Full Steam Ahead for NFV in Phase 2

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Prague in February was the setting of the 9th meeting of the ETSI Network Functions Virtualisation Industry Specification Group (NFV ISG). Perhaps it was the delicious beer (Czechs consume more beer per capita than any other nation in the world), rich heritage (over 1,100 years) or prominence (largest city and capital of the Czech Republic, and one of the most visited cities in all of Europe). The 270 participants descending upon Prague found it to be inviting, and an ideal venue to collaborate.

This was a meeting of firsts - the first NFV ISG meeting in 2015, the launch for NFV Phase 2, the first joint SDO workshop, the same location as the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) Hackfest, and the highest attended ETSI NFV ISG meeting held outside of the U.S.

ETSI hosted the meeting, with excellent accommodations, with opening remarks by ETSI Director General Luis Jorge Romero Saro.

I’m pleased to reaffirm ETSI’s commitment to our NFV Industry Specification Group. ETSI always seeks to develop and use best practices in standardization, and for this reason I’m excited to see the dialogue develop with the open source community”said ETSI Director General Luis Jorge Romero Saro.

As we enter 2015, interest in NFV remains strong and participation continues to increase. The NFV ISG has now grown to 260 organizations, including 37 operators. There are over 1,200 individuals on the mailing lists, 32 active work items, and 21 publications on the ETSI NFV public site.

ETSI NFV ISG Chair Steven Wright (AT&T) commented: ”As Phase 2 gets under way; the NFV ISG remains the center of gravity for NFV. Our goals include taking measured steps towards adoption, interoperability, and establishment of an open NFV ecosystem through close collaboration with the NFV and SDN community.

To achieve its ambitious goals, the NFV ISG repositioned the organization for success, by establishing a new set of working groups representing the NFV Phase 2 priorities (see Figure 1). New leadership was elected for each of the working groups. For the first time, several of the new leaders represent the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs.)

In addition, two key new advisory roles were established in response to the NFV ISG’s goal to collaborate with the broader community. Yun Chao HU (Huawei) was appointed Industry Engagement Officer to advise on the impact of external industry groups on the ISG work programme. Andy Reid (BT) was appointed Regulatory Impact Officer to broaden ISG awareness of security and regulatory requirements.

An important underlying objective in Phase 2 is to adjust course and reprioritize as necessary to ensure the NFV ISG work program remains relevant and timely. The Evolution and Ecosystem (EVE) working group has been tasked with tracking NFV and SDN activities in other industry groups, standards development organizations, and open source projects to enable the NFV ISG to better coordinate with external groups.


Figure 1: NFV Phase 2 Leadership and Organizational Structure

The NFV ISG held a joint workshop (chaired by Klaus Martiny (DT), Vice-Chair of the ETSI NFV ISG Network Operator Council (NOC)) with 3GPP SA5, TMF, and OPNFV to broaden the dialogue on the role of each organization in the NFV community.

OPNFV co-located its first Hackfest with the NFV ISG meeting in order to encourage greater community collaboration during the Hackfest. This afforded an opportunity for both communities to exchange ideas and information, as well as contribute to the initial OPNFV release currently targeted for late April, 2015.

Margaret Chiosi (AT&T), President of OPNFV, observed: “It is no longer feasible to comprehensively analyze the requirements for the NFV Architectural Framework through specifications alone.
OPNFV provides an open reference platform that enables the NFV community to refine requirements based on an actual implementation, accelerate adoption, and validate that a carrier-grade platform is feasible. OPNFV is helping bridge between the standards and Open Source worlds”.

Prodip Sen (HP), Chair of the Board for OPNFV, and former Chair of the ETSI NFV ISG noted: "The open source based approach to interoperability is a more agile and faster approach than traditional standardization, which is absolutely suited to current market conditions. I am very encouraged with the level of engagement and discussion between the NFV ISG and OPNFV communities that we saw here in Prague, and am confident that we will be successful in adopting this approach for our industry. "

During NFV #9, the new Test Experimentation and Open Source (TST) working group hosted a session with representatives from the major upstream projects, including OPNFV, OpenStack, OpenDaylight, Open Networking Foundation, etc. The intent was to encourage collaboration and discuss what steps the NFV ISG can take to improve collaboration and accelerate the overall process to fulfill the requirements with reference implementation code.

Another theme from the meeting was that ‘Security Matters’ (see photo below):

The NFV ISG has received increasing feedback from government organizations about the need to devote attention to security in light of high-visibility breaches. At NFV #9, representatives from various government agencies urged the ISG to address security, privacy, lawful intercept and regulatory issues up front.

Hence, the NFV Security (SEC) working group will be continuing to rise in importance, while they explore how to improve awareness of the threats while issuing best practices, and leveraging significant recent progress for securing the cloud.

Diego Lopez (Telefonica), ETSI NFV ISG Technical Manager indicated: “The NFV ISG is increasingly aware of our responsibility to meet the evolving security needs of the highly diverse applications we are considering, from individual privacy to the support of critical infrastructure.

Figure 2: NFV Security Task Force is on the move!

As the meeting concluded, there was a growing sense of urgency and purpose as the NFV ISG including both operators and vendors took to heart ISG Chair Steven Wright’s words:

  • Engage the industry with NFV
  • Focus on work that matters
  • Avoid duplication of efforts through collaboration
  • Accelerate adoption through coordination
  • Eliminate Not Invented Here (NIH) to achieve our goals

Don Clarke (CableLabs), Chair of the Network Operator Council took a pragmatic view “The NFV ISG is addressing work that cannot be taken on in any other body based on our charter, empowerment by our global operators, core competency and expertise, and unparalleled industry influence and engagement. However, we remain committed to collaborate with the broader industry, as no single industry body can address NFV and for that matter SDN on its own.

As we enter a new, agile, era of industry transformation, operators are empowered to break the traditional waterfall model rules; the interaction between requirements analysis and software development will become blurred. Realizing that cooperation is crucial, the NFV ISG is continuing to pave an innovative path towards adoption. One thing is clear - Software will eat the world and SDN and NFV are the enablers.

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