By Amar Kapadia. This post first appeared on the Aarna Networks blog
Creating xNFs (i.e. VNF, CNF, or PNF) is complex. Not only do xNF vendors have to meet functional requirements, but they also have to think about performance, stability, scalability, security, resilience, manageability, usability, cloud native principles, and more. To add to this complexity, xNFs need to interoperate with MANO software (e.g. ONAP; as a clarification ONAP does a lot more than what’s defined by ETSI MANO) and the NFV infrastructure such as OpenStack or Kubernetes. Thus far, the task of onboarding xNFs to MANO and NFVI software has been a fragmented activity repeated by every operator and oftentimes by vendors.
Clearly, there aren’t enough resources in the industry to do this N x N testing. The problem is further aggravated by CI/CD where products keep getting updated more frequently than before. What if there were onboarding specifications and an industry wide interop program? Fortunately, there is such a program! It’s called the OPNFV Verification Program (OVP) and it is available through the Linux Foundation. The program has different components, and the one that I am going to talk about is the VNF Verification Program. This program consists of static tests that check the VNF package and descriptor against the fairly detailed VNF requirements documented by the ONAP project followed by functional validation tests against an actual ONAP environment. VNFs that successfully pass these tests receive an OVP badge.
In may cases, we find that xNF vendors prefer to outsource ONAP related work. For this reason, we (Aarna) have helped several xNF vendors with ONAP onboarding and interoperability testing. We also help vendors pass the OVP test suite and obtain the VNF Verified badge. In fact, we recently worked with Affirmed Networks to ensure their MCC Platform passed OVP tests and successfully obtained the OVP badge. Affirmed, now part of Microsoft, is redefining the future of mobile networks, with over 100 production customers implementing their virtual EPC solutions, and now, with the recent introduction of UnityCloud, leading the industry in cloud native 5GC innovation. As only the second vendor to receive this OVP badge, Affirmed continues to demonstrate their support of open and standards based solutions, such as OPNFV and ONAP, to ensure that customers have a choice when planning for AnyG environment deployments.
The VNF Verified Page Showing the Affirmed MCC VNF
To simplify the experience even more, we at Aarna have introduced a new product — OVP-in-a-Box. With OVP-in-a-Box, the xNF vendor does not even need to install ONAP on-site. We deploy an instance of ONAP in the cloud and provide guidance to run through OVP tests. Of course, we can always deploy the ONAP instance on-prem and/or take over the entire interop effort in the form of a turnkey service.
Find out more about Affirmed Networks products on their website. Find out more about the Aarna Networks OVP-in-a-Box offering here. If you need more background on these topics, download the VNF Onboarding for ONAP whitepaper.