Prague in February was the unlikely site of the ninth meeting of the ETSI Network Functions Virtualisation Industry Specification Group (NFV ISG). Perhaps it was the beer (no one in the world consumes more), rich heritage (over 1,100 years) or prominence (largest city and capital of the Czech Republic, and one of the most visited cities in all of Europe). The 270 participants descending upon Prague found it to be inviting, and an ideal venue to collaborate.
This was a meeting of firsts: the first NFV ISG meeting in 2015, the launch for NFV Phase 2, the initial joint meeting with the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), and the highest attended ETSI NFV ISG meeting held outside of the U.S. ETSI hosted the meeting, with excellent accommodations, with opening remarks by ETSI Director General Luis Jorge Romero Saro.
“I am pleased to reaffirm ETSI’s commitment to our NFV Industry Specification Group. ETSI always seeks to develop and use best practices in standardization, and for this reason I’m excited to see the dialogue develop with the open source community,” says ETSI Director General Luis Jorge Romero Saro.
As we enter 2015, interest in NFV remains strong, as the NFV ISG has grown to 260 organizations, including 37 operators. There are over 1,200 individuals on the mailing lists, 30 active work items, and 21 publications on the ETSI NFV public site.
ETSI NFV ISG Chair Steven Wright (AT&T) commented, ”As Phase 2 gets under way, the NFV ISG remains the center of gravity for NFV. Our goals include taking measured steps towards adoption, interoperability, and establishment of an open NFV ecosystem through close collaboration with the NFV and SDN community.”
To achieve its lofty goals, the NFV ISG repositioned the organization for success by establishing a new set of working groups representing the NFV Phase 2 priorities (see Figure 1). New leadership was elected for each of the working groups. For the first time, several of the new leaders represent OEMs.
In addition, two key new advisory roles were established in response to the NFV ISG’s goal to collaborate with the broader community. Yun Chao HU (Huawei) was appointed industry engagement officer to advise on the impact of external industry groups on the ISG work program. Andy Reid (BT) was appointed regulatory impact officer to broaden ISG awareness of security and regulatory requirements.
An important underlying objective in Phase 2 is to adjust course and reprioritize as necessary to ensure the NFV ISG work program remains relevant and timely. The Evolution and Ecosystem (EVE) working group has been tasked with tracking NFV and SDN activities in other industry groups, standards development organizations, and open-source projects to enable the NFV ISG to better coordinate with external groups.
The NFV ISG held a joint workshop (chaired by Klaus Martiny (DT), vice chair of the ETSI NFV ISG Network Operator Council) with OPNFV to broaden the dialogue on the role of each organization in the NFV community.
OPNFV collocated its first Hackfest with the NFV ISG meeting in order to encourage greater community collaboration. This afforded an opportunity for both communities to exchange ideas and information, as well as contribute to the initial OPNFV release currently targeted for late April 2015.
Margaret Chiosi (AT&T), president of OPNFV, observed, “It is no longer feasible to comprehensively analyze the requirements for the NFV Architectural Framework through specifications alone. OPNFV provides an open reference platform that enables the NFV community to refine requirements based on an actual implementation, accelerate adoption, and validate that a carrier-grade platform is feasible. OPNFV is helping bridge between the standards and open-source worlds.”
Prodip Sen (HP), chairman of the board for OPNFV, and former chair of the ETSI NFV ISG, noted, “The open-source-based approach to interoperability is a more agile and faster approach than traditional standardization, which is absolutely suited to current market conditions. I am very encouraged with the level of engagement and discussion between the NFV ISG and OPNFV communities that we saw here in Prague, and am confident that we will be successful in adopting this approach for our industry. ”
During NFV No. 9, the new Test Experimentation and Open Source Working Group hosted a session with representatives from the major upstream projects, including OPNFV, OpenStack, OpenDaylight, Open Networking Foundation, etc. The intent was to encourage collaboration and discuss what steps the NFV ISG can take to improve collaboration and accelerate the overall process to fulfill the requirements with reference implementation code.
Another theme from the meeting was that “Security Matters” (see photo below).
The NFV ISG has received increasing feedback from government organizations about the need to devote attention to security in light of high-visibility breaches. At NFV No. 9, representatives from various government agencies urged the ISG to address security, privacy, and regulatory issues up front.
Hence, the NFV Security Working Group will continue to rise in importance, while it explores how to improve awareness of the threats while issuing best practices and leveraging significant recent progress for securing the cloud.
Diego Lopez (Telefónica), ETSI NFV ISG technical manager, indicated, “The NFV ISG is increasingly aware of our responsibility to meet the evolving security needs of the highly diverse applications we are considering, from individual privacy to the support of critical infrastructure.”
As the meeting concluded, there was a growing sense of urgency and purpose as the NFV ISG, including both operators and vendors, took to heart ISG Chair Steven Wright’s words:
- Engage the industry with NFV
- Focus on work that matters
- Avoid duplication of efforts through collaboration
- Accelerate adoption through coordination
- Eliminate Not Invented Here (NIH) to achieve our goals
Don Clarke (CableLabs), chair of the Network Operator Council, took a pragmatic view: “The NFV ISG is addressing work that cannot be taken on in any other body, based on our charter, empowerment by our global operators, core competency and expertise, and unparalleled industry influence and engagement. However, we remain committed to collaborate with the broader industry, as no single industry body can address NFV and, for that matter, SDN on its own.”
As we enter a new, agile era of industry transformation, operators are empowered to break the traditional waterfall model rules; the interaction between requirements analysis and software development will become blurred. Realizing that cooperation is crucial, the NFV ISG is continuing to pave an innovative path toward adoption. One thing is clear: Software will eat the world, and SDN and NFV are the enablers.