ETSI NFV is part of the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI), an independent standardization organization, that has been instrumental in developing standards for information and communications technologies (ICT) within Europe. It was created in 1988 as a nonprofit by the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administration (CEPT), which has been the coordinating body for European telecommunications and postal organizations since 1959. Currently, the not-for-profit organization has more than 800 member organizations representing more than 65 countries around the world.
How ETSI NFV Operates
Most of the work of the Institute is done in committees and working groups made up of experts from member organizations. They tackle technical issues and the development of specifications and standards to support the needs of the broad membership and the European ICT industry at large.
Committees, often referred to as Technical Bodies, typically meet one to six times a year. There are three recognized types of Technical Bodies:
- Technical Committees – semi-permanent entities within ETSI organized around standardization activities for a specific technology area.
- ETSI Projects are established based on the needs of a particular market sector and tend to exist for a finite period of time.
- ETSI Partnership Projects are activities within ETSI that require cooperation with other organization to achieve a standardization goal.
Industry Specification Groups (ISG) supplement the work of Technical Bodies to address work needed around a specific technology area.
ETSI NFV’s Role
Service providers came together and formed a network functions virtualization (NFV) ISG within ETSI called the ETSI NFV ISG in 2012. It consists of more than 300 members and 38 service providers that have produced more than 100 publications since its formation. The NFV ISG develops NFV standards and proofs-of-concept. It conducts its research in two-year phases.
The NFV ISG group contains six working groups to advance NFV. Each group is tasked with a different objective and its working drafts are available to the public. The groups are TST, SOL, REL, IFA, EVE, and SEC. Here’s a summary of what the NFV ISG has achieved and what its currently working on:
2013 – 2014: Release 1
- Identify NFV standards, published in 2013, that included use cases, requirements, and architectural framework
- Published Proof of Concept on NFV
- Develop new technical requirements and network operator requirements
- Released 11 documents covering NFV infrastructure, NFV Management and Orchestration, Security, and Virtual Network Function (VNF) Architecture.
2015 – 2016: Release 2
Focused on normative specifications as well as defining and prioritizing NFV capabilities, including:
- Management of virtualized resources
- Performance Management
- VNF Lifecycle Management
- Network Services Lifecycle Management
- UML Information Model
- Guidelines for Information Modeling
2017-2018: Release 3
Includes 18 New Work Items that will be future publications as this phase is currently in progress. The objectives are:
- Information Modeling
- Mult-Site Services Management
- Management and Orchestration
- Acceleration Technologies
- Financial Accounting
- License Management
- Policy Management
- Defining touchpoints with Information Models belonging to other organizations.