ETSI NFV Continues to Build Momentum

Don Clarke
Principal Architect, Network Technologies

Feb 29, 2016

Last year I blogged about ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ETSI NFV) progress. The ETSI NFV body of work has become firmly established as the key reference for both global standards bodies and open source communities. Last week I was in Dublin for the thirteenth ETSI NFV plenary meeting (NFV#13) hosted by Cobham Wireless and OPENET.

Why Was This Meeting Important?

NFV#13 was an important milestone for the ETSI NFV community, not only did it mark the start of the fourth year of work, but the final documents comprising ‘Release 2’ were scheduled for approval, plus a large body of new work was under consideration to be included in the work plan. The new work will comprise ‘Release 3’. It was sure to be a very intense week.

In my mind, NFV#13 was also an important test of the continuing relevance of the ETSI NFV community in the face of accelerating progress on NFV-related standards and open source, and NFV deployments are gathering pace globally. As it turned out, 210 delegates travelled to Dublin from all over the world, a similar number or slightly more than previous meetings in Europe. Membership continues to grow and now stands at over 290 companies including government bodies and academic institutions as well as vendors and network operators. The intensity of ETSI NFV work continues unabated which confirms the relevance of this forum to the industry.

As ETSI NFV Network Operator Council (NOC) chair, I was concerned to ensure that the operator group which now consists of 39 operators (CableLabs represents MSOs) would have adequate time to review the large body of new work to ensure it would be relevant to network operator needs. Under the leadership of co-chair Klaus Martiny at Deutsche Telekom, the NOC had carried out an analysis of the proposed new work program and this was referenced by the ETSI NFV Technical Steering Committee and working groups in Dublin to help guide their planning discussions.

The five working groups broke into parallel sessions after the opening plenary on Tuesday and managed to complete work on 12 documents, 3 of which were approved for immediate publication and 9 sent for remote consensus in the next four-weeks. In addition, 17 new work items were approved but there was insufficient time to consider all of the proposals put forward for approval in Dublin and the remainder will be discussed on an ETSI NFV plenary call in April. I am confident these will be approved in time for work to begin at or soon after NFV#14 which will be hosted by AT&T in Atlanta, May 3-6, 2016.

As a founder of the ETSI NFV forum, I am particularly interested that the work is timely and that it continues to be of high value to the industry. The current mandate from ETSI expires at the end of this year and there needs to be clarity on what will be the role of the forum in continuing to build the NFV ecosystem. With this in mind, I initiated discussions in the NOC on what should be the focus for ETSI NFV in 2017 and beyond. The outcomes of these discussions will be presented at NFV#14 and I will blog about them as soon as the direction becomes clearer.

It was an exhausting week for everyone considering the unprecedented intensity of the work program. The ETSI NFV community is working well together and there is a high degree of mutual trust amongst the participants which serves the industry well. The community has proved that it can both deliver and adapt to the changing needs of the industry as the NFV transformation takes hold.

What is CableLabs Doing in this Space?

CableLabs has been working in the SDN and NFV space for over three years with work spanning the breadth of the cable network. We will continue to be actively involved in ETSI NFV and related open source activities contributing insights from our R&D and Innovation activities. And we have established Kyrio, a wholly owned subsidiary of CableLabs to provide a collaborative environment for SDN and NFV integration and testing including an OPNFV lab. which is open to participation by external organizations.

If your organization is interested in participating in the OPNFV lab. please contact Wylie Nelson

Don Clarke is a Principal Architect at CableLabs working in the Core Innovation group.