Network Functions Virtualisation

Introduction

NFV in ETSI

Founded in November 2012 by seven of the world's leading telecoms network operators ISG NFV became the home of the Industry Specification Group for NFV.

Four years and 45 publications later, the ISG NFV community has evolved through several phases, its publications have moved from pre-standardization studies to detailed specifications (see Release 2 and Release 3) and the early Proof of Concepts (PoCs) efforts have evolved and led to interoperability events (Plugtests). This large community (290+ companies including 38 of the world's major service providers) is still working intensely to develop the required standards for NFV as well as sharing their experiences of NFV implementation and testing.

The 2015 NFV Activity Report is available on the ETSI NFV Portal.

Building the Software-Defined Network

Modern telecoms networks contain an ever increasing variety of proprietary hardware. The launch of new services often demands network reconfiguration and on-site installation of new equipment which in turn requires additional floor space, power, and trained maintenance staff.

The innovation cycles accelerate and require greater flexibility and dynamism than hardware-based appliances allow. Hard-wired network with single functions boxes are tedious to maintain, slow to evolve, and prevent service providers from offering dynamic services.

In the same way that applications are supported by dynamically configurable and fully automated cloud environments, virtualized network functions allow networks to be agile and capable to respond automatically to the needs of the traffic and services running over it.

Key enabling technologies for this vision include SDN (Software Defined Networking) and NFV (Network Functions Virtualisation). SDN and NFV are complementary but increasingly co-dependent in order for the benefits of software-defined networking to be fully realized.

Upcoming events

  • NFV#16, 12-15 December, Shenzhen, RPC
  • 1st NFV PlugTests, 23 Jan-03 Feb 2017, Leganes (Madrid), Spain
  • NFV#17, 21-24 February 2017, Bilbao, Spain
  • NFV#18, 16-19 May 2017, Sophia Antipolis, France

Our Role & Activities

Overview

The ETSI NFV ISG undertakes work in 2-year phases as agreed by the ETSI Director General.

Documents published during the 2013-2014 phase were referenced as ‘Release 1’ with subsequent tranches referenced as ‘Release 2’, ‘Release 3’ etc. Release 2 development ended Q3 2016 when Release 3 also started.

Going forward, the ISG will continue to develop specifications that meet the needs of the industry, and maintain its published documents. Progress in the industry will be monitored, including feedback from implementation, and the identification of gaps will be addressed.

ETSI Industry Specification Groups are open to ETSI members and non-members alike, with different conditions depending on ETSI membership status. If you would like to participate in the NFV ISG, please contact the NFV support team.

2013-2014

In the first 2-year phase, the initial focus of the NFV ISG was:

  • to drive convergence on network operator requirements for NFV
  • to include applicable standards, where they already exist, into industry services and products
  • to simultaneously develop new technical requirements with the goal of stimulating innovation and fostering an open ecosystem of vendors

The original vision outlined in the joint-operator white paper published in October 2012 was:

  • Defining requirements and architecture for the virtualisation of network functions
  • Addressing technical challenges of network virtualization, which included:
    • simple to operate, manage, and orchestrate (particularly alongside legacy management systems)
    • high performing and portable virtualised network appliances
    • co-existence with legacy hardware
    • secured against attack and configuration errors
    • stability of service and network during appliance load and relocation
    • resilience to hardware and software failures

An important milestone in the first two years was the publication of the first five ETSI Group Specifications (GSs) documents (October 2013). Four of them were designed to align understanding about NFV across the industry. They cover NFV use cases, requirements, the architectural framework, and terminology. The last document defined a framework for co-ordinating and promoting public demonstrations of Proof of Concept (PoC) platforms illustrating key aspects of NFV.

2015-2016

The need to produce normative specifications to enable end-to-end interworking of equipment and services formed a fundamental part of this phase.

To fulfil that need, the ISG decided to group most of its normative work into a release: "NFV Release 2". Release 2 is a subset of the published documents during the 2015-2016 phase. Release 2 was defined by selecting and prioritizing a set of key capabilities for NFV and specifying then up to the level of requirements, interfaces, and information models.
As part of Release 2, the ISG NFV specified functional requirements applicable to the VIM, VNFM and NFVO functional blocks, and requirements applicable to the reference points. In addition, requirements, interfaces and information models related to different capabilities have been specified, including:

  • Virtualised resources management and change notifications
  • Virtualised resources fault and performance management
  • VNF packaging and software image management
  • VNF lifecycle management and change notifications
  • Granting of VNF lifecycle operations
  • VNF fault, performance and configuration management
  • NS lifecycle and change notifications
  • VNF Descriptor information model

For a good introduction to the Release 2 content (with links to documents) read the ISG NFV Release 2 description document, available in the ISG NFV "Open" area.

2017-2018: NFV Release 3

NFV Release 3 is under way: the "feature collection" initiative led to an initial set of 18 New Work Items (future publications) being approved as part of this third release, although other documents could be created and added during the development.

A "Release 3 Definition" identifies the work items that will be addressed by the ISG in the coming months.

As part of Release 3 and other release-independent work items the ISG NFV is currently engaged in:

Specifications

The following is a list of the 20 latest published ETSI specifications on Network Functions Virtualisation.

A full list of related standards in the public domain is accessible via the ETSI standards search. Via this interface you can also subscribe for alerts on updates of ETSI specifications.

For work in progress see the ETSI Work Programme on the Portal.

Standard No. Standard title.
GS NFV-TST 002 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Testing Methodology; Report on NFV Interoperability Testing Methodology
GS NFV-IFA 007 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Management and Orchestration; Or-Vnfm reference point - Interface and Information Model Specification
GS NFV-IFA 008 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Management and Orchestration; Ve-Vnfm reference point - Interface and Information Model Specification
GS NFV-IFA 011 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Management and Orchestration; VNF Packaging Specification
GS NFV-IFA 013 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Management and Orchestration; Os-Ma-Nfvo reference point - Interface and Information Model Specification
GS NFV-IFA 014 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Management and Orchestration; Network Service Templates Specification
GS NFV-IFA 010 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Management and Orchestration; Functional requirements specification
GR NFV-SEC 003 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); NFV Security; Security and Trust Guidance
GS NFV-IFA 009 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Management and Orchestration; Report on Architectural Options
GS NFV-REL 003 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Reliability; Report on Models and Features for End-to-End Reliability
GS NFV-REL 003 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Reliability; Report on Models and Features for End-to-End Reliability
GS NFV-IFA 004 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Acceleration Technologies; Management Aspects Specification
GS NFV-IFA 005 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Management and Orchestration; Or-Vi reference point - Interface and Information Model Specification
GS NFV-IFA 006 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Management and Orchestration; Vi-Vnfm reference point - Interface and Information Model Specification
GS NFV-IFA 003 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Acceleration Technologies; vSwitch Benchmarking and Acceleration Specification
GS NFV-SEC 006 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Security Guide; Report on Security Aspects and Regulatory Concerns
GS NFV-SEC 010 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); NFV Security; Report on Retained Data problem statement and requirements
GS NFV-REL 004 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Assurance; Report on Active Monitoring and Failure Detection
GS NFV-IFA 010 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Management and Orchestration; Functional requirements specification
GS NFV-TST 001 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Pre-deployment Testing; Report on Validation of NFV Environments and Services

In addition to the published documents the ISG NFV makes all of the draft deliverables available for industry comment.

Phase 1 has been successfully completed and all documents were published early January 2013. Phase 2 is well under way with over 30 new Work Items. In addition to the technical work programme, members are focusing on 3 other areas: the start of the feature collection, the NFV ISG beyond 2016 and whether there will be some stage 3 standardization.

Blog

News, comments and opinions from ETSI’s NFV Industry Specification Group

The direct link to refer to this blog is http://www.etsi.org/technologies-clusters/technologies/nfv?tab=3