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  • Initiatives across the Common NFVI Telco Taskforce (CNTT), LF Networking’s Compliance and Verification program (OVP), ONAP Cloud Native, and OPNFV holistically address cloud native architecture, deployment challenges, and Cloud Native Network Function (CNF) requirements 
  • Open source groups preemptively address interoperability and performance to accelerate networking industry cloud native transformation


SAN FRANCISCOApril 30, 2020 – LF Networking (LFN), which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open source networking projects, today announced a turning point for the industry, with integrated initiatives focused on cloud native interoperability and deployment for telcos. Consolidated efforts among the Common NFVI Telco Taskforce (CNTT), LF Networking’s Compliance and Verification Committee (or OPNFV Verification Program, “OVP”), and the OPNFV project through CNTT’s cloud native “R2” workstreams, OVP’s cloud native “OVP 2.0,” and OPNFV’s renewed commitment to testing and integration alignment with end users indicate a deep commitment to  address challenges faced in cloud native adoption. 

“NFV continues to evolve as telcos increasingly adopt cloud native technologies,” said Heather Kirksey, vice president, Community & Ecosystem Development, the Linux Foundation. “Change, however, brings challenges, especially to areas like compliance, testing, automation, and integration. With input from telcos directly, collaborative efforts across CNTT, OVP, and OPNFV enable our ecosystem to benefit from cloud native adoption.”  

Celebrating its first year, CNTT – developed to create a  reference model, implementations and conformance requirements to reduce cost, time-to-market and complexity of telco operations in development and adoption of VNFs and CNFs – has augmented its VM-based specifications with several cloud native focused workstreams focused on container technologies. These workstreams will enable service providers to specify infrastructure and CNF requirements to empower operators to drive forward with their cloud native implementations with an early emphasis on streamlining operations, ease of CNF deployment, and implementation consistency. These requirements will enable strong integration and conformance to streamline operational efficiency and new service agility. The group is also on track for its third release, Baldy, in early June. 

“China Mobile started the world’s largest NFV cloud deployment in 2019. Taking into consideration cross-vendor and scalability challenges, China Mobile put in a huge effort on interoperability and integration automation, and established a mature integration process and automation toolsets, which help improve the overall efficiency and quality of NFV cloud,” said Xiaodong Duan, director of Network and IT department of China Mobile Research Institute. “We believe these practices and experiences could also provide help and reference to other operators. Open source communities provide de-facto standards, open interfaces and automation tools, which are crucial for NFV adoption. We are expecting CNTT and OPNFV 2.0 to take the leading role for promoting NFV to the next phase of integrated innovation.”

In tandem with CNTT, OPNFV – which reduces time to integrate and deploy NFV infrastructure and onboard VNF/CNFs for those who supply components and those who operationalize these platforms – has adapted its mission based on the evolving needs of telcos. The next stage of OPNFV takes the initial foundations laid by the project to the next level by providing support for CNTT architectures and introducing reference implementation and test automation ahead of 5G deployments while continuing and refining the testing and integration work OPNFV is known for.  Providing the code implementation of CNTT platform references and testing requirements, OPNFV further accelerates the telecom ecosystem’s commitment to improving adoption and easing operational headaches.

Pivot points include improved developer resources, such as more refined testing and deployment tools for conformance and performance of NFV infrastructure, aligned with industry reference architectures.

“Having successfully completed the roll-out of our network virtual infrastructure, Vodafone is accelerating it’s journey to Cloud Native,” said Rabi Abdel, principal cloud architect and senior manager at Vodafone Group. “Industry initiatives such as CNTT, empowered by a compliance program, can help us simplify the management of our sophisticated, feature-rich, complex Cloud Networks, and enable an open, inter-operable & fully integrated architecture eco-system.

This is a key factor to enable the delivery of high quality new Services to our Customers, faster than ever, in the 5G era.” 

Also taking on a concerted effort to address cloud native for telcos, the OPNFV Verification Program (OVP) –  which combines open source-based automated compliance and verification testing for cloud stack specifications established by ONAP, multiple SDOs such as ETSI and GSMA, and the LF Networking End User Advisory Group (EUAG) – has launched a Cloud Native OVP sub-committee focused on conformance, validation, and performance testing for cloud native infrastructure and CNFs. Working closely with the CNTT requirements workstreams, the automated integration and testing work with OPNFV, and ONAP cloud native orchestration initiatives, the cloud native OVP initiative further enhances operator and vendor abilities to more easily transition to cloud native in a cost effective and interoperable fashion.These requirements feed tool-sets and testing scripts developed within OPNFV, ONAP, and the CNCF Telecom User Group (TUG) communities.

To date, OVP’s VM-based program has verified 12 products with the NFVI “Infrastructure” badge and one product with the VNF badge. OVP 2.0 will enhance this effort with badges for cloud native telecom platforms and CNFs.

Looking Ahead

Taken as a whole, these initiatives spanning architecture specifications, implementation integration and deployment, automated testing, and compliance badging provide a solid foundation to advance the telecom industry’s cloud native journey. Moving forward, the groups will continue alignment and collective integration with other related groups including the CNCF Telecom User Group (TUG), ETSI, the GSMA, and other open source and SDO groups. As 5G becomes more pervasive, telcos need to find new paths to adopt technologies in ways that did not exist five plus years ago when NFV came onto the scene. 

The community expects to issue two CNTT releases this year, with an updated Reference Architecture, Reference Model and Reference Conformance to start. Reference Implementations and more OVP Badging updates are also in the works. 

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