NICE, France -- TM Forum Live! -- One of the key goals for the TM Forum in recent years has been enabling a digital services marketplace, where network services can be easily combined with other assets such as cloud compute and storage, firewalls and more, to bring new value to the market.
One of the more interesting Catalyst projects here this week is demonstrating exactly how that can be done, using what the Forum calls B2B2X best practice guides along with NFV to combine: a fiber-to-the-premises service from Australian broadband network NBN Co Ltd. ; virtual firewall and network functions from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO); and cloud-based infrastructure and software from Australian firm Liberated Cloud .
The whole thing is being orchestrated by Telflow, a product developed by software and professional services specialist Dgit International Pte. Ltd. , and initially deployed in New Zealand. Using extensions of the TM Forum 's information framework known as the SID (shared information data model) and its own orchestration layer, Telflow enables both a B2B service delivery and creation of web portal screens for point-and-click service deployment by end customers.
The demonstration of the capabilities was linked to NBN Co.'s fiber connection database to enable a fiber link to be turned up -- granted, it was a fiber link already verified to be in existence -- and the cloud services and virtual functions added to it.
The project uses a series of APIs developed by the Forum as part of its B2B2X best practice development and as extensions to the SID, including a version of an Open Digital API that is still in the proposal stage but expected to be finalized this year, says Greg Tilton, chairman and CTO of Dgit.
"All the interfaces support catalog-driven integrations," Tilton says. That means a service provider such as a cloud company can easily add network services to their product catalog for delivery over a self-service portal to the end customer.
Creating a services ecosystem in the cloud space has been a goal for Liberated Cloud for some time, says Clive Deakin, director, and the company has been in conversations with major US providers, but uptake has been slow.
"We see these folks sitting on their hands a bit, as they try to figure out how to monetize all this," Deakin says.
Simplifying and automating the B2B2X approach should make it easier for virtualized network functions to be sold. For that to happen, the process needs to be automated and catalog-driven, so a standard set of products and functions is available, Tilton says. Most of today's cloud services are not catalog-driven, he notes.
Using the catalog-driven approach, Dgit's orchestration layer can then take the incoming product order, decompose it into underlying resources, use the series of open APIs to assemble those resources using pre-set rules, and create the virtual IT bundled service.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading