A not-for-profit independent initiative providing information, education, analysis, community services and testing to support and accelerate the development of a global economy based on open, advanced, virtualized IP networks.
Interoperability Evaluation Phase 1 Report Released!
Click on the link below to view the PDF for full details:
Find out more about the Phase 1 Evaluation by reading ‘Light Reading Publishes Unique NFV Interoperability Test Report’
Find out about the next evaluation by reading ‘NIA Phase 2 Test: VNF Management’
The communications industry is at a critical point as advances in technology – particularly virtualization – promise to enable a new global, digital economy. However, this is also a hugely confusing time for those tasked with building networks and businesses using the latest comms tech.
Our industry’s answer to this complexity has traditionally been to develop standards. Today, however, the standards process that is supposed to create order is instead adding uncertainty.
There are now more than three dozen groups involved in virtualization standards alone – including “official” organizations (IETF I2RS, ETSI, ITU-T, IEEE), de facto industry organizations (MEF, OIF, TM Forum, ONF, Broadband Forum, Cloud Ethernet Forum, OpenStack, Open Daylight, OPNFV, Object Management Group’s SDN Working Group) and single-vendor initiatives (Cisco’s OPFlex, Juniper’s OpenContrail). Even those who are involved with the standards process as a full-time job openly admit that the specification work is opaque.
This is not helpful to service providers, enterprises, municipalities, utilities and others that are tasked with planning the migration to virtualization over the next five years.
The growing consensus among customers is that if the industry continues on its current trajectory, once virtualization solutions actually hit networks en masse the result will be an incompatible and inefficient hodgepodge of different approaches siloed from each other, making end users’ lives way more complicated than they are supposed to be. Clearly, this is NOT the future that virtualization is supposed to enable.
The solution lies in the creation of the New IP Agency, or NIA, a not for profit with the remit of making sense of the standards muddle, and providing a forum, online and in person, for people to learn about and debate standards work. While each standards body provides education and discussion about its own work, the New IP Agency will be a one-stop shop for locating information and hosting discussion about what all the standards bodies are doing and how they relate to each other.
The NIA will provide the first and only comprehensive taxonomy covering every standards group working on virtualization specifications.
The NIA site will use a state-of-the-art, multi-tiered directory system that lists not only the standards bodies and the companies that support them, but also the individual members representing those companies within those committees – all in a single, searchable web resource, which is open and free to use for all who register for it.
The NIA directory will also provide links to websites of each body, all documents published by them and a calendar of their upcoming meetings.
Directory information will be kept up to date by full-time NIA “Agents,” who are in constant communication with the standards community. Standards organizations are also encouraged to be proactive in keeping the NIA updated on all of their news and activities. To ensure the accuracy of the data, and avoid potential trolling, all directory information is entered by an NIA staff member or approved partner (a gated data entry system, rather than an open wiki).
The history of the communications industry teaches us that the path to an open, virtualized future will inevitably detour into disagreements. The only way to head off or resolve these issues is through communication. Yet the digital communications industry that we participate in has no formal channels between the bewildering array of standards bodies, leaving conversations to happen on an ad hoc basis between those that have the time, inclination, agenda and travel budget to take part in them.
This is not the time for extemporaneous conversations taking place in trade show corridors or bars. Nor is it appropriate that definition of the infrastructure for the next global economy should be built on happenstance and chance meetings.
NIA will open these lines of communication at in-person events and online via our state-of-the-art digital, multimedia community, incorporating extensive, integrated social media amplification, as well as the ability for new members to sign up to their community using their LinkedIn profiles.
NIA will commission leading test organizations to provide independent testing and certification to demonstrate interoperability between vendors. This is hugely important, since there is currently no University of New Hampshire-type organization fulfilling this role in the virtualization space. NIA will also work with service providers that are currently conducting their own lab tests to track their progress and make public what can be shared.
Online learning is a key component of the NIA proposition, with the website hosting a permanent online university delivering “must-have” education on next-gen virtualization topics. The University will combine authoritative information and analysis from member organizations, packaged in a web format that triggers the same audience dynamics (completion, participation, collaboration, competition) that make massive online games successful.
The NIA’s University is a unique online educational destination where service provider and enterprise decision makers can crowdsource the mission-critical intelligence they need to formulate business technology strategies – via expert lecturers and their student peers – and attain certification in the business technology acumen required to architect and monetize next-gen networks.
“The NIA will help us to get a cleaned-up picture of standards
“I attended the [NIA] announcement in Chicago. It was fascinating and truly informative. After that event, I concluded either we virtualize or vaporize.”
“NIA will shorten our cycles for the RFPs, the testing, and for
seeing who does what, and what works with whom.”
“BT supports VNF-NFVI interoperability testing by the NIA. We are concerned with the growing diversity of NFVI and specializations that limit the portability of VNFs. This growing diversity leads to increasing operational complexity and costs.”
“The Cloudification of Network Functions and the change in our production models is probably the biggest transformation ever hitting the Telco industry. In a world build on Open Standards and Open Source, testing and integration remains a major effort – an independent entity like NIA driving this can deliver huge value to us as network operators and our vendors.”
To learn more about the New IP Agency, please email:
Stephen M. Saunders, CEO of Light Reading and Co-Founder of the NIA email@example.com