CSPs prepare to go mano a mano with virtualisation
Communications service providers (CSPs) face a long, complex and tiring campaign in which they will wage battles on a system-by-system basis as they roll-out network functions virtualisation (NFV). At least they won’t be completely unarmed, writes George Malim
The Spanish expression mano a mano literally means hand-to-hand or, more loosely, unarmed combat – sometimes involving bulls, but the NFV term MANO describes the management and orchestration systems that will be used to enable operation of virtualised and partvirtualised networks. MANO will be just as much of a battle as hand-to-hand combat but the telecoms software specialists are working flat out right now to ensure CSPs won’t be unarmed.
Having management systems that are able to reconcile an exploded network architecture of bare metal servers masquerading as virtual network functions (VNFs), traditional, function-specific network equipment and shape-shifting wireless networks means that order can be wrought from chaos and services can be provided flexibly, cheaply and at high quality. But this is a situation in perpetual motion so MANO has to be always managing and always orchestrating because, just as one service or service chain has been established, the landscape will change and new provisioning will be required.
To have any hope of achieving this rate of change, virtualised and hybrid networks need an all-seeing controller function that is consistent and relatively strict in terms of the interpretations of the rules it allows. It must have huge intelligence to keep track of all the elements and be massively quick in its thinking to keep up with the changes.
In essence, MANO systems have to be strong, supple, highly skilled, vastly intelligent and with reflexes measured in the low microseconds. For that reason you won’t find me willing to go mano a mano with a MANO.