During the "NFV & Carrier SDN" event in Denver earlier this month, the New IP Agency sponsored a panel that covered topics ranging from interoperability to standards to open source.
Participants included Carsten Rossenhoevel, managing director, Research & Development at European Advanced Networking Test Center AG (EANTC) ; Scott Sneddon, senior director, SDN and virtualization at Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR); Brad Chalker, senior product manager at
Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS) and Jim Hodges, senior analyst at Heavy Reading . Carol Wilson of Light Reading moderated the lively debate.
Speaking Up on Interoperability
From left: Jim Hodges of Heavy Reading, Brad Chalker of Sonus, Carsten Rossenhoevel of EANTC and Scott Sneddon of Juniper took center stage to discuss NIA, testing and interop.
Here are some highlights from the 70-minute discussion.
On the biggest interoperability challenge:
Jim Hodges: From a global perspective as an analyst, the biggest challenge or the biggest thing we have to do as an industry is be able to come up with fairly quickly, not universal test cases, but be able to have test cases that can be revectored. You talked about changing hypervisors, you talked about different OS interfaces. But as we move forward if there's some way we can have a bit more of a universal, that's a bit of a panacea but it's something we want to move towards -- not having universal test scripts, but having something that's kind of more programmable.
On how the New IP Agency and EANTC work on interoperability:
Carsten Rossenhoevel: In many panels before there were discussions of fail fast, and fail fast means not only do you prove fast but that you detect the failures. That's where the testing comes in. Within the whole Agile paradigm there's always design, implement, test in every cycle. Inevitably there will be more testing and the more components from different vendors are there, there needs to be neutral, common grounds from testing. So far we're seeing a lot of certification programs from different vendors, from different industry groups and these are often programs where vendors, smaller vendors, often have to go to each of these locations and get certified by this vendor and that vendor, and this one and a fourth one says, "Actually we don't want to certify you because you don't fit into our ecosystem."
We felt the New IP Agency is something that's really needed in the industry to do industry-wide interop testing so we're not limited to any one ecosystem or any one open source group. And currently the list of members … [is] driven quite a bit by service providers in terms of the requirements and obviously by vendors. The kind of testing we focus on is mostly MANO as people say -- management orchestration -- is one of the biggest challenges right now. We started already with VNF -- virtual network function -- into NFVi -- infrastructure interoperability -- because in many cases that's the most common situation where we will see different vendors: one vendor providing a set of infrastructure and a set of vendors, different vendors, providing virtualized network functions. I don't want to go into all of these details but you see there are a lot of aspects in management orchestration that are needed, especially now we get out of trials and into real production services. We need to understand how is this actually working and we need performance monitoring, health monitoring, all these things.
The first test we did successfully was VNF-NFVi and we're continuing to build on this. Our aim is to fill a matrix industry-wide between the different VNFs and NFVis. And lastly, in June this year, we ran an interop showcase of orchestration interoperability.
On other steps the industry could take:
Scott Sneddon: There's buzzword bingo around MANO-Open Source projects now. Open NFV has done a good job of trying to pull together a framework that let other projects contribute code to but OpenMano, OpenM, AT&T's Open source ECOMP, will that become a community effort? It looks to me like the cloud world of three years ago where you had OpenStack versus CloudStack versus the VM cloud world battling it out, and we sort of settled on a de facto standard that is OpenStack. Will that happen in the MANO space? Will one of these projects gain enough adoption that everyone will turn their eyes to it and say, "Yeah, that's the way forward," and we get a way forward or does ETSI need to step in and mandate a bit more of a rigid framework and standard for APIs so we just start to converge on something? This becomes even more difficult as we move forward with all these different things. We've already got the problem of different versions of OpenStack that might be supported by the vendors. Now we're going to have different versions of MANO platforms that need to be supported by the vendors. Putting together a testing strategy to show interoperability is really, really complex in this world.
CR: And some people are like, "Isn't OPNFV the new reference? Can't you just include that in the testing?" Okay, let's buy a couple of servers. Let's install OPNFV. And then our team came back to me and said, "Carsten, which variant of OPNFV?" "The latest." "No, no, no. Wrong question. Which variant? There are three types of SDN configuration -- OpenContrail, OpenDaylight, ONOS. And then there are six or seven installers and you have to build a matrix, so we find there are 21 different options, versions of OPNFV only in the latest release. Which one?" And I got back to OPNFV and asked them which one is their reference and they told me, "We don't have one. You have to test all of this." We would have to install 21 pods of six servers each to actually do OPNFV testing so open source is not always the solution if the projects are governed in a way that actually fold in the options.
On building a business case:
Brad Chalker: The business case is I'm going to go with the big player. Juniper happened to be one of the first that we onboarded with. We had a guy at Sonus who had a relationship with somebody at Juniper. It was early, sometime in 2013, and we just virtualized our SPC offering and we onboarded it. But I think lately it's been customer engagement: We find out what they're using and do onboard testing with them.
— Alison Diana, Editor, The New IP Agency. Follow her on Twitter @alisoncdiana or @The_New_IP.