Network Functions Virtualisation

Introduction

NFV in ETSI

In November 2012 seven of the world's leading telecoms network operators selected ETSI to be the home of the Industry Specification Group for NFV.

Now almost two years later a large community of experts are working intensely to develop the required standards for Network Functions Virtualisation as well as sharing their experiences of NFV development and early implementation.

The membership of ISG NFV has grown to over 220 individual companies including 37 of the world's major service providers as well as representatives from both telecoms and IT vendors.

The full list of NFV members and participants 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 or network configuration demands the installation of yet more equipment that in turn requires additional floor space, power and trained maintenance staff.

As the innovation cycles continue to accelerate, hardware-based appliances rapidly reach end of life. Simply having a hard-wired network with boxes dedicated to single functions is not the optimal way to achieve dynamic service offerings.

Network design must be more agile and able to respond on-demand to the dynamic needs of the traffic and services running over it.

Key enabling technologies for this include SDN (Software Defined Networking) and NFV (Network Functions Virtualisation), two complimentary concepts that are being developed by both the IT and the telecoms industries.

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Our Role & Activities

NFV Phase 2

The need to produce normative specifications that can be used to enable end-to-end interworking of equipment and services forms part of the ongoing discussions for ISG NFV Phase 2.

To drive the NFV work forward across the industry there is a strong demand to work with a number of key standards groups and industry in a coordinated way.

The history of ISG NFV is known, but the future is currently being shaped in various meetings across Europe and the USA as the industry and ETSI drives the NFV promise into network reality.

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  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

NFV Phase 1

The initial focus of the 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 scope was:

  • to define the requirements and architecture for the virtualisation of network functions
  • to address the technical challenges which include:
    • ensuring that virtualised network platforms will be simpler to operate
    • achieving high performance virtualised network appliances which are portable between different hardware vendors, and with different hypervisors
    • achieving co-existence with legacy hardware-based network platforms whilst enabling an efficient migration path to fully virtualised network platforms which re-use network operator BSS and OSS
    • management and orchestration of virtual network appliances (particularly alongside legacy management systems) while ensuring security from attack and mis-configuration
    • maintaining network stability and service levels without degradation during appliance load and relocation
    • ensuring the appropriate level of resilience to hardware and software failures
    • enabling the creation of virtual network appliances which will run, ideally without recompilation, on any hypervisor and hardware configuration, and integrate “on the fly” into the network operators’ existing EMS, NMS, OSS, BSS and orchestration systems
    • requirement and gap analysis for future technical specifications & standards within ETSI and other relevant standards development organizations

An important milestone to the Phase 1 work was the publication of the first 5 deliverables in October 2013.

The documents (publicly available via www.etsi.org/nfv) include 4 ETSI Group Specifications (GSs) designed to align understanding about NFV across the industry. They cover NFV use cases, requirements, the architectural framework, and terminology.

The 5th GS defines a framework for co-ordinating and promoting public demonstrations of Proof of Concept (PoC) platforms illustrating key aspects of NFV.

The ISG NFV will reach the end of Phase 1 by December 2014, with the publication of the remaining sixteen deliverables.

Specifications

NFV published the first batch of specifications in October 2013, after only 10 months of existence. The following is a list of recently published ETSI specifications on Network Functions Virtualisation. Please refer to the ETSI Work Programme to find further related specifications.

Standard No. Standard title.
GS NFV-PER 001 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); NFV Performance & Portability Best Practises
GS NFV 001 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Use Cases
GS NFV 002 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Architectural Framework
GS NFV 003 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Terminology for Main Concepts in NFV
GS NFV 004 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Virtualisation Requirements
GS NFV-PER 002 Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV); Proofs of Concepts; Framework
 

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

The current work plan is to have all ISG documents from phase 1 completed and published before the end of 2014. Work will begin on the second phase of the ISG's work in November 2014 at NFV#08 meeting in Chandler, AZ, USA.

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

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Repositioning for success at ETSI NFV#7

New leadership, renewed charter, and an enhanced structure to facilitate the transition from requirements to implementation

Santa Clara, CA, USA

The future of ICT may learn from the past

Wandering through the Computer History Museum in Mountain View (at the social gathering of the ETSI Network Functions Virtualisation Industry Specification Group - ETSI NFV ISG), was like a trip down memory lane.

International Business Machines (IBM) mainframes (e.g., 360/370, which I spent many a night working on at the University of Missouri in the 1970s), Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) minicomputers (I was a systems manager for the PDP-11 and VAX-11/780 at McDonnell Douglas in the 1980s), and a slew of computers, calculators, and gadgets whose manufacturers have faded from memory.

But in an austere exhibit rests the system that truly changed the world - the IBM PC.
Aside from its size, price point, and design, what made the PC different was IBM’s decision to open up the platform, decoupling the software from hardware, publishing open specifications, fostering the greatest ecosystem the world has ever known.

Three decades later, networking and telecommunications are bracing for a major transformation as communications platforms prepare to be opened by Software Defined Networking and Network Functions Virtualization, with similar impact to the opening of the computing world.

Defining the future

The 7th meeting of the ETSI NFV ISG was co-hosted by Ericsson and Citrix in the Santa Clara Convention Center, whose warm hospitality, comfortable surroundings, and ideal weather made for a highly successful meeting. 

Attendance surged to over 300 people; not surprisingly the 3 highest attended NFV meetings were held in Silicon Valley (NFV #4 (355), NFV #7 (303), and NFV #2 (285)).

PictureNFV

New leadership for the next phase

Over the past year-and-a-half, the ISG has grown beyond the capability of all but the largest corporate facilities:

  • 37 operators spanning the globe (up 4 since NFV #6 held in May)
  • Mailing list approaching 1,200 participants
  • 226 ISG members (up 18 since NFV #6)
  • 23 Proof of Concepts (PoCs) accepted (up 5 since NFV #6)
  • 15 active work items

NFV #7 marked the last meeting for the Chair (Prodip Sen (HP)) and Vice Chair (Uwe Michel (Deutsche Telekom)), who played a major role in the ISG’s growth and success to date.

Throughout NFV #7, the ISG focused on repositioning the organization for long-term success, an initiative loosely referred to as NFV Phase 2. Among the key outcomes:

  • Elected new leadership, as the current Chair and Vice-Chair stepped down
  • Facilitated the transition from the Requirements Phase to the Implementation Phase
  • Revisited the ISG operational structure in anticipation of the transition
  • Discussed high-level scope for 2015 and beyond

Open elections were held for the NFV ISG Chairman and Vice-Chairman, who recently stepped down from their posts at the previous meeting in May.

Outgoing Chairman Prodip Sen commented "Serving as a founding member and the first chair of the NFV ISG has been an extremely rewarding experience. We started out to create momentum in the industry, and provide guidance on the way forward to the vision. We have achieved these goals, but clearly much still needs to be done. The good thing is that with this global team we have created, there is no dearth of ideas and participation. I am fully confident that the new leadership will continue our positive trajectory towards long-term success."

Outgoing Vice-Chair Uwe Michel stated “When we started the NFV ISG back in 2012, we did not envision such rapid growth and enthusiastic validation. I feel fortunate to be able to work with such a strong leadership team, who are truly committed to achieving an industry vision for NFV.

Steven Wright, AT&T, who formerly led the NFV Infrastructure (INF) working group, was elected the new NFV ISG chairman. "I am excited to guide the NFV ISG as we transition our focus from requirements to implementations. I would also like to thank Prodip Sen and Uwe Michel for their leadership and significant contributions, which have been instrumental to our success."

Tetsuya Nakamura, NTT DOCOMO, who formerly was the Assistant Technical Manager of the NFV Technical Steering Committee (TSC) and Chair of the Software Architecture (SWA) working group, was elected the new NFV ISG Vice-Chair. "I am honored to be elected vice chair of the NFV ISG at such a critical time, as the ISG repositions itself to focus on adoption. We are especially appreciative of my predecessor Uwe Michel, who has been a major part of our success from the beginning."

The ISG continues to make solid progress on the NFV Release 1 baseline. Eleven new deliverables from multiple working groups were made available for public reviews. A liaison statement was approved to invite comments from the many NFV ISG liaisons.

I continue to be pleased with our progress towards NFV release 1, which is targeted towards December”, stated Diego Lopez (Telefonica), NFV Technical Manager and Chair of the NFV Technical Steering Committee. “Each of our technical working groups is making tremendous progress as we worked towards a solid technical baseline, which is critical as NFV Phase 2 gets underway.

Requirements for Interoperability

Another major topic discussed at NFV #7 was the future of NFV ISG, referred to as ‘NFV Phase 2’. The original charter for the ISG, approved in late 2012, is scheduled to expire in January, 2014. Prodip Sen led a robust evening discussion on the future of NFV, assisted by Klaus Martiny, Vice-Chair, Network Operator Council (NOC) and incoming Steven Wright.

Key outcomes from NFV #7 regarding NFV Phase 2:

  • The ISG passed a motion to extend the NFV charter by 2 years, to continue to operate under the current ETSI Terms of Reference (ToR)
  • The ISG accepted a new NFV ISG mission statement, which shared the vision, mission, and values of the NFV ISG:

The NFV ISG’s mission is to facilitate the industry transformation and development of an open, interoperable, ecosystem through specification, implementation and deployment experience. . .

  • Several new contributions on NFV Phase 2 were submitted for consideration, many endorsed by multiple participants
  • The ISG leadership will hold an interim meeting in late September to discuss the proposals and suggestions for NFV Phase 2, in preparation for NFV #8 in mid-November

Interoperability is a key objective for Network Operators”, commented Don Clarke (CableLabs), Chair of the NFV NOC. “In the next phase we intend to intensify our efforts towards achieving interoperability for NFV, which includes normative work where appropriate, formalized dialogue with other industry and standards organizations including open source communities, and a continued emphasis on encouraging open NFV implementations and Proof of Concepts.

At the closing plenary, the new ISG leadership invited the NFV ISG plenary to proactively contribute to the future of NFV, through comments on our documents, proposals for new work items, and recommendations on the organizational structure to position the NFV ISG for long-term success.

Cooperation, openness and open source

While progress since the formation of the ISG (4Q2012) has been tremendous, there is a long way to go. The ISG will be shifting their focus outward, reaching out to the standards bodies, industry groups, and open source projects, to influence their future work programs. A proposal was shared to stimulate discussion on how the NFV ISG can engage with the research community, to leverage their innovations, resources, and ongoing work as well as to create new academic courses to train a new generation of students to be multi-skilled in networks and software. In today’s environment, collaboration is the norm, implementations the target, and speed trumps completeness.

The next meeting of the ETSI NFV ISG (NFV #8) will be held from Nov 17-21 in Chandler, AZ (outside of Phoenix). At that time, the new leadership will assume their responsibilities, and decisions are anticipated on the plan for NFV Phase 2.

NFV-ISG-leadership

NFV ISG Leadership - poised for success
(NFV #7, Santa Clara, CA, August 1, 2014)

 

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How NFV changes the business of telecoms

A new article about how NFV changes the business of telecoms, written by Luis Jorge Romero, Director General of ETSI, has been published on Global Telecom Business, read the full article.

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The (near-term) future for NFV

Expect constructive change as NFV continues to evolve

Okinawa, Japan

G8 okinawaSettling into the meeting rooms at the sixth gathering of the ETSI Network Functions Virtualisation Industry Specification Group (ETSI NFV ISG), we were impressed by the photographs bearing actual signatures of the leaders of the G8 who attended the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit back in July, 2000.

At that meeting, the G8 issued the Okinawa Charter on Global Information Society, which carries the objective of delivering “greater prosperity and deeper peace of mind, and greater stability”.

While NFV may not wield such widespread influence, the 260+ participants at the meeting are intent on transforming the entire telecommunications industry, and could change the world like other telecommunications revolutions through the decades.

First NFV meeting held in Asia

The meeting was graciously hosted by KDDI R&D Laboratories and NTT on the lush and beautiful islands of Okinawa. The host organization was excellent, facilities outstanding and food delicious and meticulously presented. It was the region’s rainy season but even that couldn’t dampen our resolve.

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Proposed NFV Research Agenda for 2014

The TSC#23 meeting of the NFV ISG endorsed the proposed 2014 NFV research agenda aimed at providing guidance to the global research community on topics of relevance to the NFV industry. 

Academic researchers and workshop organizers are encouraged to consider these topics as a source of inspiration for their research efforts. It is hoped that the results of research inspired by these topics will be useful in understanding the fundamental constraints of technology available, and assisting industry to evaluate alternative approaches.

Topics include (but are not limited to):

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NFV related webinars & video available

The links for the following webinars are available here

  • Progressing NFV – live April 2, 2014 - Don Clarke, Chair, Network Operator Council, ETSI NFV ISG; Head of Network Evolution Innovation, BT
  • Making NFV Work – live March 23 2014 - Francisco-Javier Ramón, Chair PER Expert Group, ETSI ISG NFV; Head of Network Virtualisation, GCTO, Telefónica
  • Defining NFV – live April 3rd 2013 - Dr. Prodip Sen, Chair, ETSI NFV ISG; Director, Network Architecture, Verizon Network & Technology

Video – live on 17th October 2013 - Diego López, Technical Manager, ETSI ISG NFV, Head of Technology Exploration, Telefónica I+D

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Happy Birthday ETSI NFV!

Enjoy the video of the NFV social event in Malaga – celebrating the achievements of year 1 and looking at the hopes and plans for year 2

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Embracing NFV: Open Networking and Open Daylight Summits

Over the past few weeks two major events took place in the space of Software Defined Networking: the first was the Open Daylight Summit (ODS) and most recently the fourth installment of the Open Networking Summit (ONS). Both events were held in the Heart of Silicon Valley in the Santa Clara Convention Center.

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NFV one year later

ETSI NFV ISG leadership weighs in on the state of NFV

The fifth meeting of the ETSI Network Functions Virtualization Industry Specification Group (ETSI NFV ISG) marked the one year anniversary of NFV, and a significant turning point for the organization.

ETSI members and delegates descended upon one of the oldest, and southernmost large cities in Europe- Malaga, Spain for NFV#5, as the NFV ISG took another step towards implementation. Interest in NFV remains sky high; meeting participation was capped at 250, and over-subscribed, for the capacity of the venue.

Way back in January, 2013, a group of NFV visionaries of 60 organizations, held the first meeting of the ISG at ETSI HQ on the Cote d’Azur. Since that time, the ISG has made considerable progress:

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Don Clarke speaks to The Register on NFV

Don Clarke, chairman of the NFV ISG Network Operator Council (NOC) was recently interviewed by The Register in an article providing an overview of the NFV concept.

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Video from NFV#4, October 2013 at Sunnyvale

Special report - ETSI shaves years off NFV development time.

Watch the video:

 

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Highlights of the ISG#04 meeting

The fourth ETSI ISG NFV plenary meeting was held on the 30th October to 1st November 2013, in Sunnyvale, USA, and was kindly hosted by Juniper and co-sponsored by IBM.

A new ISG NFV record was set, seeing 350 delegates participating to the busy NFV plenary sessions. Indeed such is the popularity of the NFV meetings especially when held in Silicon Valley, that registration had to be capped. Growth of membership is still high, and 14 additional companies joined ISG NFV in the weeks preceding the NFV#04 meeting, taking total membership to 170 individual companies.

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