Network functions virtualization (NFV) Orchestration (or NFV Orchestration) is used to coordinate the resources and networks needed to set up cloud-based services and applications. This process uses a variety of virtualization software and industry-standard hardware.
Cloud service providers (CSPs) or global telecom operators use NFV orchestration to quickly deploy services, or virtual network functions (VNFs), using cloud software rather than specialized hardware networks.
The big advantage of NFV is that it uses industry-standard commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware to deliver a service via software. Prior to the advent of the NFV, operators build application-specific networks using proprietary hardware. Now, these services can be deployed as VNFs on an NFV platform. This could include popular software services such as a virtual firewall, virtual load-balancing, or another software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) service.
This model allows operators to deploy services more quickly and with more flexibility, because the specific hardware is not needed with each service – it can all be done with software.
Because NFV requires lots of virtualized resources, it requires a high degree of software management, referred to as orchestration. Orchestration coordinates, connects, monitors, and manages the needed resources from the platform for the NFV services. Orchestration may need to coordinate with many network and software elements, including inventory systems, billing systems, provisioning tools, and operating support systems (OSSs).
Because virtualized networks can span a large number of networks, software elements, and hardware platforms, NFV orchestration tools must be powerful and able to work with many different standards.
Some of the functions that are typically required by NFV orchestration include the following:
Service coordination & instantiation: The orchestration software must communicate with the underlying NFV platform to instantiate a service, which means it creates the virtual instance of a service on the platform.
Service chaining: Enables a service to be cloned and multiplied to scale for either a single customer or many customers.
Scaling services: When more services are added, finding and managing sufficient resources to deliver the service.
Service monitoring: Tracks the performance of the platform and resources to make sure they are adequate to provide for good service.
The management and organization (MANO) working group of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) created a framework for NFV, which breaks down the management and orchestration needs of the NFV architecture. This includes an NFV Orchestrator (NFVO).
The NFV Orchestrator provides management of the NFV services, which is responsible for on-boarding of new network services (NS) and virtual network function (VNF) packages; NS lifecycle management; global resource management; validation and authorization of network functions virtualization infrastructure (NFVI) resource requests.