Orange asks industry to move to ONAP and standardise NFVi ASAP

Industry risks disaster if orchestration and management of virtualised infrastructure is not standardised, CTO warns.

The telco industry risks an “industrial disaster” unless it can find a common standard for managing NFV infrastructure (NFVi), and for the orchestration of virtual networks, a senior operator CTO has warned.

ONAP is the way to orchestrate 5G success, said Orange’s Emanuel Lugagne Delpon at ONS2018.

Emanuel Lugange Delpon, Senior VP of Orange Labs Networks, speaking at the Linux Foundation’s Open Networking Summit 2018, asked for a standardised NFVi and said that ONAP should form the basis for a single orchestration stream for virtual and software-defined networks.

Building his argument, he said that the industry will only deliver true 5G if it has a virtualised, disaggregated network, with cloud native functions and a fully virtual core. But it cannot manage that network if different operators are faced with fragmentation on standards.

“If not managed well, disaggregation will put the telco ecosystem at risk,” he warned.

I urgently and firmly believe that ONAP is the right orchestrator for the future, and urge the operator community to join their forces in order to have ONAP as the target orchestration.

“The issue today is that there are too many configurations, parameters and elements that are proposed by the vendors. For example there’s no one NFVi standard, and no one standard for orchestration. The consequence is all operators have to make more integration, an extra effort to integrate different elements on the NFVi.”

Orange is a strong supporter of ONAP and Lugagne Delpon said that ONAP should for a single stream for orchestration standards from now.

“We will not have full the benefit of 5G if we do not have the right orchestration layer. The telco community cannot afford to be fragmented and have orchestrators that are different between operators. This not going to be viable. This is a call for action. I urgently and firmly believe that ONAP is the right orchestrator for the future, and urge the operator community to join their forces in order to have ONAP as the target orchestration.”

He added that standardised NFVi definitions should come from another Open Source effort – OPNFV. “Open Source communities are the right place to do this kind of job,” he said. (Orange also supports O-RAN Alliance – the group looking to open up RAN interface specifications.)

The actual functions and interfaces should still be standardised within 3GPP, he said, but the integration of that in the cloud sits best in the open source communities Orange is supporting.

Lugagne Delpon feared that if a single stream is not followed, “Some actors will arrive, there will be some de facto standardisation but not all the community will benefit from this as it will be more closed than open. Disaggregation is today leading to a fragmented market and that is bad for the ecosystem.”

At present there is a project within ETSI to deliver an open source based stack for the management and orchestration of NFV networks – known as OS-MANO. That project has received principal backing from Telefonica but has other operator members. ONAP was originally started within A&T and since moving to the Linux Foundation has received further support from China Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and DT, among others.

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