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ETSI NFV#10 - Some key decisions towards openness and increasing impact on the market


In an effort to alternate face to face meeting locations in different geographies, Europe, Asia and Americas, ETSI NFV was back in Asia for this 10th edition. It was a busy week again in Sanya, South China. The location was perfect and, we sincerely thank our host Huawei and the local resort team who was welcoming and professional. I hope people had the time to enjoy the local scenery and facilities!




For me it was a challenge! I experienced a crazy week with meetings from dawn to dusk, followed by dinners and then work on contributions or meeting minutes. Being ISG Vice Chair, chairing the TST working group (WG) , and being a rapporteur on the very active SDN Work item in EVE, made it extremely challenging to find time to relax :-)  but it is one of the most exciting times in our industry, so no complaints !


About 180 people attended the meeting. A bit less than typical attendance in other geographies, but on the positive side that we had a number of Chinese vendors and operators, who typically do not travel abroad so easily. In particular we heard a set of very informative presentations from local operators prior to the ETSI meeting on the strategy and progress being made on NFV and SDN in this region. China Mobile, the largest world-wide operator, highlighted some projects there are engaged in and explained the deployment model they currently use, “Hardware Sharing” and the one they are targeting “Total Decoupling”.




We watched an interesting presentation from SDNIA, the SDN Industry Alliance, founded in Nov 2014, by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) with 15 other organizations, initially Chinese but now a world-wide. SDNIA is addressing standards, experimentation and research around SDN and now NFV. The SDNIA representative expressed interest in working with ETSI NFV and I discussed a potential collaboration on the EVE005 SDN-NFV work item that I lead, and TST WG both for POCs and testing.




The plenary started on Tuesday morning, with a full house eager to hear the new directions from the chairman and the leadership team. The major announcement in my opinion was that we wanted the ISG to be more open and facilitate access to our work in progress by making ETSI NFV drafts “public”. This is a significant step that is clearly showing the evolution of our industry from a closed community of primarily big incumbent actors to a growing set of industry players and developers that contribute to the communications network and service shift to IT and open environments. ETSI had done this once in the past for TISPAN, but it has not been common practice in ETSI. Other SDOs are already sharing their work in progress, such as IETF or 3GPP. The ETSI portal will be updated to reflect this and drafts should be accessible to the public no later than NFV#11 in July !!


In parallel to this we initiated a project in the TST WG called ‘bug tracker’ to establish a feedback loop so we can collect reviews and comments. We expect SDO, Open Source and industry players to review our working drafts with respect to their own work, and validate or identify gaps and inconsistencies. Until now sharing specifications has been restricted to a few SDOs with whom we have MOUs. With default public drafts, anyone can have access and provide feedback. ETSI NFV is in a unique position whereby we build a new NFV concept, , providing specifications to guide the industry and accelerate the change, and at the same time producing standard specification to facilitate interoperability. In parallel Open Source projects are actively developing code that leverage our specifications. OPNFV has announced that it will release its NFVI+VIM Open Source June release Arno imminently. And another good example is the OpenStack incubation project Tacker that was announced this week in the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver. The Tacker team developed code based on ETSI NFV Phase #1 informative specifications, especially the ETSI NFV reference architecture and the MANO specs for VNF manager, and are looking for further contributions to enhance the work in line with ETSI NFV. So even though they acknowledge that the MANO clause 5.4.2 was pretty weak, it listed some features that were a starting point to build a prototype generic VNF manager that would talk to OpenStack as defined today for the VIM functions. This initiative really illustrates that even informative specs are useful for the industry to trigger projects and that standards groups and Open Source projects are complementary. The key now is to ensure regular interactions so we learn from each other in developing best in class deliverables for the industry.

I shared the TST WG’s successful efforts in making the wiki work with Open Source. We currently have a track comparing ETSI NFV specs with OpenStack, and triggered another one on OPNFV. In parallel we also approved a number of contributions to shape the specification on pre-deployment testing and drafted some steps forward for the interoperability testing methodology work item. As more products and projects develop, testing guidelines are becoming critical and ETSI ISG is putting a huge emphasis to deliver specifications in the coming months.

Another topic that is dear to me is SDN & NFV. As reporter for the EVE005 work item, I have been particularly sensitive to contributions we reviewed on SDN hierarchy and Service Function Chaining, but also some POC reports on this topic and discussions on the next steps which are to collect requirements/recommendations. They are a number of SDO and Open Source efforts on SDN, and operators are more interested in use cases that can benefit from combining the two technologies, SDN and NFV. So compiling these use cases, learning experience, deriving design patterns and highlighting recommendations is something the industry is keen to for ETSI NFV to deliver as soon as possible. I believe we are almost done with this work, and the focus is really now on capturing and structuring the recommendation/requirement section. I use the recommendation/requirements terms because we have lots of standard people who argue that we have to use the proper words J ETSI uses ‘requirements’ for normative specs only, while ‘recommendation’ is the term for informative specs! EVE005 is by definition a report, i.e. an informative specs. ETSI NFV is a lot about picking the right words … things you have to learn when you join this community J

Overall the week went smoothly. Other teams were also quite busy. The IFA working group worked liked crazy some people would say, trying to review close to 200 contributions with long days from 8am to 9:30pm. REL working group made some group progress on reliability specs, as did SEC working group on Security.

Interactions with the industry also progressed. We received a number of “liaisons” (term we use in ETSI for letters from/to outside entities) from other SDOs and replied to them. We also had a plenary presentation from MEF and some more informal discussions in Working Group meetings with BBF, 3GPP or other SDOs.

As far as HP is concerned, we were pleased to see that HP ranks amongst the top contributors for POCs and for the number of contributions submitted overall. I showed some metrics that the leadership team decided to collect from the ETSI portal and highlighted a couple items, such as attendance in F2F, companies contributing the most, number of contributions submitted since Day1 (over 6000 !!), interactions with the outside entities through "liaisons", number of POCs (actually 36 by the time we opened the plenary)  etc. The detailed data are internal to the ISG as some companies are sensitive to the disclosure of company contribution ranking ...  but some more neutral data can be shared such as the infographic below :-)




Flying back was a nightmare … flights got delayed leaving Sanya for most people, due to bad weather conditions in South China. Connections were missed, and several of us, ETSI NFV colleagues, ended up stopping over in Beijing before heading out to find other connections. Common stories of international travel unfortunately. The solution might be for hosts to pick venues close to international airports.


Mark your calendar for next meeting: NFV#11 in San Jose, July 28-31 and remember ETSI face to face meetings are open to any employee of member or participant companies, and if you are not one of them yet, contact ETSI, we’ve made it pretty affordable to become a participant and join the community of people that make NFV happen!


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5G, IoT, NFV, big Data, blockchain

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