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NFV orchestration was a hot topic at MWC 2016. It is a crucial component of NFV, but also a sensitive issue due to the perception that aspects of its development have been neglected in the rush to bring NFV to market. As a consequence, standardization and interoperability initiatives figured prominently at MWC.

Choosing whether or not to open source

At MWC 2015 analytics was the subject that network and telecoms IT vendors were talking about. At MWC 2016 network and service orchestration was top of mind. However, despite the vendor hype the most notable orchestration-related announcements at MWC centered on standardization and interoperability issues rather than products. There is still much to sort out, including bridging the gap between NFV and OSS.

Open source orchestration communities have been created to speed up how interoperability and integration issues are addressed, although ironically these parallel initiatives are grouped around different approaches and flavors of NFV.

ETSI announced the formation of a new industry group, ETSI Open Source MANO (OSM), to develop open source software for NFV MANO. The OSM group builds on Telefonica's OpenMANO project and will complement ETSI’s NFV Industry Specifications Group. OSM’s founders include BT, Canonical, Intel, Mirantis,, Telefonica, Telekom Austria Group, and Telenor.

A second industry group, the OPEN-Orchestrator Project was announced by the Linux Foundation, China Mobile, and Huawei. This group will focus on developing open source software for SDN and NFV; it has support from Brocade, China Telecom, Dynatrace, Ericsson, F5 Networks, GigaSpaces, Infoblox, Intel, KT, Red Hat, Raisecom, Riverbed, and ZTE and complements the Linux Foundation-supported OPNFV initiative.

As these (and other) initiatives suggest, there are multiple visions of NFV orchestration and the relationship with OSS; this was reflected in briefings and conversations at MWC 2016. However, the network, IT, and BSS/OSS vendors do not intend to hang around waiting – all had an NFV story to tell at MWC and are keen to grab a piece of the orchestration action. What is less clear at this stage is whether operators will place their trust in the major vendors or wait for a more complex multivendor environment based on open source.


Further reading

Hype declines, reality settles in for NFV at MWC, TE0006-001201(February 2016)


Kris Szaniawski, Lead Analyst, Intelligent Networks

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