Network functions virtualization (NFV) might be the biggest shake-up for the communications industry since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, or the birth of the softswitch in the late 1990s, and its impact stands to be felt far and wide as service providers around the globe struggle to gauge the impact on their Operational Support Systems (OSS). As a leading, global trade organization made of up the world’s largest service providers and suppliers, TM Forum is focused heavily on developing the rulebook for operations for the digital and virtual world.
One of the ways we are getting our members involved in tackling the impact of NFV is at our Action Week in Madrid, Spain, Feb. 10-14, where we have five days focused on virtualized technologies like NFV and software-defined networking (SDN) and the impact they will have on operations management.
Action Week is TM Forum’s bi-annual, member-driven event where work on our Frameworx best practices and standards takes shape. It’s a highly collaborative event unlike traditional conferences in that attendees participate in intense workshops and develop solutions to the most pressing industry problems — like NFV.
In this case, our members’ work at Action Week sets the scene for our NFV strategy and execution, including the NFV-related Catalyst projects slated for TM Forum Live! in Nice, France, June 2-5. So far, we have six NFV-related Catalysts on deck to present projects in Madrid, several of which plan to submit their projects for consideration as proof of concepts for the European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s (ETSI’s) NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG).
In addition, member companies such as Alcatel-Lucent, AT&T, Ciena, HP, Huawei, Oracle, Orange and others, will drive detailed technical discussions on a number of management and operations challenges for NFV, including the operational management of virtualized infrastructure, TM Forum’s Information Framework (SID) model and NFV requirements, the future OSS/BSS NFV management, enterprise-to-enterprise service level agreement management, policy management, security and more.
As the week wraps up, the focus will shift to developing our future work plans. This promises to be challenging because it not only involves planning TM Forum’s internal work, but it also requires extensive external coordination with other organizations such as the NFV ISG, NGNM, 3GPP, DTMF, OMG, IETF, ONF and others in the alphabet soup to avoid duplication of effort and introducing confusion into the industry.
NFV is a big topic and our members are tackling it with vigor since there can be no NFV or SDN without BSS/OSS (see NFV and SDN need OSS to take off ).