Behind the Scenes at NFV#5 in Malaga

Feb 25, 2014 by Prayson Pate

Overture CTO, Prayson PateThe European industry body ETSI Industry Study Group (ISG) has been working on Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) for a year now.  That anniversary was marked by the recent NFV#5 meeting in Malaga, Spain.  Here are a few notes from that meeting.

Meeting Locale

Malaga is in the southwest part of Spain and is not far from Gibraltar.  Several of the attendees took advantage of this fact to participate in pre-meeting day trips down to Gibraltar.  The town of Malaga itself is very pleasant and has a large section of shops and restaurants that make for a pleasant evening stroll and eating adventure. 

The proximity to the Mediterranean gives Malaga a warm climate, which was a very welcome change from the frigid weather on the east coast of the US.  Below are some pictures from the harbor, courtesy of Overture’s Mark Chen.
 

Scenes from Malaga at NFV#5

Concrete Progress

Last week Marc Cohn wrote a very detailed blog on the NFV#5 meeting.  Here are some of the interesting statistics that he mentions:

  • 184 organizations are now participating in the ISG
  • The Network Operator’s Council (NOC), now consists of 28 network operators from both the telecommunications and the cable industries
  • The ISG has published 4 end-to-end NFV documents
  • There are now 9 approved Proofs of Concept (PoC) 

Proofs of Concept

To me, the PoCs are one of the most important activities of the ISG.  They show how the ideals of NFV can be applied to real world use cases.  They also help identify gaps and issues that need to be addressed by the ISG.  The 9 approved POCs are a positive indication that others in NFV share this view.

At Overture, we feel strongly in the importance of PoCs, as demonstrated by Overture’s role in CloudNFV, where we are one of the founding members.  Overture’s Ensemble Service Orchestrator (ESO), Ensemble Network Controller (ENC) and Overture 6500 play key parts in the current CloudNFV PoC, which shows how an IMS virtualized network function can be deployed and tested.  The operator feedback on this and other PoCs has been extremely positive.  I suspect the other PoCs will be met with similar positive feedback.

Meet and Greet

One of the positive aspects of an industry meeting such as NFV#5 is the wide variety of people who attend, which creates opportunities for numerous formal meetings and informal interactions.  The Overture team met with 8 operators and with 5 suppliers to discuss opportunities to work together in accelerating the adoption of NFV.  These discussions are essential to quickly move NFV from theory to practice.  In addition, they occasionally occur at very interesting venues such as the Carmen Thyssen Museum, where we enjoyed tapas, wine, Spanish art and flamenco dancing.

What’s Next?

The progress within NFV over the last year has been tremendous.  As Marc Cohn said,

NFV is gaining significant momentum in the industry. In response, the NFV ISG has set an aggressive timescale to release the initial set of technical documents in November, 2014. With the involvement of the world’s leading operators and technology vendors, the prospects for success are very encouraging.

One of the interesting discussion topics was whether the ETSI NFV ISG would continue, which is scheduled to wrap up early in 2015.  The overall mood indicated that most were in favor of moving forward.  Those discussions will continue at the NFV#6 meeting in Okinawa in May.  I hope to see you there!

About the Author

Prayson Pate is Chief Technology Officer and SVP of R&D at Overture, where he is also a co-founder. Prayson is a technology leader and evangelist with a proven track record leading teams and delivering products. Since 1983 he has been building Carrier Ethernet and telecom products for service providers and network operators around the world - both as an individual developer and as a leader of development teams. Prayson spends much of his time driving adoption of Overture's new Ensemble Open Service Architecture, which includes aspects of automation, virtualization, SDN and NFV. He has a BSEE from Duke, an MSECE from NC State and is the holder of nine US patents.

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