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Tackling NFV's Interoperability Challenges

Ken Presti
4/4/2017

NFV promises to raise the digital economy to a much higher level; one where, eventually, network services are fully available to anyone, anytime and anywhere in the world. But the fact is that today, interoperability issues between NFV solutions from different vendors are stymieing this promise. Every company in our industry is developing NFV solutions, but, so far, no vendor, service provider, or industry organization has been able to drive the consensus necessary to crystallize a unified vision for true and verifiable virtualization interoperability.

Facilitating development of this consensus is why I joined the leadership team of the New IP Agency (NIA).

As the newly appointed director of the NIA, it will be my privilege to work with the entire industry in enabling the creation of open, advanced, and, ultimately, profitable virtualized IP networks. As a 20-year veteran of the networking space, I recall debates that yielded Ethernet in the LAN. I've watched service providers move beyond the delivery of fat pipes towards the delivery of new feature-rich services, better performance and higher value. I've watched security evolve from an arcane niche specialty into something that permeates all of technology. (It's often still pretty arcane, though).

Many of my previous efforts have been on building business class alliances that accomplish objectives effectively, successfully, profitably and fairly. And it is that type of cooperation that will be key to overcoming the current interoperability crisis. So it is with great excitement that I join this initiative of building a forum through which people can find information and debate standards among their peers. These discussions might not always be easy, but they are vastly important in driving forward the future of the modern network.

The NIA, through the cooperation and support of its growing membership, also commissions independent, multivendor testing that provides real-world data and transparency about interoperability between NFV elements. This is where the rubber meets the road for our organization, and the foundation upon which everything else will be built. Our next interoperability test will take place at Light Reading's Big Communications Event (BCE), May 15-17, at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas.

This evaluation addresses multivendor interoperability between Management and Orchestration (MANO) functions and the Virtual Infrastructure Management (VIM). The objective is to publish a matrix of interoperable NFV orchestration and NFV infrastructure combinations. A forthcoming NIA test report will detail successful test combinations, analyze issues on an industry level, and explain features working best today. Tangible results will be presented publicly in collaboration with participating vendors. To find out more about the NIA's test program, please click here.

The team at the NIA is fully committed to our mission. I thank you for your participation in this crucially important endeavor, and I look forward to working with each one of you.

— Ken Presti, Director, New IP Agency

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