Innovation Rolls On At Mobile World Congress Through Open Source MANO

Carriers such as mobile operators tend to be a competitive bunch and they will fight tooth-and-nail in the never-ending battle for the hearts and wallets of subscribers. Lately, this subscriber war has led to operators rolling colorful balls down ramps in commercials to demonstrate the superiority of each company’s respective services vs. the competition.

balls

We’re sure to see more of competitive back-and-fro this week at Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest gathering of operators, vendors and other parties interested in telecom, mobile, communications infrastructure, etc. But while we may see a lot of fur flying, it’s also important to keep in mind that operators as a group have banded together in times of need for the common good.

Some of this collaboration has been the arm-wringing variety as was the case with the telecom infrastructure sharing regulations as mandated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, dictating ground rules such as “access to rights of way” and “reciprocal compensation”. But there have been other instances with historic ramifications where operators all over the world essentially partnered to drive the industry forward.

Perhaps the best example of this was the advent of Signaling System No. 7 (SS7), which took root in the mid-‘70s and then branched out all over the globe in the ‘80s. SS7 of course was the enabling technology of modern telecom networks including PSTN, ISDN and the PLMN, which led to the mobility revolution. From this foundation, SS7 also gave us a host of new, at the time, mind-blowing innovations that we take for granted today such as portability, prepaid billing, SMS, caller ID, etc.

Arguably though, the most important aspect of SS7 adoption was its ability to accelerate the pace of innovation in the telecom industry. In the Ma Bell days, telecom innovation used to be measured by decades. Post SS7 it was down to years or a year (or even less). In the era after deregulation, new features and functionality are seemingly a daily occurrence, as operators continually stockpile their subscriber-war arsenal.

At MWC this week, operators and solution vendors will be unveiling another industry-wide initiative called Open Source MANO (OSM) with the explicit goal of accelerating innovation and standardizing deployment models for production-quality NFV networks. NFV is this generation’s telecom infrastructure revolution and while its charter is collaborative by design, there are elements of it that are still largely undefined or ad hoc. NFV management and orchestration (MANO) is a prime example as the deployment models and mechanisms have been largely vendor-designed and -specific.

OSM means to flip this problem on its head. It is comprised of a community of leading operators and vendors who are collaborating to drive 100% operator-led and use-case based requirements of production NFV networks using common information models that are implemented and released in open-source software.

RIFT.io is proud to be a founding member of OSM and even prouder to be making significant technology and code contributions to the open source. We believe that our active participation in OSM will provide a crucial element that will accelerate NFV deployments and expand the universe of deployable virtual network services. Our initial contributions are in two main areas:

  • Network Service Orchestration, a model-driven approach responsible for end-to-end network service delivery including lifecycle management, VNF on-boarding, data model translation, network service generation, storage of network service catalogue templates and records, interface to configuration manager, as well as role based access control to the underlying clouds and infrastructure.
  • Graphical user interface, a model-driven user interface for NFV platform that provides a single pane of glass for configuring and reviewing the state of the orchestration environment and cloud infrastructure. Here is a screen shot of the GUI displaying one of the use cases that will be demoed

screenshot Lakshmi blog

Other companies are also making significant contributions, which are laid out in some detail in the press release and the white paper. The goal for all of the members and participants behind OSM is to create a standard, model-driven way to drive predictable and repeatable behavior of virtual network functions and other network services that run on multi vendor Virtual Infrastructure Managers (VIMs) and Network Virtual Function Infrastructures (NFVIs). We believe that having this solid foundation will be the basis for many more innovations both imagined and yet-to-be-imagined, much like SS7 was for telecommunications almost 40 years ago.

If you happen to be attending MWC this week, we’d encourage you to get a glimpse at the OSM demo that will be available in the Intel booth (Hall 3, 3D30). We’d also encourage you to visit us at our booth (Hall 7 Stand 7N73) to get a full overview of our solution or talk to us about joining our new RIFT.ready Partner Program if you are a technology vendor or cloud and other solutions provider.