As we continue to define and describe The New IP, one interesting element is already coming under scrutiny in what would seem to be its earliest days.
End-to-end service orchestration, including enabling interoperability of networks and network operators, is the subject of multiple efforts. Two of these were announced last week, a third announcement should be coming very shortly, plus existing efforts are also making headway. Considering that NFV as a concept is only two years old and virtualization as a carrier priority is only a bit older than that, this early attention to the practical matter of interoperability is quite remarkable.
The two announced efforts to which I refer are quite different in nature. Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) , the North American telecom standards group, has launched a new NFV Forum to spell out the ways virtualized functions can be shared across network operator boundaries, including the business case for doing that. (See New NFV Forum Focused on Interoperability.)
By contrast, CENX Inc. , a commercial entity that is re-inventing itself after the Ethernet exchange business didn't pan out, is creating a service orchestrator platform to address the back office functions of doing end-to-end services across networks. But it claims to have four service providers already actively engaged using that platform. (See CENX Reinvents Itself as Service Orchestrator.)
Plus TM Forum made progress on its Zero-touch Orchestration and Operations Management (ZOOM) project last week at a member meeting in Turin, Italy, where the group focused on pushing ahead several initiatives, including the development of an enhanced information model for end-to-end virtual network and operations management, among others viewed here.
Other software companies are attacking this issue as well, just not as visibly. But the remarkable piece is that network interoperability is being addressed in relative short order for these emerging standards.
I think that early interest in interoperability reflects two things: first, the fast pace at which all of this is happening and second, the significantly different view of the business models involved.
Service providers themselves are driving the standards activity, and they seem to be clear in acknowledging that from the outset, the services that traverse this next generation of IP networks will not be closed, nor built on one company's set of assets.
That is very different thinking and the kind that bodes well for potential innovators -- and customers.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading