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NFV#5: Birthday Parties, High-speed Trains, and Small Plates of Virtualization

20 Feb 2014 / Nirav Modi

Cumpleaños feliz
Cumpleaños feliz
Te deseamos NFV ISG
Cumpleaños feliz

The ETSI NFV ISG celebrated its first birthday yesterday here in Malaga. The NFV working groups have gathered here in beautiful southern Spain for NFV#5 to continue moving the specifications forward, aligning the work across the various working groups and to begin discussions on the evolution of the ETSI NFV ISG.

My trip into Malaga was not much different from how services are delivered end-to-end across carrier networks. It was comprised of several hops, a variety of technologies, legacy and new, and varying quality-of-service.

The journey began via jetliner into Madrid. From there I hopped on a wifi-enabled city bus to the central train station (Atocha) in the heart of the city. Shortly after that, I was traveling at over 180 mph (290 kmph) on the Renfe AVE train toward Malaga. Two and a half hours later, I was in a Malaga taxi making my way across cobbled roads, some not even wide-enough for 2-way traffic, headed for my hotel.

The ETSI NFV ISG has grown tremendously since the inaugural meeting held in Sophia-Antipolis, France, back in January 2013. There are now 184 vendor and operator member companies and this number continues to grow.

Over 260 members registered (maximum capacity) for the conference in Malaga. The hosts (Telefonica and Alcatel-Lucent) have done a great job managing the event and the logistics. We were treated to an ETSI ISG NFV birthday celebration last night, which included very entertaining flamenco dancing, as well an endless variety of tapas plates.

Of course – despite all the fun, there is a lot of work to do. It’s clear that significant progress has been made. Technical work focus has shifted from defining the high-level framework toward more detailed interface and flow specifications. Plenary sessions are focused on the “NFV v2.0”, rather than “What is NFV?”, and the proof-of-concept framework that was announced at NFV#4 in Sunnyvale has been embraced by many different operators and vendors. As of today, a total of 9 NFV PoCs have ben accepted by the ETSI NFV ISG PoC committee.

Cyan is involved in two separate PoCs (1, 2). The first, end-to-end orchestration of a virtual evolved packet core (vEPC) is being showcased publicly at the 2014 Mobile World Congress show next week in Barcelona. If you are going to be there, please do stop by our showcase, which is hosted in the Intel booth (Hall 3, 3D30).

There are at least two over-arching, almost conflicting themes at the meeting. There is a sense of urgency toward getting the in-progress work-group documents completed by the summer, and contrasting that, uncertainty of what happens next.

What do we all do when the NFV ISG winds down? What forums will we have available to us to discuss, develop and build the open solutions that are core to the principles of NFV? Will operators see the same level of commitment, interest and innovation out of the vendor community if there is no singular forum dedicated to the furthering of the network function virtualization revolution?

I will be pondering all of these questions and more as I watch the Spanish countryside blur by me on my train ride to Barcelona tomorrow for Mobile World Congress. ¡Vamos!

I hope to see you there.

This post originally appeared on the Ciena Network Insights blog.

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