not necessarily a bad thing for the industry," Chappell comments. "They could provide a reality check for each other."

This development does represent a setback for those who had been working hard in recent months to get the industry focused on a single approach, in the belief that this would be in everyone's best interests and certainly make life easier for companies developing virtual network functions (VNFs). They will now "have to play nice with both camps, which makes life more difficult for them," she says.

But the disagreements over common information models and the viability of OpenStack going forward were too great. The OpenMANO group firmly believes a CIM is required.

"They want to make sure this is done the right way, with no layer violations," Chappell says. "The other group doesn't view that as the modern way of doing things, because it takes too much time. They would rather see this follow the development model of OpenStack and OpenDaylight." (See Can Telecom Unite on Info Models for NFV?)

Read more about NFV strategies and the challenges of orchestration in our NFV section here on Light Reading.

At a meeting in January, hosted by CableLabs , various industry forums tried to united their CIM efforts, to speed things up a bit -- one dissenter to that effort was OPNFV, Chappell notes. (See Conversation Starter: SDO Collaboration.)

The long-term viability of OpenStack is the other major point of divergence. The OpenMANO group has doubts about tying its efforts to OpenStack -- doubts widely held by operators. (See OpenStack Doubts Surface After BT Ultimatum and Mud-Slinging at the SDN Corral.)

"OpenMANO would rather have something that supports hybrid clouds and wouldn't tie very closely to OpenStack, which may not stay the course for the future," Chappell says.

Various operators have developed their own internal MANO efforts, such as China Mobile's OpenO, but an industry-wide effort is seen as crucial for NFV's broader adoption and integration of software-defined networks.

Whether these two efforts will serve to offer alternatives to carriers, based on their own priorities, or create other complications for them, remains to be seen.

UPDATE: Heather Kirksey, head of OPNFV, tells Light Reading that while she can't comment on any MANO initiatives directly involving her group, OPNFV is open to working with any and all organizations developing open approaches to MANO, as it currently does with multiple groups supporting competing approaches to other aspects of virtualization.

"We expect to establish relationships with any MANO-related group and we will do deployment, testing and integration work with any established group upstream," she comments.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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