By nature, Network functions virtualization (NFV) changes the way networks are managed. From initial set up to day-to-day operations, NFV management and network orchestration (MANO) fills the management role. NFV MANO is a framework developed by a working group of the same name within the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Industry Specification Group for NFV (ETSI ISG NFV). Over time, the framework became more commonly referred to as just NFV management and orchestration. It is the ETSI-defined framework for the management and orchestration of all resources in a virtualized data center including compute, networking, storage, and virtual machine (VM) resources. The main focus of NFV MANO is to allow flexible on-boarding, sidestepping the chaos that can be associated with rapid spin-up of network components.
NFV MANO is broken up into three functional blocks:
- NFV Orchestrator: 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.
- VNF Manager: Oversees lifecycle management of VNF instances; fills the coordination and adaptation role for configuration and event reporting between NFV infrastructure (NFVI) and Element/Network Management Systems.
- Virtualized Infrastructure Manager (VIM): Controls and manages the NFVI compute, storage, and network resources.
For the NFV MANO architecture to work properly and effectively, it must be integrated with open application program interfaces (APIs) in the existing systems. The MANO layer works with templates for standard VNFs and gives users the power to pick and choose from existing NFVI resources to deploy their platform or element.
- A VNF software upgrade where VNF could be upgraded while the network service is running without impacting it.
- A cleanup of OSM’s northbound API so now only a single pane of glass is needed to control the OSM system.
- Catalog search capabilities are expanded with backing from a common database that stores the state of the system.
Four experimental features were included in this release. One being the platform’s improved resiliency to single component failure with techniques like active-standby redundancy.
Ongoing NFV MANO Work
The NFV MANO architectural framework by ETSI. Source: ETSI
In September 2014, the Linux Foundation announced another open source reference platform — the Open Platform for NFV Project (OPNFV). In Dec. 2018, the foundation released a version called Gambia that includes:
- An experimental attempt at continuous delivery of upstream code from the community to the system.
- Support for containers in order to increase cloud-native functionality.
- Bug fixes for functions like service assurance, NFV workload support, MANO, and edge computing.
OPNFV claims these functions are carrier-grade.
The next OPNFV release is called Hunter and is planned for mid-2019.
Updated February 2019