NFV Projects & Standards NEWS

A New Open Source Approach to NFV With ETSI

By Steve Anderson February 22, 2016

Network functions virtualization (NFV) has seen plenty of growth in a very short time, and now, thanks to a new development from the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), it's likely to ramp up its growth rates still further. The growth in question will come about thanks to a new open source standard for NFV operations, which is likely to help put this technology in more hands and develop more use cases from there.

The ETSI development, recently started, is set to bring new open source management and orchestration (MANO) options to NFV, and the implementation of these new options will fall under the ETSI's NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG). At last report, the new standards would draw heavily on two main components: the NFV Orchestrator and the Virtualized Network Function (VNF) Manager. That wouldn't be all that was called on, of course—true NFV service access will require some extra components like service orchestration—but with such a solution in place, tit could ultimately represent a major new change for businesses worldwide.

The end result will be an open source MANO stack that calls on currently-established open source tools, as well as standardized working procedures, and is ultimately set to complement NFV MANO. With open source management in place, a full ecosystem of vendors can step in and provide services to end users, bringing NFV into play that much more rapidly and with a lot less difficulty in the end.

Making an open source option can be a bit of a risk, but it also represents some substantial potential for growth in a field. Some have concerns about the security involved in an open source system—since the code is available for pretty much anyone to look at, it becomes comparatively easy for hackers to get involved, like leaving the blueprint to a house's deadbolt system pasted to the garage door—and others are concerned about support issues. Given that this is being brought out by ETSI, though, the support issues shouldn't be that big a problem. This same issue also allows companies to look at the source code and determine where issues may arise, and then address those issues directly. What this move does is it basically puts a powerful new system in a lot more hands. Some of these hands shouldn't have that kind of access, but those that should are going to take this ball and run with it. That's going to likely improve NFV further, and help give it more options which will see it in more use.

Open source does come with some risks, but generally, it's a great move that gives a lot more people access to new technology. That means a lot of new development besides, and NFV—still a new technology in a lot of ways—could stand a shot of open source to help it move forward.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Contributing Writer

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