Dynamic APIs for the Connected Carrier

Merged Catalyst uses NFV to simplify partnering

TM Forum Inform
Dawn Bushaus
May 6, 2015

Link to article – http://inform.tmforum.org/features-and-analysis/featured/2015/05/merged-catalyst-uses-nfv-to-simplify-partnering/

Two award-winning TM Forum Live! 2014 Catalyst proofs of concept are joining forces this year in a project called Dynamic APIs for the Connected Carrier, which will show how the Forum’s Open Digital application program interfaces (APIs) can be used in a multi-partner ecosystem to deliver services to end customers.

At TM Forum Live! last year, the Service Bundling in a B2B2X Marketplace Catalyst showed how a buyer can bundle a collection of services sourced from different suppliers through dynamic API’s and immediately package them to form new products. These components could include traditional network access products, as well as network functions virtualization (NFV) and infrastructure-as-a-service products. The Catalyst won the Most Significant Contribution to Frameworx Award by demonstrating the use of TM Forum’s Information Framework (SID) metadata patterns to govern message payloads through Open Digital APIs.

The Most Innovative Catalyst Award went to the CloudNFV: Dynamic, Data-driven Management and Operations Catalystwhich demonstrated a Layer 7 solution for both NFV and software-defined networking (SDN) that allows management to declaratively express intent by policy. CloudNFV abstracts all of the implementation details so the business can stay focused on customers, products and profits, while realizing the benefits of virtualization for network operators. It showed how operators can rapidly iterate and experiment with NFV and SDN use-cases at low cost and risk to accelerate time to market for new solutions.

At TM Forum Live! 2015 in Nice, France, next month the merged Catalyst will showcase two business scenarios that leverage the Forum’s Open Digital APIs as a standard interface.

It takes two – or more

Dave Duggal, Founder and Managing Director, EnterpriseWeb, and Greg Tilton, Chairman and Chief Technology Officer, DGIT, are the co-leads of the merged Catalyst. DGIT provides the B2B marketplace solution and leads Business Scenario 1, while EnterpriseWeb is providing the management and orchestration (MANO) platform and leads Business Scenario 2.

From a broad perspective, this Catalyst demonstrates an end-to-end solution in a multi-vendor, multi-technology, multi-domain environment. It will show how dynamic APIs mediate connections between diverse systems – a B2B broker and orchestrator configured in DGIT Telflow, an ordering system supplied by Comverse, orchestration provided by EnterpriseWeb and monitoring provided by Qosmos.

“Business Scenario 1 will demonstrate a B2B marketplace concept for the North American market to allow the marketplace to break the shackles of its legacy and make operational process improvements and support new innovative products including NFV,” Tilton says.

Business Scenario 2 focuses on the instantiation and lifecycle management of network services.

“The Catalyst will show how our northbound API based on the Forum’s Open Digital APIs streamlines interoperability between service providers and network providers to facilitate seamlessly orchestrated services across administrative domains, as well as the north-south implementations we’ve demonstrated previously,” Duggal says. “Technical enablement is critical to realizing the business objectives of SDN and NFV.”

Collaboration is not limited to supplier participants. The merged Catalyst is enjoying unprecedented support from six leading service providers including AT&T, BT, NTT Communications, Orange and Verizon.

How it works

“CloudNFV will expose a northbound API to the DGIT Telflow broker, Comverse’s ordering system and to EnterpriseWeb’s MANO platform and VNF catalog for a complete end-to-end and fully dynamic solution,” Duggal explains. “The demo will feature TM Forum’s Open Digital RESTful API as the bridge between our platform and the OSS/BSS systems.”

That way, suppliers can invest in a single set of API’s and use them to supply multiple products to many buyers, adds Tilton. Conversely buyers can also use a single API investment to integrate with many suppliers and a true marketplace can form.

“We’re introducing a DevOps approach to launching new services,” Tilton says. “Because of the re-use of established interfaces for new partners and products, new initiatives can become operations led. When coupled with an agile, configurable OSS, new levels of business agility can be achieved, and services can be enriched with partner capabilities and rapidly taken to market.”

The Catalyst intends to show that:

  • TMForum’s Open Digital API’s are well suited as a northbound interface for an NFV MANO solution;
  • Frameworx Information Framework specifications can be used to provide a metadata solution for data exchanged through a MANO to OSS interface;
  • Information Framework specifications and North American access service request formats for B2B data payload can co-exist in a common marketplace, allowing for provider-defined offerings (rather than being limited to products which have been agreed in standards groups); and
  • TM Forum’s Business Partnering Guide is an ideal solution to support the emerging new NFV products.

“The most rewarding aspect of participating in a Catalyst is the collaborations themselves,” adds Duggal. “TM Forum encourages multi-vendor teams to drive industry innovation. This is a fundamentally good idea, which we embrace wholeheartedly.”


Written by Dawn Bushaus –

Editor, TM Forum @digitaldmb

Dawn Bushaus began her career in technology journalism in 1989 at Telephony magazine, which means she’s been writing about networking for a quarter century. (She wishes she didn’t have to admit that because it probably gives you a good idea of how old she really is.) In 1996, Dawn joined a team of journalists to start a McGraw-Hill publication called tele.com, and in 2000, she helped a team at Ziff-Davis launch The Net Economy, where she held senior writing and editing positions. Prior to joining TM Forum, she worked as a freelance analyst for Heavy Reading.