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NFV Strategies

Operators Set Course for NFV's Future

DÜSSELDORF -- SDN & OpenFlow World Congress -- A group of 30 operators has issued a white paper that sets out the roadmap for the future development of network functions virtualization (NFV) capabilities.

Among those operators is the core group that introduced the original NFV concept and vision two years ago and which led to the formation of the highly influential European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV Industry Specifications Group (ISG) in early 2013. (See Carriers Collaborate on Network of the Future.)

Now, with NFV embedded in the strategies of pretty much every facilities-based telco in the world, these operators are seeking to focus the industry on exactly what they need from the broader networking technology ecosystem to be able to realize the full potential of NFV.

The publication of the paper, which has been produced independently of the NFV ISG, comes ahead of a major release of new documents in January 2015 from the ETSI group, which will begin its second two-year term in February 2015. Those documents will be finalized at a planned November plenary session of the NFV ISG. (See NFV Group Preps Its Afterlife and NFV Group Adopts 'Open' Strategy, Names New Leaders.)

"In January 2015, the NFV ISG will publish a major release of documents that will be highly influential in setting the direction for NFV implementation and standardization going forward," note the operators. They are satisfied that the NFV ISG has "achieved its goals," and has "exceeded our expectations in both fostering an open ecosystem for the emerging technology of NFV, and in the degree of influence it has had on the wider industry," including standards development groups, the open source communities and vendor roadmaps. On the latter, the NFV ISG has had a "dramatic" influence, the group notes, "which bodes well for the emergence of competitive solutions for NFV."


Need to know more about the management of network assets and applications in an SDN and NFV environment? Then check out the agenda for OSS in the Era of SDN & NFV: Evolution vs Revolution, November 6, at the Thistle Marble Arch Hotel, London


It's clear that a major focus in the future will be on the development of new management tools to support virtualized functions. The operators note: "NFV will have a significant impact on the design of future telecommunications support systems. Using virtualisation in an up-to-date cloud environment will offer new self-managed redundancy and failover scenarios. The evolved management/support systems to handle this new environment must be highly automated, which requires new thinking on OSS/BSS that will open up opportunities to gain significant operational benefits."

There will also be an increasing focus on the role of open source software in the NFV ecosystem, noted Don Clarke of CableLabs , who introduced the white paper here in a conference session. (See BT’s NFV Guru Joins CableLabs.)

The upcoming new documents will focus on six key areas of NFV development:

  • NFV Infrastructure
  • NFV Management and Orchestration (MANO)
  • NFV Software Architecture
  • NFV Reliability and Availability
  • NFV Performance and Portability
  • NFV Security

For more details, see the full white paper.

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

TomNolle 10/15/2014 | 10:45:03 AM
A Good Explanation that Raises a Few Questions Nice paper documenting a lot of vaulable work.  I would like to see a clearer picture of operations emerge from the ISG material, though.  The paper suggests that the VIM, the VNFM, VNFO, and OSS/BSS all have a role in provisioning, and I find that a little confusing--it would be helpful to see some operations flows mapped onto an E2E diagram.  I am also a little concerned about the statement that OSS/BSS systems will likely have to be revamped to accommodate NFV.  If that's true then adoption could be a long slog.
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