At Light Reading's Big Telecom Event, Light Reading's Founder and CEO, Steve Saunders, kicked off The New IP Agency, a new non-profit organization and antidote to the standards activity confusion around NFV and SDN.
The New IP Agency (NIA) will serve four primary functions: information, communications, testing and education. "We want to develop an ecosystem where people work together to create interoperability," said Saunders at a special NIA intro session at BTE, flanked by a special panel of industry executives, including EANTC managing director Carsten Rossenhövel, and executives from Alcatel-Lucent, Affirmed Networks, Cisco, CenturyLink, Colt, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Google, HP and Intel. (See The New IP Agency Is Born at BTE.)
Light Reading's Founder and CEO, Steve Saunders (center), with executives from Alcatel-Lucent, Affirmed Networks, Cisco, CenturyLink, Colt, Deutsche Telekom, EANTC, Ericsson, Google, HP and Intel.
Indeed, the communications industry is at a crossroads as technology advances like network functions virtualization (NFV) push ahead while network architects and businesses struggle to make sense of it all.
In the past, the communications industry has traditionally focused on developing standards to solve complexity and create order, but that strategy is actually creating chaos and adding to the uncertainty. For example, currently there are over three dozen industry bodies working on developing standards for NFV and software-defined networking (SDN) -- including IETF I2RS, ITU-T, IEEE, MEF, OIF, TM Forum, ONF, Broadband Forum, OpenStack, OpenDaylight, OPNFV and many more.
The number of groups focusing on developing standards for NFV and SDN is unhelpful to say the least and many struggle to keep track of what each group is doing -- let alone have the resources to have people participating in them all, according to many industry experts. (See Why So Many SDN Groups? and listen to Innovation & Disruption in the New IP.)
"The standards situation is quite a mess and this is a wake-up call," said Saunders during the opening keynote session on day one of BTE. "Our job is to make things simpler, but when you have over 35 standards organizations, it's not working. It's creating the opposite effect."
In addition, speakers on Wednesday morning's keynote session panel, "A New Era of Cooperation," hosted by Light Reading's Carol Wilson, echoed this sentiment.
"I think it's important that all of us are continually asking ourselves, what is our scope and what problem are we solving, how does this work with others," said Neela Jacques, executive director of OpenDaylight. "I think there is work and effort going into making sure that these different organizations that are relevant -- ONF, OpenDaylight, OPNFV -- are groups that are doing this very well. With OpenStack, it's decently well. Beyond that, there [are] improvements to be made."
Susan Miller, president and CEO of ATIS, said that what's going on today in the SDN and NFV space is not that unusual. "This is hugely transformational. Everyone is zooming in to create opportunity out of it," she said. "There is a lot of confusion within companies as to who is doing what. If you could really connect the dots... and have some alignment... it would be hugely powerful for a company."
Continuing on this thread, Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation, added, "Companies don't always manage their standards participation very well."
As part of the NIA, Light Reading is partnering with EANTC to provide independent testing and certification that demonstrates interoperability between vendors as there is currently not an organization similar to that of the University of Hampshire fulfilling this role in the virtualization space. In addition, Light Reading will also work with service providers that are conducting their own lab tests in order to track progress and make public what can be shared.
In the run-up to the full NIA launch in early 2016, Light Reading will undertake several virtualization-related projects that will feed into the NIA -- a virtual encyclopedia that covers all the components of the virtual world and an index of where some of the leading service providers are with virtualization.
Read more about the New IP Agency and learn more about other aspects of the New IP in our Resources section.
— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Editor, The New IP