NFV in ETSI
Founded in November 2012 by seven of the world's leading telecoms network operators, ETSI ISG NFV became the home of Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV).
Almost seven years and over 100 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). The early Proof of Concepts (PoCs) efforts have evolved and led to a series of interoperability events (NFV Plugtests). This large community is still working intensely to develop the required standards for NFV transformation incorporating latest technologies, as well as sharing their experiences of NFV implementation and testing in multi-vendor environments.
ISG NFV, like any other ETSI Industry Specification Group is open to ETSI members and non-members alike, with different conditions depending on ETSI membership status. If you would like to participate in this work, please contact the NFV support team.
Building the Software-based 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.
In a digital world, the innovation cycles accelerate and require greater flexibility and dynamism than hardware-based appliances allow. A hard-wired network with single functions boxes is 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. While the former provides the means to dynamically control the network and the provisioning of networks as a service, the latter offers the capability to manage and orchestrate the virtualization of resources for the provisioning of network functions and their composition into higher-layer network services.
Our Role & Activities
ETSI ISG NFV undertakes work in 2-year phases.
Documents published during the first phase (2013-2014) were considered as pre-standard studies and are sometimes referred to as “Release 1”.
The ISG NFV community has continued its work by developing normative specifications, as well as informative studies. The specification of new features and capabilities in planned releases had as outcome subsequent tranches referenced as "Release 2", "Release 3", etc. Release 2 development of architecture, interfaces and information model aspects (aka stage 2 specifications) ended in Q3 2016 when work on Release 3 started, in parallel to the specification of the implementable protocol and data model solutions (aka stage 3) of interfaces, descriptors and other artifacts.
Going forward, the ISG NFV continues to develop new specifications that meet the needs of the industry, with maintenance cycles for its already published specifications. The ISG NFV dedicates a continuous support for proper referencing of NFV specifications by industry stakeholders, including not only service providers or network equipment vendors, but also other implementers such as open source communities. Progress in the industry is continuously monitored, including feedback from implementations, open source communities, and other standards bodies, and the identification of gaps to be addressed.
Abbreviations of the NFV working groups mentioned in this page:
2019-2020: NFV Release 4
NFV Release 4 specification work has been formally launched in summer 2019. While the specific work items are under progress, key areas of focus for the future NFV Release 4 have been identified, which include:
- NFVI evolution, focusing on enhancements to support lightweight virtualization technologies such as OS containers, optimizing NFV Infrastructure (NFVI) abstraction for reducing the coupling of VNFs to infrastructure, and optimizing networking integration into the infrastructure fabric to ease the connectivity for Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) and Network Services (NSes)
- Enhancing NFV automation and capabilities, covering aspects such as: improving life-cycle management and orchestration, introducing more policy-based management, the simplification of VNF and NS management aspects leveraging virtualization, and handling advances in autonomous networking
- Evolving the NFV-MANO (Management and Orchestration) framework, focusing primarily on optimizing internal NFV-MANO capability exposure and usage, e.g. studying its service-based transformation
- Enhanced reliability and availability introduced via features like NFV-MANO upgrades and MANO robustness
- Accompanying operationalization aspects which include: the simplification of NFV to ease development and deployment of sustainable NFV based solutions, verification (and certification) procedures and mechanisms, and operationalization, integration and use of NFV with other management and network frameworks
- In addition to the above technical areas, several security hardening aspects of NFV and other small specific technical enhancements necessary to maximize the impact of virtualization and future NFV deployments are also expected to be part of the work programme
The "Release 4 Definition" lists all the new features proposed for the Release 4. Among other features that had not been fully completed in the previous Release and have been carried over into Release 4, the list of new features includes:
- Network connectivity integration and operational for NFV
- NFV-MANO automation and autonomous networks
- NFV enhancements for 5G
- Multi-tenancy enhancements for NFV-MANO
- Service-based architecture (SBA) for NFV-MANO
- VNF generic management functions
- Continuous VNF integration, and
- Policy models
The set of Release 3 features that had been carried over into Release 4 comprises:
- NFV-MANO software modification
- Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) in NFV
- Licensing management
- Cloud-native VNFs and container infrastructure management, and
- Security management
Similarly, as in the previous Release, the completion of the specification of features in Release 4 at different stages follows a phased approach, commonly referred to as "drops". As of October 2020, a first drop of interfaces and information model level specifications has been released including part of the aspects concerning "Cloud-native VNFs and container infrastructure management".
2017-2018: NFV Release 3
NFV Release 3 has focused on enriching the NFV Architectural Framework to make NFV “ready” for global deployment and operations. The feature collection period to build Release 3 in 2017 led to a set of 22 new features. By summer 2019, 10 features had been completed, and 2 features had been partly completed to the level of specifying architecture, interfaces and information model. Some features had been closed, and some others were carried over to Release 4.
The set of features for Release 3 can be categorized into three main areas:
- Support for the latest network technologies, such as edge computing and network slicing
- New operational aspects, such as multiple administrative domains, policy framework, management of NFV-MANO, software upgrades/updates of the VNF and of the NFVI, etc.
- Advances in virtualization, such as cloud native VNFs, acceleration technologies, etc.
The "Release 3 Description" provides the list of features that are part of the Release, the relevant technical scope that has been specified, and the corresponding group reports and specifications that have been either updated or newly documented as part of the Release 3 feature work.
The specification work of architecture, interfaces and information model was completed during summer 2019. Below is the set of completed features that Release 3 brings on top of the features and capabilities that had been already specified in Release 2:
- Interfaces for hardware-independent acceleration
- Interfaces for network acceleration for VNF
- Requirements for hypervisor-based virtualisation
- Requirements for the hardware environment in NFV
- Management of NFV-MANO functional entities
- VNF snapshotting
- Policy management framework
- NFV-MANO administrative domains
- Host reservation
- Management and connectivity of multi-site network services
- Network slicing in NFV
- VNF software modification (aka, change current VNF package)
- NFVI software modification
- Service availability level
- Secure sensitive components in NFV framework
- Security management and monitoring for NFV
As of October 2020, the specification of protocols and data model solutions for a number of features listed above has been completed, or partly completed. Among these we can identify the specifications of APIs, descriptors and artifacts concerning features such as "Management of NFV-MANO", "VNF snapshotting", "VNF software modification", and "Policy management framework". Other features are still under way but expected to be completed in 2020. Work on the corresponding enhancements of the testing specifications should start right after. It is worth noting that some features did not pursue or did not require the specification of protocols or data model solutions.
2015-2016: NFV Release 2
The need to produce normative specifications to enable end-to-end interworking of equipment and services formed a fundamental part of this phase.
The ISG NFV decided to group most of its normative work into "NFV Release 2". Many other reports were also produced, so the Release 2 documentation became a subset of the actual work during the 2015-2016 phase. The work covered the common specification stages of requirements, architecture, interfaces, and information models and protocols all the way through to the specification of test cases and suites.
Release 2 was defined by selecting and prioritizing a set of key capabilities for making NFV deployable at scale yet ensuring the interoperability of NFV solutions used therein.
The main technical focus of Release 2 covered the specification of models and interfaces concerning diverse capabilities (as listed below) for the interoperability across the NFV-MANO functional blocks (VIM, VNFM and NFVO) and towards external systems, according to the reference points specified in the NFV Architectural Framework.
The set of capabilities specified in Release 2 comprises:
- Management aspects concerning virtualized resources, including information, provisioning, reservation, capacity, performance and fault management. This scope of management concerns to the functionality produced by the VIM and exposed over the Or-Vi and Vi-Vnfm reference points
- Lifecycle management, fault, configuration and performance management of VNFs. This management functionality is offered by the VNFM as a producer entity and exposed over the Or-Vnfm and Ve-Vnfm reference points
- Lifecycle management, fault and performance management of Network Services. This functionality is produced by the NFVO and exposed over the Os-Ma-nfvo reference point
- Performance metrics associated to virtualised resources, VNF and NS
- VNF Package management, which is produced by the NFVO and exposed over the Or-Vnfm and Os-Ma-nfvo reference points
- Software image management
- VNF information modelling, including the VNF Descriptor and VNF Packaging
- NS information modelling, which covers the NS Descriptor, VNF Forwarding Graphs and PNF Descriptors
- Hardware-independent acceleration
The ISG NFV documentation of requirements, interfaces and architecture (aka stage 2), which mostly uses the acronym NFV-IFA (standing for “NFV Interfaces and Architecture”) is distributed as follows:
- NFV-IFA010 specifies the functional requirements of NFV-MANO and its functional blocks covering the set of capabilities listed above
- NFV-IFA005, NFV-IFA006, NFV-IFA007, NFV-IFA008, NFV-IFA013 specify the requirements and interfaces covering the functionalities listed above, considering the scope of functionality of the respective producer NFV-MANO functional blocks and the reference points
- NFV-IFA027 specifies the performance metrics regarding virtualised resources, VNF and NS
- NFV-IFA002, NFV-IFA003 and NFV-IFA004 specify aspects related to hardware-independent acceleration
- NFV-IFA011 and NFV-IFA014 specify requirements and information modelling of NFV descriptors and artefacts, such as the VNFD, VNF Packaging and NSD.
- NFV-IFA015, NFV-IFA016 and NFV-IFA017 consolidate the UML information modelling and the associated modelling guidelines of information elements that have been developed in other reference points specifications (see above). Touchpoints in between the NFV IM and external organization’s information models are documented in NFV-IFA024
In terms of protocols and data models specifications (aka stage 3), which use the acronym NFV-SOL (standing for “NFV Solutions”), REST-based APIs have been specified covering the functionalities of the interfaces specified on the reference points Os-Ma-nfvo (in between the OSS/BSS and NFVO) (refer to NFV-SOL005), Or-Vnfm (in between the NFVO and VNFM) (refer to NFV-SOL003), and Ve-Vnfm (in between the VNF/EM and VNFM) (refer to NFV-SOL002). As part of the security enhancements required for authorizing the access to the APIs, additional provisions have been specified (refer to NFV-SEC022), which is referred by the "Specification of common aspects for RESTful NFV-MANO APIs" (refer to NFV-SOL013).
For the NFV descriptors (such as VNFD and NSD), two data model solutions have been specified. The first leverages the “OASIS TOSCA Simple Profile in YAML” specification (refer to NFV-SOL001), and the second provides a YANG-based representation (refer to NFV-SOL006). And finally, in terms of other NFV artefacts, the VNF and PNF Packaging (NFV-SOL004) and NSD file structure specifications (NFV-SOL007) leverage the OASIS Cloud Service Archive (CSAR) format specification. For the case of the NFV artefacts, additional security enhancements are also specified, for the VNF Packaging (refer to NFV-SEC021).
Committing to providing high quality specifications to ensure broad and rapid adoption of NFV standards by the industry, OpenAPITM representations of the RESTful NFV-MANO APIs have been provided since versions V2.4.1 of the respective specification, available on the ETSI NFV public wiki.
As the final step in the specification process, relevant NFV-TST (standing for “NFV Testing”) specifications are the "Guidelines on Interoperability Testing for MANO" (NFV-TST007) and the "API Conformance Testing Specification" (NFV-TST010).
In addition to the documents listed above, ETSI NFV has produced many more specifications and reports on topics such as reliability (documents which use the acronym NFV-REL, standing for “NFV Reliability and Availability”), security (using the acronym NFV-SEC) and NFV evolution and its ecosystem (documents using the NFV-EVE, standing for “NFV Evolution and Ecosystem”), such as studies to address new use cases, interworking with other technologies, etc.
Furthermore, it is worth highlighting that as part of improving the published specifications and addressing feedback from implementations, Release 2 specifications have gone through several rounds of maintenance, typically republishing specifications twice a year. As of October 2020, V2.8.1 is the latest version of published specifications concerning protocols and data models. Furthermore, in 2020, the set of Release 2 specifications was augmented with a specification of end-to-end NFV-MANO procedures (NFV-SOL016) and a YAML data model specification for descriptor-based virtualised resource management on the Or-Vi and Vi-Vnfm reference points (NFV-SOL014).
For an introduction to the Release 2 content and additional description about the capabilities that have been specified, see also the NFV Release 2 description document, available in the ISG NFV "Open" area.
The initial focus in the first two years of the ISG NFV was to help the industry build a culture and share a common understanding on the important concepts in network virtualization. The work started in direct response to address the technical challenges of network virtualization that were highlighted in the original vision outlined in the joint-operator white paper published in October 2012. The resulting “pre-standardization” documents were set:
- 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 first important milestone was the publication of the first five ETSI Group Specifications (GSs) documents in October 2013. Four of them were designed to align understanding about NFV across the industry. They covered NFV use cases (NFV 001), virtualization requirements (NFV 004), an architectural framework (NFV 002), and terminology (NFV 003). The fifth one defined a framework for co-ordinating and promoting public demonstrations of Proof of Concept (PoC) platforms illustrating key aspects of NFV (NFV-PER 002).
In 2014, the publication pace accelerated with the release of 11 other documents focusing in different technical areas such as NFV Infrastructure, including compute, hypervisor and network resources (with documents tagged as "NFV-INF"), NFV management and orchestration (tagged as "NFV-MAN"), the architecture of the VNF (tagged as "NFV-SWA"), and associated functional and non-functional security, reliability and performance areas.
With over 100 NFV publications and over 50 draft specifications in progress it can be tricky to find a document. In order to assist you please find the following guidelines:
Search for all ISG NFV publications.
Search for specifications within the NFV Architecture Framework:
Find publicly available NFV specifications via the NFV committee page, and subscribe for alerts on updates of specifications.
Search for Drafts in progress via the ETSI Work Programme.
News from the NFV Industry Specification Group
The direct link to refer to this blog is https://www.etsi.org/newsroom/blogs/blog-nfv
The ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG) has completed the initial release of ETSI GS NFV-SOL 014 titled "YAML data model specification for descriptor-based virtualised resource management". The specification focuses on a set of YAML-based data models used between NFVO and VIM (Or-Vi reference point), and also between VNFM and VIM (Vi-Vnfm reference point) for exchanging information on virtualised resources and their management. The work item and resulting document addresses specification gaps in the area of virtualised resource management and aim at enhancing the integration and interoperability of VNFM and NFVO with VIM solutions.
In the ETSI NFV specifications, interfaces and information models for the Or-Vi and Vi-Vnfm reference points have been specified in ETSI GS NFV-IFA 005 and ETSI GS NFV-IFA 006 respectively. Based on those specifications, the objective of ETSI GS NFV-SOL 014 is to define a set of YAML-based data models for representing information exchanged over these reference points as input and outputs to perform virtualised resource management. The descriptor-based virtualised resource management assumes a type of VIM which supports templates declaring parameters, requirements, lifecycle and composition of sets of virtualised resources.
Following intense technical work, ETSI NFV has just released ETSI GS NFV-SOL 016, the first stage 3 specification of NFV-MANO procedures in NFV Release 2 addressing interactions across several NFV-MANO functional blocks and/or interfaces. This specification builds on the ETSI NFV-MANO API specifications ETSI GS NFV-SOL 005, ETSI GS NFV-SOL 003 and ETSI GS NFV-SOL 002 which have defined the mandatory and optional operations and data attributes per individual NFV-MANO interface. As these specifications are focusing on individual interfaces, it is left up to the operator or the integrator to stitch together the information across different NFV-MANO interfaces to realize the NFV-MANO procedures involving interactions across several NFV-MANO functional blocks and/or interfaces, also referred to as end-to-end procedures. This might lead to various interpretations of how the end-to-end NFV-MANO procedures should work. ETSI GS NFV-SOL 016 defines procedures for selected key NFV-MANO procedures with the target to improve interoperability end-to-end.
The first released version of ETSI GS NFV-SOL 016 addresses five selected key NFV-MANO procedures, namely on-boarding of a VNF package, instantiation of a network service, termination of a network service instance, scaling of VNF instances in a network service instance and changing the external connectivity of VNF instances in a network service instance.
The ETSI NFV community met for its twenty ninth plenary meeting (NFV#29) from 17 to 21 February at the Home of NFV, ETSI Headquarters, in Sophia-Antipolis, France. This time, the plenary meeting took place amidst the unfortunate situation, the Coronavirus outbreak that has hit so many countries and seriously impacted standardization work, and life in general almost worldwide. Consequently, some of our delegates were not able to travel and attend the meeting physically. Our best wishes to all of you all around the world who have been impacted by the outbreak, "wishing you a good and quick recovery".
Addressing the impact of this outbreak on the handling of the plenary meeting, ETSI provided outstanding support, as usual, by enabling remote access for participants that could not travel. Furthermore, the ISG and working group officials made a very good job of adapting the schedule and working procedures to facilitate the active participation and contributions of the remote delegates. As for those of us that had the opportunity to attend the plenary physically, ETSI had provided a very useful new facility: the delegates participating F2F could check-in for the first time by scanning their meeting QR code using a check-in station in the ETSI lobby.
All in all, despite the circumstances, the plenary meeting was once again a success. All working groups made steady progress in most of the work items that are currently being developed as part of the Releases 3 and 4.
With regards to Release 4 work, Marcus Brunner (Swisscom), chair of the Network Operators Council (NOC) provided additional input from the network operators at the closing plenary. Some of the discussion points concerned the direction in which the specification of the cloud-native capabilities in NFV is being performed, including containers and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). On behalf of the NOC, Marcus also highlighted the importance of deeply embracing more efficient CI/CD and software upgrade mechanisms to cope with the challenges that operators are having for integrating and maintaining current and future NFV deployments. The plenary welcomed the input from the operator community and acknowledged the need for the ETSI NFV to stay focused and address the challenges with diligence.
A couple of weeks after this meeting, ETSI published a brand new animated video explaining the importance of virtualizing network functions in just two minutes.
As ETSI NFV has done on previous occasions, there was an evening session. This time the topic was not about ETSI NFV work program matters, or discussions specific to NFV technologies. Instead, colleagues from ETSI CTI introduced the new working methods and tools that ETSI are preparing to make the development of the specifications more agile. A demo enabled the delegates to see the already advanced development status of these tools. Several ETSI NFV delegates provided their feedback, which was also greatly welcomed by the presenters. As a matter of fact, several working groups in the ETSI NFV already make use of agile and software development tools while performing their work. I would say that the ETSI NFV has been a pioneer in ETSI in making use of version control, code development and bug tracking tools.
ETSI ISG NFV was warmly welcomed back to Japan for NFV#28! Five years have passed since the group was in Okinawa in May 2014 for NFV#6.
This time, the ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG) met from 2 to 6 December 2019 at Across Fukuoka in Fukuoka, Japan. Fukuoka is located on the north of Kyushu, the southernmost of the four major Japanese islands. Fukuoka is well known for its local food, especially, the Hakata-Ramen, which are extremely tasteful and popular. In addition, it was the perfect season to see autumn leaves in Japan.
In the opening plenary, Diego Lopez the ISG chairman, shared his current perspectives on NFV standardization and the industry’s landscape using a Japanese cartoon. I feel the technology trends around the network industry are getting shorter whilst the scope continues to broaden in response to the demands of network technology evolution, the expansion of open source, and new use cases. I think our ETSI NFV community is adjusting towards the right way forward from a standards point of view and cooperating with other SDOs remains important. Release 4 is going at full speed, and as an example, the discussion around container technology and its adaptation for NFV use cases is gaining much more momentum, with an increasing number of work items and related contributions.
For its 27th plenary meeting, the ETSI Industry Specific Group (ISG) on Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) met at Orange Gardens, the recent Research and Innovation Campus of Orange, located in Châtillon, a small town in the outskirts of Paris, France. The meeting is to be remembered as the one where the contents of NFV Release 4 started to materialize with the approval of 8 work items.
The opening session started with an uplifting presentation from Diego Lopez, the chairman of the ISG, highlighting the challenges to be addressed by standardization bodies to cope with the transformation of the telco industry ecosystem and processes. I liked the comment he made to invite delegates to resist the temptation of creating new terms and acronyms (e.g. Cloud-Native Network Functions / CNF vs. Virtualised Network Functions / VNF) to catch-up with buzzwords. After all, whether the software of a VNF is designed according to cloud-native patterns or not, the VNF remains a VNF!
After the opening plenary, the bulk of the work was performed during three intense days where delegates divided in six working groups to process hundreds of contributions.
After a year long effort, ETSI has just released the first specification of a Yet Another Next Generation (YANG) data model for NFV descriptors, ETSI GS NFV-SOL 006. The specification is based on ETSI GS NFV-IFA 011 and ETSI GS NFV-IFA 014, and can be found on the ETSI server, with the corresponding YANG files can be found on the Forge website. The specification covers VNFD, PNFD and NSD. It enables on-boarding of NFV descriptors on YANG-based MANO functions, in a standard way. The flexibility and the ability to define network services, and to do it quickly is the true strength of the specification.
The ETSI NFV community met for its twenty sixth plenary meeting (NFV#26) from 20-24 May 2019 at NFV’s home, ETSI Headquarters, in Sophia-Antipolis, France.
Visiting the breezy and sunny Provence and Cote d’Azur in May is always quite an experience. Many of our meeting delegates were greeted this time at Nice Airport, by photographers (and paparazzi). The reason for such a warm welcome might not be due to the Cannes Film Festival taking place the same week, but instead due to “our NFV stars” setting down, yet again, for another productive and successful meeting.
While the NFV#25 plenary meeting served as a warm-up for what would come after Release 3, NFV#26 should be forever remembered as the kicking-off of Release 4. Let me elaborate more on this.
Refreshed after the winter break and starting 2019 with renewed energy, the ISG community met for its 25th ISG plenary meeting in the sunny Beijing, hosted by Huawei Technologies.
The meeting was held in the week after the Chinese New Year, which left the cheerful spark of the celebrations over Beijing city.
Several elections were held during February and the formal appointments were made at the NFV#25 plenary. Two ISG Vice-chair positions were filled, by the re-election of Cristina Badulescu, Ericsson and Bruno Chatras, Orange for the next term. The new Security WG Chair is Alex Leadbeater, BT, a veteran in the SEC WG and the former SEC WG Vice-chair. Stefan Arntzen, Huawei, current Reliability WG Chair was re-elected and will continue for another term.
A productive meeting closing a prolific year, the 24th NFV ISG meeting had a fortunate setting in a mildly weathered first week of December on French Riviera.
The NFV#24 meeting was marked by some internal community metamorphosis, such as the approval of the restructuring of the ISG and the election of a new Network Operators Council (NOC) Chairman.
Don Clarke (CableLabs), our NFV NOC Chairman over the last years, is one of the biggest industry advocates for ETSI NFV work and its network transformation potential to support the service providers. He kept us connected to the operators’ perspective and the practical deployment aspects, and for all this I’ve got good indication that I’m not alone in feeling thankful for all Don’s hard work.
We welcomed Marcus Brunner (Swisscom), the new NOC Chairman, as we dived right away into the latest NOC priorities while Marcus walked us through them on behalf of the NOC. The operators consolidated view on current deployment pain points, encouraged the NFV community to preserve focus on multi-vendor orchestration systems, simplifying procedures and APIs, as well as completing specifications to support essential network operations such as VNF migration, updates and upgrades, multi-site connectivity.
One of the week’s highlights was the pre-planned co-location with a rising star, ETSI ISG ZSM (Industry Specification Group Zero touch network and Service Management). The evening joint workshop was moderated by the two ISG Chairs and their respective lady Vice-Chairs. In the very well-attended workshop, the young ISG ZSM introduced the ZSM current architecture as defined in the ZSM 002 specification, and afterwards both ISG representatives presented the results of an early joint analysis on identifying the relationship in between ZSM and NFV, and the next steps in their collaboration.
The NFV#24 week rewarded us with good progress in exchange for the long working days we have spent together drafting, reviewing and revising contributions, out of reach from the warming sun of the French Riviera.
I’d never been to Montreal (or Quebec) until this summer, and I had the double pleasure of visiting Montreal just before my holidays, as well as soon after them. These visits allowed me to get acquainted with Quebecois summer (surprisingly warmer than back home, in Southern Spain), several delicacies (both poutine and the amazing smoked meat, and some really good microbreweries), the crowded Montreal airport (at least on Friday evenings), and the easygoing nature of a city that makes life so smooth and work so productive.
And a productive week it was indeed. It was the first meeting after I was appointed chair of ETSI NFV for a second term, an honor I really appreciate and that I can only respond to by committing to do my best to keep ISG NFV where this extraordinary community has already brought it: at the core of the radical transformation towards the next generation of networks. And the leadership team is strengthened with the re-appointment of Joan Triay (NTT DOCOMO) as chair of the Technical Steering Committee, leaving the technical management of our extensive work program in the best possible hands.
It was also a meeting for consolidating our vision for the future, defining a common view that, with all the natural differences among the diverse organizations contributing to the NFV effort, will guide us in a new two-year term for the ISG. There was an in-depth discussion about the future of the group during one of our much-loved evening sessions, and the goals for the new term were agreed and submitted to the ETSI Director General for approval, just in time to be discussed at the September ETSI Board meeting.The initial phase, in which the basic NFV concepts and the NFV architectural framework were defined, established a firm foundation for the extensive specification work required to enable an open ecosystem for this new technology. Building on this foundation, as well as climbing a very steep learning curve, required the two first terms of the ISG, with the third that is about to be completed, focused on making the NFV promise suitable for real operations, and establishing the baseline for telecommunications and enterprise networks evolution, infrastructure deployment, service development, and management automation in a software-defined networking world.
What is more, the ISG has managed to explore and enhance the consensus mechanisms required to more rapidly define standards by fostering collaboration with SDOs and related initiatives, especially open-source communities. We have facilitated fruitful practical collaboration with these communities, and the industry in general, boosting prospects for interoperability, as demonstrated by the three successful interoperability events held to date. The ETSI NFV community intends to continue consolidating, improving and evolving the NFV foundation specifications as the key enablers of an ecosystem and strengthening the cross-industry collaborative mechanisms which will boost progress and ensure an agile response to the evolving industry needs.
As I flew to Sophia Antipolis for the twenty second plenary session of the ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG), I reflected how far we had come since publication of the now famous white paper introducing the NFV concept.
Until that moment in October 2012, the term “Network Function Virtualisation” did not exist, it had emerged from a meeting of the founding group in Paris in the summer of 2012 to distinguish the topic from SDN which by then was gaining momentum. We were all experienced telecommunications R&D leaders who knew that our goals were ambitious and would be highly disruptive to the industry, so we would need to be extraordinarily diligent to bring all the industry players on board, large and small, and with everyone able to be heard and to contribute their energies and expertise.
We chose ETSI to host the effort for many different reasons, but perhaps the most important ones were transparency of governance proven by many years of global standards development, and open membership for small players, especially independent software vendors whom we felt would be important contributors. We have never regretted the decision to come to ETSI who have provided fantastic support, and the rigorously consensus-driven decision-making process has kept us grounded.
All of that seemed so long ago and I couldn’t have imagined that along the way I would move to the United States and start a new career in the cable industry while retaining my role as chair of the ETSI NFV Network Operator Council. After a 40+ year R&D career in BT, it was a seamless transition that was as unlikely as it was life changing for me.
Looking back over the past six years, there have been moments of great pride, such as when agreement was reached in a late-night session on the ETSI NFV Architectural Framework, interspersed with moments of doubt as strident voices from the world of software repeatedly criticized our efforts.
As with all things, time is a great leveler, five years on the NFV Architectural Framework has withstood the test of time and is being deployed at scale, and open source groups have begun to realize that the telecommunications networks environment is very different to the enterprise IT environment. Telecommunications networks are critical national infrastructures that underpin global commerce and security and as such demand analytical rigor and auditability that only implementations based on high quality specifications endorsed by the key stakeholders can provide.
Even as we took a page from the open source book and opened our draft specifications for external scrutiny and feedback and continually sought ways to speed up our work. And we founded OPNFV to enable open source groups to collaborate and provide feedback to ETSI NFV.
The NFV community met for the 21st time (NFV#21) from February 26 to March 2, in a familiar setting:
The flawless organization, the friendly faces greeting us, the countless wonderful coffee machines, everything was normal. What was less familiar: it snowed. On the Cote d’Azur. Twice(!). For a total of approximately 15cm. This is very rare in this region. Apparently, the last time it snowed was during NFV#1, back in January 2013. While we are solving the challenges for NFV, the weather is telling us we can easily deal with another one!
Despite the predictable flight delays resulting from the frigid European weather, the event was well attended by over 80 members of the core team. And it was a busy, productive week.
Work on Release 3 is well under way. There are currently 17 new features being actively developed, along with 15 active work items related to Release 3. In addition, multiple Release 2 deliverables (13 as of now) are being currently propagated to Release 3 (with their corresponding work items). At NFV#21, a third maintenance cycle for Release 2 work items was also approved, so the maintenance work will continue for the first half of 2018. That’s a lot of balls up in the air at the same time, and it’s a remarkable achievement that this highly focused group can pull this off.
The results of the 2nd ETSI NFV Plugtests were center stage at this meeting: the findings were presented to the plenary and discussed within the TST working group who will incorporate the feedback into their documents going forward. Clearly the industry is progressing with more energy compared with just one year ago. The Plugtests results will be summarized in a separate blog post and presented at upcoming conferences.
Two new working group leaders were elected since the last plenary meeting: Julien Maisonneuve (Nokia) and Ulrich Kleber (Huawei). Julien brings extensive leadership experience, while Uli brings new perspectives including valuable open source experience. These roles require a lot of personal commitment and long hours across multiple time zones. We are very grateful to both of them.
With the publication of ETSI GS NFV-SOL005, the specification of the RESTful APIs exposed by an NFV Orchestrator (NFVO) towards operations support systems (OSS), the ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG) has successfully met its objective to deliver a full set of API specifications enabling an open ecosystem where Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) will be interoperable with independently developed management and orchestration systems, and where the components of a management and orchestration system are themselves interoperable.
Encouraging interoperability within an open ecosystem was a key objective for ETSI NFV when it was launched in late 2012 by global carriers.
These API specifications are the result of a wide industry consensus. Compliance to them permits a wide range of multi-vendors deployment scenarios. For example, a VNF can be managed by a generic VNF Manager (VNFM) function (stand-alone or combined with an NFVO), an NFVO can consume the services of a VNF-specific VNFM, and the services exposed by an NFVO can be consumed by higher-level service orchestration functions.
Furthermore, the ISG has completed revisions of two previously published API specifications which detail the REST APIs between an NFV Orchestrator (NFVO) and a VNF Manager (VNFM), and between a VNFM and a VNF or its Element Manager, respectively ETSI GS NFV-SOL 003 and ETSI GS NFV-SOL 002, completed in July 2017. Revised versions have been approved in December 2017, the main change being the support of a TLS-based option for controlling API access authorization (as an alternative to the use of OAuth 2.0).
The ETSI Industry Specification Group on NFV is developing a set of specifications and reports with the goal to enable an open NFV market, where Virtualised Network Functions (VNFs) are interoperable and packaged in a way that is independent of the vendor supplying them or the service provider consuming them, are interoperable with independently developed management systems, and are operable in a manner that is independent from the underlying hardware.
Since its creation the ISG has produced over 60 specifications and reports. It is of paramount importance to the ISG to make sure that the specifications it produces meets the expectations of the industry.
The ISG has created a survey to help understand which of these specifications are the most useful to the industry. Should you wish to participate to this survey, please follow this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NFV_Industry_Adoption
The ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG) met on 4-8 December 2017 for its twentieth plenary meeting (NFV#20) at ETSI Headquarters in Sophia-Antipolis, France. This time, the breezy and sunny Provence & Cote d’Azur in the spring changed to a rather chilly and icy setting, but nothing that our brave ETSI NFV ISG delegates could not handle perfectly with heated discussions and some extra coffee (or tea).
As reported in previous posts, the NFV ISG has been planning and progressing the set of Release 3 feature reports. The latest interim NFV Announcement report provides an overview of the progress made by the different NFV ISG working groups until and up to NFV#19. At the NFV#20 meeting, a significant step forward was achieved with approval to create the related normative work items. But this meeting wasn’t all about Release 3, as the working groups were also very busy completing the second round of Release 2 maintenance work.
Describing all the great work performed by the working groups and NFV ISG delegates worldwide is not an easy task. The meeting venue was again the perfect setting for many intense interactions and discussions. As Technical Manager, my sincere appreciation and thanks go out to all the delegates for the work achieved as well as the excellent collaboration between the working groups.
Among the many highlights at NFV#20, there was one shadow; NFV#20 was the meeting in which, unfortunately, we said goodbye to Yun Chao Hu (EVE WG Chairman, Huawei), a long-standing NFV contributor from the inception of NFV. Yun Chao has worked exceptionally hard to help our work. An award for Yun Chao’s outstanding work and support to the NFV ISG was delivered by our ISG Chairman, Diego Lopez (Telefonica). We wish to Yun Chao “all the best in your future professional tasks, and hope to see you again in other places”.
Last week in Denver, CableLabs hosted over 130 delegates from all over the world to the 19th plenary session of the ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group, the cradle and main playground for the Network Function Virtualization technologies that are bringing radical transformation to the telecommunications industry. With over 300 member companies including 38 global network operators, ETSI NFV is the leading forum developing the foundation international standards for NFV.
This blogpost provides a snapshot report on the progress of ETSI NFV standardization.
The ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG) has completed an essential step towards enabling an open ecosystem where Virtualised Network Functions (VNFs) will be interoperable with independently developed management and orchestration systems, and where the components of a management and orchestration system are themselves interoperable.
The ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG) met for its eighteenth plenary meeting (NFV#18) at ETSI Headquarters in Sophia-Antipolis, France. Springtime on the breezy and sunny Cote d’Azur was the ideal setting to replenish the batteries of the hard working ETSI NFV ISG delegates during a very busy week!
I'm the Vice-Chair of the Testing, Implementation and Open Source (TST) Working Group at the ETSI NFV ISG.
In the test industry for the past 20 years, I have been working at Ixia for the past 11 years, always in the product management team for wireless test products. Most of my experience has been with mobility testing: GSM, UMTS, LTE, etc.
ETSI, through its Center for Testing and Interoperability (CTI) recently held its first ever NFV PlugtestsTM event in January. In addition to the wise decision to hold it in Leganes, Spain, just outside of beautiful and sunny Madrid, I would qualify the event a technical success. I explain why below.
Interviewed at MWC, Diego Lopez Senior Technology Expert at Telefonica, and Chairman of ETSI NFV ISG, discusses the results of the first NFV Plugtests in Madrid, the publication of Release 2 specifications and the Release 3 work.
Bilbao-Spain February 21-24, 2017
The ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group met for its seventeenth plenary meeting (NFV#17) in the beautiful city of Bilbao in northern Spain hosted by the University of the Basque Country, Faculty of Engineering. In many ways this was a milestone meeting, a new leadership team was elected, key NFV specifications were approved for publication, a joint session with the Open Source MANO (OSM) community was held, and the latest joint-operator NFV white paper outlining the priorities for 5G was timed for publication during this meeting.
Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
Today, twenty-three network operators published a white paper to guide the industry on priorities for NFV to deliver the industry vision for 5G systems: “Network Operator Perspectives on NFV priorities for 5G”. The network operator co-authors include Bell Canada, BT, CableLabs, CenturyLink, China Mobile, China Unicom, Colt, Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, KT, NTT, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, Portugal Telecom, Rogers, SK Telecom, Sprint, STC, Swisscom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telenor, and Vodafone. As managing editor for this white paper, I worked closely with colleagues from these leading organisations to document some key consensus requirements that we want the 5G standards community to take into account in their upcoming specification work.
Authors: Diego Lopez, NFV ISG Chairman, Joan Triay NFV TSC Chair & Peter Wörndle NFV TSC Vice Chair
The ETSI NFV ISG has just concluded their last plenary meeting for 2016 (that was precisely NFV#16) with the attendance of 175 delegates from 60 organizations. NFV#16 was hosted from December 12th to 15th by Huawei in Shenzhen, China.
The meeting kicked off with a Huawei NFV workshop, specifically focused on the evolution of NFV, with the horizon that has become common when talking about the next generation of networking: the year 2020.
Next steps: ETSI’s NFV ISG and the road to 5G
The ETSI NFV ISG (Industry Specification Group) has a new chairman in Diego Lopez, Head of Technology Exploration & Standards at Telefónica, and a new lease on life. ISGs are supposed to kick-start technology areas, not permanently rule them, but NFV ISG has been granted a two year extension, in part to mesh NFV capabilities with 5G requirements.
NFV ISG: a long way in a short time with further still to go
Diego Lopez, Telefónica, explains why it is important to incorporate 5G into NFV ISG's analysis for the coming NFV release, since NFV is now recognised as an essential enabling technology for 5G.
The work program of ETSI NFV ISG for 2015 was very ambitious, with a majority of activities committed to conclude during this first year of the ISG two-year renewed term, and intended to produce the set of normative documents that were generally referred as ETSI NFV Release 2.
Many of these activities are completed or just awaiting the completion of the last procedural steps to be officially published. This announcement provides a brief report on these accomplishments, structured around an introduction to the completed (informative) reports and a preview of the Release 2 description, which we expect to publish by May 2016.
NFV#13 took place on 16-19 February in Dublin, Ireland at the impressive Croke Park stadium, the fourth largest stadium in Europe.
Thanks to the hosts Cobham Wireless and the sponsors OPENET, ETSI NFV ISG members were treated to a pre-event workshop on Monday 15 February that covered the state of the art of NFV initiatives, with presentations from Intel, Telefonica, Luxoft, Stratus Technologies and EANTC.
The week that followed was certainly intense for the 210 delegates – although the work was somewhat balanced by a very pleasant social event in the Croke Park Player’s Lounge.
ETSI NFV descends on the Big Apple for NFV #12
The 12th meeting of the ETSI Network Functions Virtualisation Industry Specification Group (ETSI NFV ISG) was held in Jersey City, NJ (USA), just across the Hudson River from New York City. Surrounded by the stunning Manhattan skyline, the locale offered an excellent venue for the Industry Group driving the NFV ecosystem.
Manhattan Skyline, from Jersey City, NJ, location for NFV #12
During their 11th Plenary in San Jose, California, ETSI ISG NFV Officials and Working Group chairmen provided an overview of the group's achievements to date (Phase 1: 2013-2014) together with a snapshot of the ongoing Phase 2 work due for completion early 2016.
This was done in the form of a set of 6 short tutorials, each presented by a Working Group Official. Telecom TV was present and filmed these tutorials which are now available as a good overview for NFV newcomers.
See the 6 videos here...
ETSI NFV Announcement on Document Availability
During the first six months of its second phase, the ETSI NFV ISG has been actively working on the development of normative specifications for the reference points identified by the NFV Architecture Framework, addressing the interoperability goals that constitute its key objective, and on continuing the exploration of NFV technical aspects in the essential areas identified during the inception of this second phase. This has been performed in a framework of continuous and tight collaboration with those external bodies (SDOs and open-source projects) most directly concerned with NFV technologies.
One important milestone in this development, aimed to facilitate open collaboration with external bodies and the industry and academia at large, has been the decision to make all NFV draft documents publicly available (see NFV ISG Open area).
ETSI NFV returns to Silicon Valley, in conjunction with the NFV/SDN community
Summertime is typically a time for holidays, family, and a break from the hectic pace of our professional lives. But not in Silicon Valley, where the 11th meeting was held for the ETSI Network Functions Virtualisation Industry Specification Group (NFV ISG). In fact, with the OpenDaylight Summit, MEF Quarterly meeting also being held in the same week, it remains as busy as ever.
NFV is happening and it’s big !!
Some metrics were shared during NFV#10. And the result is amazing!
- 100s of worldwide industry members and participants have produced more than 6000 contributions since day#1
- More importantly Phase#1 specifications are being leveraged for real implementations
- And we have accepted more than 35 multi-vendor POCs that prove NFV is happening for real!
First China Meeting, Open Source Approach on Document Transparency and Availability
Hainan Island, the southern-most tip of China, was the tropical setting of the 10th meeting (NFV #10) of the ETSI Network Functions Virtualisation Industry Specification Group (NFV ISG) held in mid-May. The ~200 participants descending upon Sanya found it to be a spacious and hospitable venue to collaborate and experience the best of what China has to offer.
Figure 1 – Beautiful Sanya, site of NFV #10 hosted by Huawei
Source: Klaus Martiny, DT (Vice-Chair, NFV Network Operators Council)
Last week three events took place at the NOKIA headquarters in Helsinki: the NFV ISG leadership team met for a day to discuss progress and future direction for the ISG, the IFA Working Group held a 1-day joint session with 3GPP SA 5 to align their activities and this was followed by an IFA Working Group interim meeting.
You might need to refresh the page to be able to view the video.
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.
New leadership, organization, and renewed focus on implementation
While much of the country was coping with sub-freezing temperatures, the ETSI Network Functions Virtualization Industry Specification Group (NFV ISG) convened its 8th and final meeting under its original charter in the desert sunshine in Scottsdale. Intel graciously hosted the meeting, arranging excellent accommodations and hospitality throughout the week.
Video from 1st ETSI NFV PoC ZONE, October 2014 in Düsseldorf
Around 100 delegates made the trip to Sophia Antipolis in late September.
Summary of the week
The ISG made good progress toward closing the few remaining open issues in the current release of documents. Of the 167 open issues originally identified, 136 are now closed (about 81%).
With a few weeks remaining to NFV#8 in Arizona, we should be in good shape to close the remaining issues by the opening of the meeting. While closing open issues remains our number one priority, issues that cannot be resolved can be captured in the ISG gap analysis document for resolution in ongoing work.
Introducing OPNFV, an integral step towards NFV adoption
Two years later
Next month marks the two year anniversary of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), which has taken the industry by storm and transformed the relationship between major operators and network standards.
As we plan to return to Germany next month for the SDN and OpenFlow World Congress, the event where the landmark NFV White Paper was published in October, 2012 and the ETSI NFV initiative was announced, many in the NFV community are reexamining a fundamental goal that has guided NFV from the beginning - Openness.
Openness means many things to different communities, as Matt Palmer summarized in his series: Defining Openness for Open SDN and NFV: A Primer for Network Operators.
Enjoy watching the interviews by key players filmed at 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.
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.
Expect constructive change as NFV continues to evolve
Settling 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.
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):
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
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
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.
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:
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.
Special report - ETSI shaves years off NFV development time.
Watch the video:
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.