With new NFV document releases around the corner, another round of NFV Plugtests in January, and a bevy of InfoSec regulations to keep track of, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) seems to have its virtual hands full. For Joan Triay, a technical manager at ETSI and chairman of the ETSI NFV Technical Steering Committee, however, it's just par for the course.
Telco Transformation reached out to Triay, who was in Denver last week for ETSI's 19th Plenary Meeting on NFV before a whirlwind of events to take place in France beginning next month.
In part one of this two-part Q&A, Triay updates Telco Transformation on what's been going on at the Plenary Meeting, ETSI's upcoming NFV Plugtests and the respective roles of standards and data stewardship when it comes to NFV.
In part two, Triay addresses the interrelationship between NFV and automation, responds to criticisms of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) model and gives his top tips for NFV integration.
Telco Transformation: You have your second round of NFV Plugtests coming up in January. What NFV innovations did ETSI see from the firsts series of Plugtests, and what are you hoping to see in January for NFV developments? (See ETSI Tees Up Second NFV Plugtests and NFV Interoperability Leaps Forward at ETSI NFV Plugtests Event.)
Joan Triay: The first Plugtests that were run had very good outcomes in terms of trying to find the pain points for mixing and matching the different functionalities and capabilities of NFV.
What we are looking for now in the second Plugtest is to go even more in detail and focus more on interoperability capability. So since we have now recently already published some of the APIs, it would be quite beneficial now that we can leverage the APIs and try to test them and see if there are any issues in terms of interoperability. This is one of the objectives of the second Plugtest -- as well as trying to integrate as many players in the tests. So I would say that these are the two basic objectives.
TT: Meanwhile, you had ETSI's 19th NFV Plenary meeting going on in Denver last week. What can you tell me about that?
JT: We were trying to analyze some aspects of the data models and the protocols. It's looking very good. Some of the texts will also be published before the end of the year. We also published some of them now in midsummer, and it looks good. One of the strategies or objectives of the meeting at this time was also to try to plan ahead the next steps for the normative work we want to do related to different features and engagements that we categorizing as what we call release number three.
Basically, as part of this release number three, what we are looking for is trying to improve and enrich the framework that we have provided from the specific specifications and make it easier for deployment and operation of NFV globally. As I mentioned, the basic or high-level objective is to have a plan on the next steps and what additional work items we are going to do in the next half a year and year.
Besides that, there's the regular, good progress of the working groups as well -- still performing maintenance upon the specifications that we have published, as well as the very good promise also of our working groups that they are also tackling the different gaps in terms of making sure that things that we deliver are secure by design -- and also are reliable.
We also had a very nice tutorial on Monday [Sept. 11]. We invited anyone willing to join to a set of tutorials. For one side, we provided an overall overview of the framework that we have delivered, the functionalities and what we are capable of doing with the framework.
On the other side, it was also very nice because we performed an online check and tutorial, and kind of a "spec-fest" on using open APIs based upon what NFV has now delivered in the stage three documents. It was quite well attended, even before attendees were joining online. We are also looking forward to doing similar things now in the upcoming events that will take place in October. So anyone that is also willing to join for these events will also be very welcome -- and it's very good for us to show the end results that we are delivering in the group.
As we were having the NFV 19th Plenary Meeting, CableLabs kindly offered all the hosting and organization of the meeting. CableLabs is obviously one of the members in the ETSI NFV group. We are really grateful for all of the work that they have done, and the meeting ran very well. (See CableLabs Hails Major ETSI NFV Milestone.)
TT: You mentioned security by design. What are the big security issues in NFV that you are seeing and dealing with these days, and the big security challenges that you are facing?
JT: We have, obviously, significant challenges in terms of how to accommodate the regulations. Obviously, the flexibility that virtualization provides could also be understood as kind of breaking those boundaries of regulations. So our security experts in NFV are very much aware of the need to establish what the regulations require in these cases and provide guidance in terms of how the deployment of certain functions need to be performed on certain specific enclaves of security in order to compute requirements for lawful interception. As well as that, there are also many other pain points, like how to ensure trust between the different elements that are part of the framework because we have to make sure that we can trust each other so that we can ensure that what is being requested is being requested by the entity that is authorized to do it. So this is one of the aspects that they are also looking at -- identity management.
TT: What is the importance of standardization when it comes to NFV and VNFs?
JT: The role of standardization is still very important for the fact that usually providers need to have accepted the specifications that they can reference globally. Some of our partners have a very good role there because they are the ones that can provide those kinds of specifications based on consensus and technical ramifications of the solutions. So the role there is very clear. The standards play a very important role of delivering these general frameworks and requirements and, as well, the specifications to make sure that there is a path then taken by open source or any other activities to build on those foundations with the specifications to then actually provide the solutions. So, in summary, standards matter.
— Joe Stanganelli, Contributing Writer, Telco Transformation