Zero touch network and Service Management is conceived as a next-generation management system that leverages the principles of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN). It will be designed for the new, cloud-based network infrastructures and functions, and based on cloud-native principles to address zero-touch (fully automated) management and operation.
The challenges introduced by the deployment of new network foundations such as NFV and new architectures such as 5G trigger the need to accelerate network transformation and radically change the way networks and services are managed and orchestrated.
These new network architectures come with an extreme range of requirements, including massive capacity (perceived as infinite in practice), imperceptible latency, ultra-high reliability, personalized services with dramatic improvements in customer-experience, global web-scale reach, and support for massive machine-to-machine communication. Networks are being transformed into programmable, software-driven, service-based and holistically-managed infrastructures, utilising enablers and catalysts, such as NFV, SDN and Edge Computing.
New business models, including those enabled by technology breakthroughs such as Network Slicing, are being considered to support new markets, imposing unprecedented operational agility and higher cooperation across network and service domains. The resulting extended reach of network and service delivery, and the exponential increase in overall complexity of end-to-end management and operation makes automation a dire and urgent necessity.
Our Roles & Activities
Our Industry Specification Group Zero touch network and Service Management (ISG ZSM) will define a new, future-proof, horizontal and vertical end-to-end operable framework enabling agile, efficient and qualitative management and automation of emerging and future networks and services.
The goal is to have all operational processes and tasks (e.g. delivery, deployment, configuration, assurance, and optimization) executed automatically, ideally with 100% automation. ISG ZSM will initially focus on the 5G end-to-end network and service management (e.g. network slicing management) and will extend to the management for future network generations. We aim to facilitate the coordination and cooperation between relevant standardization bodies and open source projects.
The unique value of ISG ZSM will be in providing guidance for the implementation of management interfaces as well as coordinating and giving directions to achieve automated end-to-end network and service management solutions and architecture. As part of the end-to-end solution, the management architecture and interfaces will be identified to support the end-to-end zero touch network and service management in a multi-vendor environment.
ISG ZSM will study and document use cases and analyse the related challenges. It will review and reuse existing standardized solutions wherever applicable, and conduct feasibility studies. We will also evaluate and consider deliveries from open source projects. Based on these inputs, we will derive corresponding requirements and specify an end-to-end network and service management reference architecture.
It is proposed to complement the cooperation with other standardization bodies and open source projects with interoperability testing specifications, test platforms, acceptance tests, and test results dissemination in the context of end-to-end management and automation. This work will be done in collaboration with the related organizations.
A list of related standards in the public domain is accessible via the ZSM committee page.
The direct link to this Blog is https://www.etsi.org/newsroom/blogs/blog-zsm
The ZSM#7 meeting was hosted by Intel on 17-21 June, 2019, at their headquarters in the sunny city of Santa Clara, California.
The meeting was highly productive and significant progress was made. In a nutshell, we are now finalizing the work on the ZSM requirements and architecture. The final drafts for approval of these specifications will be available during July 2019 and publication is expected to take place in September. In addition, we advanced the work on the means of automation, end-to-end management and the orchestration of network slicing as well as on the ZSM landscape. We agreed on the skeleton of the end-to-end cross-domain service orchestration and automation specification. Noteworthy is the kickoff of a whole bunch of new work items dedicated to closed-loop automation.
As the end of the year is fast approaching, I’m taking this opportunity to look back at the progress of our work during 2018 and review what we accomplished during the year. Our excellent achievements and the momentum we managed to create in the industry certainly evoke both satisfaction and pride. 2018 was without doubt an amazing year!
The ZSM kickoff meeting took place on January 10-12, 2018, with 30 companies signed as ZSM members/participants. In that meeting we appointed our leadership, agreed on our objectives and approved the creation of five work items: ZSM requirements, ZSM architecture, end-to-end management and orchestration of network slicing, ZSM landscape and means of automation. Since then we have grown to 65 members/participants (List) and have made tremendous progress in our work thanks to our weekly calls and the additional six face-to-face meetings. We benefited from the fact that ZSM experts come from different backgrounds (e.g. Telco, IT, Enterprise) and strove to bring these worlds together, utilizing the best that each can offer.
Together we managed to look at many business-oriented scenarios and the related automation challenges faced by operators and vertical industries, and succeeded in deriving architectural, functional and operational requirements for an automated end-to-end network with service management. We grouped related scenarios and are now in the final phase of consolidating the requirements.
In addition, we worked hard to develop a ZSM architectural framework (see Figure 1 below) which will enable a zero-touch automated network and service management in a multi-vendor environment. We introduced a set of architectural principles and requirements that guided the design of the architecture. The ZSM architecture is service-based, modular, flexible and extensible. It allows for the integration and composition of management services via an integration fabric. The ZSM framework supports the separation of management and automation into different areas of concern, i.e. network management domains and end-to-end cross-domain service management; both are responsible for fulfillment (orchestration and control) and assurance (data collection, analytics and intelligent automation) within their scopes. Decoupling network management domains from end-to-end cross-domain service management prevents monolithic systems, reduces complexity in the entire service and enables domain and end-to-end management to evolve independently. Every management domain implements a set of capabilities which are exposed via a set of interface end-points.
The architecture supports open interfaces as well as model-driven service and resource abstraction. The management services which are exposed by management domains, including the E2E service management domain, are described and specified. The architecture allows operational data to be kept separate from the management applications, enabling efficient access to data and cross-domain data exposure (e.g. topology, telemetry data) which can be leveraged by network and service intelligence capabilities (e.g. data-driven machine learning, artificial intelligence and other technologies for automation). The architecture is designed to enable closed-loop automation (connecting assurance and fulfillment processes) at the network and service-management levels where the automated decision-making mechanisms (e.g. self-optimization, automated service assurance) can be bounded by rules and policies.
Figure 1: ZSM Architectural Framework
The ZSM Forum @ Layer 123 SDN NFV World Congress 2018 sparked great interest. The importance of the ZSM work, its objectives and approach were once again supported during the highly successful and well-attended forum.
The third ETSI ZSM (Zero touch network and Service Management) forum was hosted by Layer123 at the well-attended SDN NFV World Congress 2018 that took place on October 8, 2018 in The Hague, Netherlands. This year the congress focused on three primary themes relating to ZSM: technology (e.g. cloud native NFV, SDN, security), automation (e.g. zero touch, artificial intelligence, programmable cloud) and business (e.g. 5G, service transformation, use cases).
Klaus Martiny (DT), the ZSM Chair, opened with welcome notes. Klaus reminded the audience that a year ago at the same congress he shared the plan for multiple companies to set up a new initiative, focusing on end-to-end service and network automation, that will address the complexity (in terms of network management) created by the technology evolution. Since then, ETSI was selected as the umbrella for the new initiative and the new Industry Specification Group (ISG) was formed in December 2017. The first meeting of the new ISG took place in January 2018. The ISG has made great progress with the work and is well positioned to facilitate collaboration with relevant open-source projects, standardization bodies and fora to help the industry move to an environment that leverages synergies and achieves alignment through convergence on a single end-to-end network and service management architecture. Cooperation and alignment across the industry are essential to promote the adoption of and alignment with the ZSM architecture and solutions as well as to achieve automated end-to-end network and service management. The ISG ZSM intends to hold an open dialogue with the related organizations and open-source projects so as to encourage mutual convergence. Klaus highlighted the importance of providing early implementations and Proofs of Concepts (PoCs) that can validate the specifications and inject input into the specification work. To this end, he invited the industry players to demonstrate PoCs.
Nurit Sprecher (Nokia), the ZSM Vice Chair, presented (see presentation in ZSM Open Area) the drivers and triggers for full end-to-end automation of network and service management, the rationale for the formation of the new ISG and its goals as well as the work program and status. Currently, the ZSM group includes 59 members/participants of whom 18 are operators.
Nurit also highlighted the important role of PoCs in demonstrating the viability of the ZSM implementations and she invited the different players to join the ZSM PoC projects. The ZSM PoCs are multi-party projects in which network/service providers, suppliers, universities, research centers, open-source projects, integrators and others can participate. The results and lessons learned from the PoCs will be channeled to the ZSM specification work. Nurit pointed to the first ZSM PoC, ServoCloud (see ZSM Wiki) that aims to demonstrate efficient lifecycle and element management automation at scale, and she invited the audience to examine the PoC which was presented during the congress. Nurit concluded that we have just embarked on an exciting journey towards the automation transformation that will help operators to meet user expectations for service agility and create new business opportunities. Moreover, she emphasized that the ISG intends to drive a highly focused and agile industry effort involving key players spanning the breadth of the ecosystem. The ISG is open to both ETSI members and non-ETSI members. The different players in the value chain are welcome to join the ISG effort, contribute to the development of the specifications and demonstrate PoCs.
Diego Lopez (Telefonica), one of the founders of the ISG ZSM, presented the ZSM scenarios and key requirements which are based on the current content of ETSI Group Specification (GS) ZSM-001. The ZSM scenarios are used to derive the requirements for an automated end-to-end network and service management in general, and to drive the design and specification of the ZSM architecture and solutions. ZSM-001 identifies business-oriented scenarios and related automation challenges faced by operators and vertical industries. The scenarios’ analyses derive architectural, functional and operational requirements. Currently there are 31 scenarios and more than 90 requirements. The ISG is working towards grouping related scenarios and consolidating the requirements. The intention is to outline the key areas for automation and zero-touch operation with the scenario groups and to demonstrate the value and applicability of the ZSM architecture and the management services for supporting future-proof scenarios, such as 5G network-slicing management as well as incremental evolution towards end-to-end automation and zero-touch. The presentation is available in the ZSM Open Area.
The ZSM interim#1 meeting was hosted by Ericsson on 9-12 July, 2018 at their headquarters in Kista, Sweden, in a meeting room which was named after Hilda, the wife of Ericsson’s founder. The meeting was a good opportunity for the ZSM team to discuss additional scenarios, advance the ZSM architecture work and demonstrate the first ZSM PoC.
As described in great-strides-made-by-technical-brainstorming-at-zsm-3, the ZSM architecture supports the separation of management and automation into different areas of concern, i.e. management domains. At the ZSM interim#1 meeting and in follow-up conference calls, agreement was reached on the high-level architecture inside a management domain (depicted in Figure 1 below). Each domain includes functional components (FCs) that perform specific task(s) and expose one or more management services via service interface(s). Some of the services are internal services and can only be consumed by authorized functional components inside the domain. Other services can be exposed and also consumed by authorized functional components outside the domain (including those contained in the E2E service management domain and the digital storefront). The management services within the management domain are assembled into logical groups, such as domain control services, domain orchestration services, domain intelligence services and domain assurance services. The architecture is designed to enable closed-loop automation (connecting assurance and fulfillment processes) where the automated decision-making mechanisms (e.g. self-optimization and automated service assurance) can be bounded by rules and policies.
The ZSM ISG reached a significant milestone, agreeing on the baseline for the ZSM architecture
The third ZSM meeting was hosted by Huawei on June 04-08, 2018, in the fascinating Chinese city of Shenzhen.
The meeting was particularly special because of the intensive and fruitful ad hoc technical brainstorming that took place during the week, enabling thorough consideration of the requirements, architectural principles and design. By the end of the meeting, the ZSM group had agreed on the baseline for a service-based, end-to-end management architecture (depicted in Figure 1 below). The architecture enables automation at scale and allows all operational processes and tasks – delivery, deployment, configuration, assurance, and optimization – to be executed automatically.
The architectural principles and requirements were agreed on with the aim of shaping the architectural baseline and guiding its further development during the standardization process. The architecture is modular, flexible and extensible. It allows deployments that can be adapted to different volumes of managed entities and/or to various scales of the geographic distribution of these entities. Modules can be independently deployed and scaled. The functional components of the architecture will also be designed for failure – so that management services can cope with failure of themselves and of the infrastructure without or only with modest service degradation.
Figure 1: ZSM Architecture
The second meeting of the ETSI Zero touch network and Service Management (ZSM) Industry Specification Group (ISG) was hosted by Nokia at its Båtvik Training Center in Kirkkonummi, Finland, on March 13-15, 2018.
Forty-nine experts participated in the meeting and more than one hundred contributions were submitted and discussed. The meeting started with key notes presented by Lauri Oksanen, VP Research and Technology at Nokia, on “the automation imperative” to transform economy and society and to create time.
Klaus Martiny, the ZSM ISG Chair, continued with his perspective, highlighting the steady growth of the ISG which has seen a 56% increase since the kickoff meeting. Fifty organizations have already joined the group (see the List of Members and Participants), underlining the importance of the ZSM work for future network and service automation. The fact that the ZSM experts come from different backgrounds (e.g. Telco, IT, Enterprise) is a positive development, since the ISG strives to bring these worlds together, utilizing the best that each can offer. However, this may create a slow start, since all the members need to speak a common language.