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  • Open industry taskforce developing common NFVI as industry moves toward 5G
  • Common model and related first architecture enables the building of operationally efficient open source SDN and NFV infrastructures
  • Supports LF Networking’s evolving compliance and verification program (OVP) using OPNFV Test Automation 

ANTWERP, Belgium Open Networking Summit Europe September 23, 2019 – LF Networking (LFN) and the GSMA today announced that the Common NFVI Telco Taskforce (CNTT) has reached its first major milestone with the publication of its initial common Reference Model and first Reference Architecture. Jointly hosted by the GSMA and the Linux Foundation, CNTT operates as an open committee responsible for creating and documenting an industry-aligned Common NFVI Framework. 

“This initial release represents the first tangible output of CNTT,” said Heather Kirksey, vice president, Community and Ecosystem Development, the Linux Foundation. “In the short time since ONS North America, the community has already reached milestones around creation of the Reference Model and first Reference Architecture. We have also initiated significant discussion around Reference Implementation along with commencement of enhancements to OVP within OPNFV.  I am very pleased to see the focused delivery of this group and our ability to align the industry and accelerate innovation, especially in the advance of 5G. It’s incredible to witness such deep collaboration and integration among operators and vendors from across the globe.”

“The speed with which this group has been established and produced its first tangible results are testament to the close cooperation and collaboration of its industry members,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. “A common framework and approach will accelerate adoption and deployment in the 5G era and we look forward to aligning further with our partners on this important project.” 

Initially organized early in 2019, CNTT held its first community-wide, face-to-face gathering in Paris this July, with more than 80 operator and vendor participants in attendance; the successful three-day event enabled collaborative discussion on next steps.

Following that initial meeting, the CNTT is working closely with taskforce members to refine the  NFVI Reference Model, define a limited number of Reference Architectures, develop testing and verification requirements, and work with the OPNFV Verification Program (OVP) to define a global VNF compliance and validation lifecycle. This work will shorten the on-boarding effort for VNFs, accelerate time to revenue, and reduce costs for both VNF vendors and operators. Relying on a ground breaking collaborative model between the GSMA, the Linux Foundation, and the telecommunications vendor ecosystem, the group is creating a suite of tangible specifications to be hosted by the GSMA, and code to be created and hosted within OPNFV.  

Preliminary documentation including the first Reference Model are available in CNTT GitHub repository  

  • Guiding Principles
  • Intent to Realize requirements from operators (such as testing)
  • Outline of GSMA-hosted specifications that support open source work from OPNFV
  • Preliminary Reference Model
  • A set of Reference Architectures based on the Reference Model with specific workload profiles for different cloud platforms.
  • Inputs into Lab-As-A Service and other Lab and CI/CD Infrastructure projects of OPNFV and LFN

Alignment with OVP

CNTT is an enhancer to  OVP, an open source, community-led compliance and verification program that demonstrates the readiness and availability of commercial NFV products and services, including NFVI and VNFs, using OPNFV and ONAP. OVP combines open source-based automated compliance and verification testing for multiple parts of the NFV stack specifications established by ONAP, multiple SDOs such as ETSI and GSMA, and the LF Networking End User Advisory Group (EUAG). 

Once CNTT Reference Models and Architectures are implemented and tested via OPNFV (Reference Implementations), commercial products adhering to these specifications can undergo an enhanced OVP’s VNF and NFVI compliance testing for establishing baseline conformance and offering interoperability. 

The OVP work continues to advance. There will be a dedicated OVP hacking track at the next LFN DDF + Plugfest to facilitate VNF vendor onboarding and testing. Anyone interested in any aspect of the program — including testing their VNFs — is encouraged to get involved and attend an introductory webinar with SDx Central: “How the OPNFV Verification Program (OVP) Can Boost VNF Interoperability” on October 22Information on the existing 11 OPNFV Verified products to date is available here: 

Looking ahead

CNTT will continue to further refine its Reference Model and its first Reference Architecture based on Openstack, and expand its portfolio of Reference Architectures with an upcoming focus on areas such as Containerization, Kubernetes-based Cloud Native stacks and Container based network functions’ validation requirements, along with growing its capabilities surrounding compliance and verification testing, and providing a lifecycle approach for NFVI. GSMA and OPNFV look forward to continuing the open source definition and implementation work that powers the community and ecosystem, so that these new technologies can be integrated into global service provider networks. 

Community Support

“Since its formation earlier this year, the CNTT community has made tremendous progress in building out the foundational elements of a NFVI and VFN lifecycle framework, as well as creating alignment on a discrete, compliant and verified set of NFV infrastructures for the telco ecosystem,” said Mark Cottrell, assistant vice president, Network Cloud, AT&T Labs. “By delivering on this promise, CNTT will simplify VNF development, bringing compliant and verified VNFs to the marketplace more quickly.”

China Mobile
“Common NFVI helps NFV deployment via true decoupling between the virtual layer and the application layer. It is motivated to reduce resource fragmentation and vendor binding. Given this goal it is important to have both infrastructure and application vendors closely collaborate to truly realize productization based on standard resource specifications. We look forward to promoting the development, implementation and certification of this standard through the cooperation between GSMA and LFN,” said, Dr. Junlan Feng, Chief Scientist at China Mobile Research Institute, General Manager of AI & Intelligent Operation R&D Center.

Anders Rosengren, Head of Architecture and Technology, Ericsson Digital Services states, “Ericsson is one of the leading contributors of code to many open source projects and also leading contributor to OPNFV from beginning including driving common NFVI architecture and seeking alignment with standard bodies and open source community. We have been working with OVP certification process and Ericsson Cloud Execution environment (CEE) is OVP certified. As 5G networks are beginning to be deployed, a common NFVI is key both in the central data center and also in the Edge data centers. Ericsson will continue to support the open source initiatives such as CNTT, its continuous improvements and verification program including the VNF verification.”

Globe Telecom
“The promise of NFV was compelling for global operators,” said Vincent Seet, head, Enterprise Architecture, Globe Telecom. “The opportunity to more efficiently utilize networks through virtualization and other open source technologies was and still is compelling. However, what the communities didn’t anticipate and have yet to conquer is the overall integration complexity and challenge. It’s great to see that so many organizations are collaborating on the CNTT to directly address the challenge and help move the industry forward.”

“A set of common NFVI reference architectures, supported with a strong compliance and verification test suites are absolutely critical to drive the next phase of Network Transformation which is fundamental to usher in the promise of edge computing and 5G,“ said Rajesh Gadiyar, vice president and chief technology officer of the Network and Customs Logic Group atIntel. “An agile NFV stack built on cloud principles with the CNTT reference architecture is pivotal and will accelerate innovation and deployment of new services.”

“Nokia welcomes the Common NVFI Taskforce (CNTT) activity initiated by GSMA together with LNF to build an industry-aligned NFV infrastructure framework,” said Ron Haberman, CTO of Nokia Software.  “As an active participant in OPNFV and the OPNFV Verification program (OVP), Nokia is delighted a broader industry-backed task force has been formed to focus on a common NFVI framework. Having participated in hundreds of cloud infrastructure and NFV deployments, involving Network and IT workloads across a broad set of vendors, we know how critical predictable performance from the NFVI is for production networks and services.  Lowering implementation obstacles, like commissioning the correct infrastructure for the task, should add momentum to NFV adoption and the 5G evolution.”

“Specifying reference NFV infrastructure benefits all parties in the integration chain. We are very pleased the industry at large is now recognizing the benefit, and is embarking into the CNTT initiative. Progress since ONS Europe last year has been tremendous,” said Stéphane Demartis, VP Cloud Infrastructure Solutions and Services, Orange.

“From the beginning I saw the value of the work that CNTT is doing as a way to speed the integration of our VNF vendors into our next generation infrastructure,” said  Beth Cohen, SDN Products, Verizon.

“The CNTT empowered by an industry driven compliance and certification programme means  less need for internal testing of VNFs before onboarding them into our network and hence allowing us to introduce new services to our customers faster,” said Markus Wuepping, Head of Cloud Center of Excellence, Vodafone Group.

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