Living in an ONAP world – Delivering a complete VNF integration
In order to meet the unprecedented demands for performance, latency, capacity and scale created by new applications such as Augment and Virtual Reality (AR & VR) and the Internet of Things (IoT), next-generation networks will require innovative methods in how they are architected.
The telecom industry has begun to adopt open source and virtualisation as the next step in the network evolution, says Al Balasco, and the momentum is beginning to pick up for virtualised network functions (VNF). As the telco industry embraces virtualised networks, standards such as Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) have become more popular.
The tipping point is here
ONAP is an open source software platform that enables the design, creation, orchestration, monitoring and lifecycle management of VNFs. With more than 60 operators committed to ONAP, the tipping point for ONAP is here. After years of fragmentation of MANO options, with solutions largely built on vendor proprietary options, or multi-vendor, largely manual, VNF lifecycle management approaches, ONAP changes the game.
As a vendor-neutral, comprehensive and open-sourced solution, ONAP is positioned to deliver on the promise of fully elastic, automated open telecom operations. This includes “zero touch” management and the corresponding OpEx and CapEx savings through optimal, on-demand hardware utilisation, agility and innovation enabling services. These services will be deployed, tested, corrected and scaled to meet end user needs quickly and in cost-effective ways.
Radisys is in the unique position to support application partners and communications service providers (CSPs) with services that aid in quickly planning, certifying, integrating and deploying a fully automated ONAP-complaint network. With more than two and a half years of experience in supporting ONAP and its predecessor, AT&T’s Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management, and Policy (ECOMP) architecture with our virtual media resource function (vMRF), Radisys offers one of the first market-proven network elements, deployed in large scale in carrier networks around the world.
AT&T and Orange
Radisys’ early MRF adoption of ONAP, and more importantly the verified performance as a fully automated ONAP VNF, along with that market leading MRF footprint serving a variety of HD audio and video applications, Radisys has already been publicly showcased by two of the industry’s leading operators, AT&T at last year’s OPNFV event in Beijing and more recently by Orange as the industry’s first integration of a complete commercial-grade Media Resource VNF in the ONAP Amsterdam release.
While onboarding commercial VNFs includes refining and fine-tuning application programme interfaces (APIs) and interfaces which enable VNF integration with ONAP and demonstrating the VNF’s full lifecycle management, Radisys addresses these challenges by working closely with partners like Orange Lab Networks and the wider ONAP community and by leveraging a highly agile development and integration environment.
ONAP deployment in production is still in its infancy. This year is expected to be the year of CSP open readiness, while 2019 will be the year that production begins to expand and truly take off. Of course, the availability of specific vendor VNFs and nuances of individual operator deployment requirements will affect individual project timescales. However, one of the benefits of selecting ONAP-ready network elements today is that they can be implemented to support new services in a virtual environment in parallel with preparing for ONAP readiness. In other words, designing in a future-proof VNF is possible today.
The author of this blog is Al Balasco of Radisys