DENVER — A panel of service providers at this week’s Light Reading NFV and Carrier SDN event agonized over the difficulties of implementing management and network orchestration (MANO) software into their networks. But then one of the panelists suggested a radical idea: dispense with MANO entirely.
“I’ve heard the argument that if you do get to a cloud-native architecture and it’s done right, MANO might not be needed,” said Bryce Mitchell, the director of NFV, cloud, innovation labs, and support networks at the Canadian service provider Telus. “It’s controversial and remains to be seen. But there’s an argument that if you have good integrated CI/CD and something like Kubernetes to orchestrate it, you may not need MANO.”
Randy Levensalor, lead architect at CableLabs, pointed out that the Open Source MANO (OSM) group has struggled to achieve a specification. “OSM’s No. 1 goal is to implement a MANO spec, and even they haven’t,” he said. “And now we’re adding Kubernetes.”
Earlier at the event this week, Telefonica’s head of network virtualization strategy Antonio Elizondo said OSM is working on a common information model because information models are a “nightmare” for service providers.
“OSM provides an information model to describe a VNF and define network service actions so you can deploy network services or network slices and operate it,” said Elizondo. “OSM has a clear path to become a complete end-to-end service orchestrator at the end of 2018.”
But perhaps business demands are moving faster than either of the open source groups working on MANO — OSM or ONAP.
Bill Walker, senior director of strategy and advancement at CenturyLink, said, “My issue with open source MANO is it’s a cascading dependency tree. It gets complex and political inside the development committee.”
And Telus’ Mitchell said it’s taking too long to get a good commercial MANO product. “On the ONAP front, we actually launched an orchestrator that was completely closed because none of the open source was ready. It’s not there yet.”
John Isch, practice director with Orange Business Services said, “Historically, we want that all settled before we go to customers. I have to explain to customers that gap, and it’s extremely challenging to build into a sales meeting.”
Cable Labs’ Levensalor suggested, “Just do an abstraction layer between your orchestrator and your VIM and VNFs. The workaround isn’t that bad for this part of the stack. APIs are becoming the de facto standard. The lower in the stack you go, that’s the best place for open source.”