So why have groups such as Open Source MANO (OSM) and Open-O become so prominent in network functions virtualization (NFV) circles, and Open Baton is relatively unknown?
For one thing, Open Baton is led by two research organizations based out of Germany: the Fraunhofer Fokus Institute and the Technical University of Berlin. Open Baton’s main focus, since it was established in 2015, has been to write MANO code – not to build community and market itself.
Open-O and OSM are bringing together different vendors and operators in their communities. Open Baton’s community is built by these research institutes.
Also, Open Baton has not engaged that much with the other MANO groups because of timing, says Giuseppe Carella, a researcher at Fraunhofer Fokus and a PhD student at TU Berlin.
“We were aware of the other projects, more or less, after they were publicly announced,” says Carella. “But they were not contacting us from the beginning. However, time is limited, and we had a lot of work in context of our own projects.”
But recently, Open Baton has been in discussions with both OSM and Open-O. The group plans to bring in some of OSM’s tools into its own roadmap. Nothing definitive has been worked out with Open-O at this time.
Open Baton’s Work
Fraunhofer Fokus has created similar groups in the past, such as its OpenEPC that became a spin-off company named Core Network Dynamics. And it is accustomed to following specifications from such groups as the 3GPP and ETSI. When ETSI published its NFV framework, Fraunhofer quickly recognized a need to work with the MANO aspects.
“We’ve got our tests beds and tool kits deployed around the world,” says Carella. “That was our reason to go for another project.”
Open Baton differentiates itself by trying to create a flexible MANO system where users can plug in different parts of the infrastructure as desired.
“It can support your own versions for VIM,” says Carella. “On the northbound, we are trying not to be tied to a specific information model — Tosca or others — we are trying to be decoupled from any specific definition.”
Open Baton’s MANO architecture revolves around a Message Queue, which provides the freedom to decouple the implementation logic of the orchestrator from the other components.
Also, “We tried to decouple from OpenStack,” says Carella. “The VIM driver locates resources, whether those are based on OpenStack or Amazon infrastructure.”
The group is currently working on code for the VIM driver and virtual network functions manager (VNFM) to talk directly to Kubernetes or Docker.
Open Baton is being used in a couple of European projects. One is SoftFire, which is using NFV and SDN to create a programmable infrastructure that third parties can use to develop new services and applications. In addition, Open Baton is one of the main components of the 5G Berlin initiative.