CloudNFV Catalyst shows NFV is ready for prime time

Network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) are hot topics for this year’s TM Forum Live! Catalyst projects, with six of the 15 projects to be demonstrated next week in Nice focusing on virtualization. One of those projects is demonstrating that the higher-level objectives of both TM Forum and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute NFV Industry Specification Group are achievable today.

The CloudNFVTM: Dynamic, data-driven management and operations Catalyst builds on TM Forum’s Information Framework to create a meta data model using ‘active virtualization’, a term coined by the CloudNFVTM consortium. Originally founded by industry veteran Tom Nolle, the consortium is a group of NFV technology suppliers working together to develop solutions aimed at solving one of the biggest problems plaguing network virtualization: how to link orchestration systems in a virtual network with the other business and operational support systems controlling network policy. Without these connections, sometimes dubbed ‘east-west’ interfaces, services like dynamic quality of service or even automated energy management simply won’t work at scale.

Dave Duggal, Co-founder and Managing Director, EnterpriseWeb, and Co-leader of the Catalyst project, refers to those east-west interfaces as ‘automated interoperability’ and says it’s all about figuring out how to keep complex business services that have dependencies on virtual network functions (VNFs), policies and network resources from breaking down if any of the parties of an orchestration are changed or replaced. That requires something more than conventional application program interfaces (APIs), which are not dynamically configurable or adaptable.

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