China Mobile, Tata, NTT, and Telefónica are creating open source groups to work on their own versions of management and orchestration (MANO) within ETSI’s network functions virtualization (NFV) framework.
ETSI held a meeting of numerous NFV groups last week, where this information, generally known within the NFV community, became more widely known. The operators have already named their open source groups as follows:
China Mobile’s Open O group was mentioned at the OPNFV Summit in November 2015. Open O is designed to provide interfaces up to the operations support system (OSS) and down to the virtual network functions (VNF) manager and virtual infrastructure manager (VIM). Open O intends to build a network service catalogue and a VNF catalogue.
NTT’s Gohan is described as an open source service development engine for software-defined networking (SDN) and NFV orchestration. Gohan is not specifically focused on MANO, but it is MANO-related in that it ensures the VNF can run on the full NFV infrastructure.
And OpenMANO debuted at last year’s Mobile World Congress, where Telefónica announced it was uploading its VIM and NFV orchestrator to a Github repository. OpenMANO is an open source project aiming to provide a practical implementation of the reference architecture for MANO.
Where NFV MANO Touches OSS
Even though there’s been unprecedented collaboration among operators on ETSI NFV, the MANO part is the most complex piece, says Marc Cohn, SVP with ClearPath Networks. “I’ve been hearing that other operators are not as excited about any single operator’s proposal,” he says. “MANO would be the place closest to the services that are going to be delivered.”
The OSS is specific to the network operator, and some of these operators are saying they’re committed to NFV but want to control their destiny in MANO, says Don Clarke, a principal architect of network technologies at CableLabs.
“A number of MANO-related open source communities are coalescing around their own flavor of MANO,” he says. “I think it’s because when you’re going to the MANO part [of the ETSI NFV framework], you touch the strategic direction of these operators. MANO is a difficult area for everyone to agree.”
“This is why ETSI NFV has taken a bottom-up approach to MANO,” says Clarke. “Getting alignment amongst the network operators has been difficult, but we have succeeded because we have taken a bottom-up approach to avoid impinging on individual operator strategies for OSS.”
ETSI Meeting in Denver
Last week, ETSI brought together a number of standards groups and open source groups working on NFV to get everyone in the same room for the first time. Asked if the work of these groups was going in too many different directions, Clarke says, “I wouldn’t use the words ‘out of control,’ but I would use ‘dangerous fragmentation.’ ”
He says standards organizations have very independent agendas, and they have momentum. If each does its own thing without communicating to other stakeholders, their outputs and specifications can’t easily be adopted.
But ETSI doesn’t consider it to be its job to oversee all these groups. “This is about a loose federation of these organizations,” says Clarke. “You can’t make an individual body do anything. We want to make their work more collaborative. We’ll work with individuals to make sure we all sync up.”