For SDxCentral members unfamiliar with the history of NFV and ETSI, or who are looking for a refresher, we’ll provide an overview in this section and get you up to speed.
Brief History of NFV: Role of the ETSI ISG
NFV originated in the service provider community as operators looked for ways to cut costs and accelerate the roll out of profitable services to monetize their networks and grow their revenues. Expensive hardware-based appliances, which are complex to deploy and manage, were limiting the providers’ ability to quickly trial new services and reduce costs.
Service providers felt if they could decouple the network services from the hardware, it would allow them to deploy networking components that could truly fit and support a fully virtualized infrastructure, including servers, storage and even other networks.
As NFV gained momentum, operators gathered within the European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s (ETSI) and created the Industry Specification Group (ISG) for NFV to accelerate the progress of virtualizing network functions. Launched in January of 2013, the ETSI ISG for NFV has been working to develop the requirements and architecture of virtualized network functions in a telecommunication’s network. It included these components of the NFV framework:
- NFV Infrastructure (NFVI) – The physical resources (compute, storage, network) and the virtual instantiations that make up the infrastructure.
- Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) – The software implementation of a network function.
- NFV Management and Orchestration (NFV MANO) – The management and control layer that focuses on all the virtualization-specific management tasks required throughout the lifecycle of the VNF.
Since the original ETSI model for NFV was released, vendors and operators have also put together their own technology programs, including developing their own open source projects which they then donate to the community (e.g. ONAP which is a combination of ECOMP from AT&T and Open-O from China Mobile).