Several standards organizations and open source communities are working to accelerate the adoption of NFV and specifically evolve NFVI and the VIM. We’ll touch on organizations that impact NFVI in this report and cover others in the other parts of our NFV report series.
The European Telecommunications Standards Institute is a non-profit organization that produces globally-applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). Their activities are open to member and nonmember companies and individuals.
ETSI took the lead on NFV in 2012 with a breakthrough “Network Functions Virtualisation” white paper. Since then ETSI has established an Industry Specification Group (ISG) for NFV that has grown from seven to more than 290 member companies, and has published more than 50 NFV documents.
With open source rapidly emerging as a way of avoiding vendor lock-in, and competing with standards, ETSI is actively branching out to non-SDO (Standards Development Organization) activities. In addition to creating normative specifications, the NFV ISG also develops architecture documents, publishes white papers, creates analysis and conducts plugfests. In fact the NFV ISG has embraced open source techniques such as building on existing standards, using open source software and developing open reference architectures. The NFV ISG documents, now at their 2rd revision, cover the following topics:
- Reference architecture, detailed documents on each component
- Use cases
- Proof of concept & testing framework
- Virtualization requirements
- Performance and portability best practices
- Service quality metrics
- Reliability resiliency requirements
- Acceleration technologies
- Ecosystem analysis
- Service assurance
- Retained data requirements
- Information modeling
- CI/ CD
Open Source MANO (OSM)
Open Source MANO is an open source project that was started by Telefónica and now hosted by ETSI. This further reinforces the expanding role of ETSI beyond an SDO. The OSM membership has grown to over 60 companies and the leadership consists of members from Telefónica, BT, Telenor, Intel, RIFT.io, Canonical and VMware. Details around the OSM project are covered in the MANO report. OpenVIM, discussed earlier, is also under the OSM umbrella.
Open Compute Platform
The Open Compute Platform (OCP) is an open source project that was started in 2011 by Facebook, Intel and Rackspace. At the time, it was a unique project since it brought open source principles to hardware design. OCP designs servers, bare metal switches, storage and rack solutions for datacenter applications. It is a broad project that deals with hardware, mechanical design, cooling, power, firmware, APIs and in some cases software as well. In a recent presentation by SK Telecom, OCP servers have been proven to cut power consumption by 15-20%. Moreover, since OCP servers tend to less expensive than proprietary servers as well.
Recently OCP has also branched out to the telco edge. For the edge, the servers have unique power, geometry, ruggedness etc. requirements. The projects most relevant to NFVI are:
- Carrier grade (CG) 19” rack: This is a scalable carrier grade standard rack that integrates compute, storage and networking sleds. Unlike traditional racks, this rack comes with a backplane with power and network connectivity, which means sleds can simply be slid in and out without the usual hassles of installing rack servers and cabling them. The rack has two 12VDC bus bars. Sleds can be half width or full width. There are also a variable number of ToR switches that can be populated in the rack.