Above and beyond MANO
The transformation of physical network functions (PNF) to virtual network functions (VNF) may take several years and some of the functions may never be virtualized. In this context, a hybrid network is a combination of PNF and VNF.
To be successful in the transformation of NFV, it is vital to have a unified network management system that manages both physical and virtual domains and provide unified view of the networks. In addition, not all functions will be migrated to cloud and some functions may permanently stay in the physical infrastructure as today. Also, it will take several years to transform the current telecom network function to virtualization (NFV). So, Hybrid networks are here to stay for a foreseeable future.
Now, let us look in to what MANO (Management and Orchestration) is currently addressing. NFV MANO is a working group (WG) of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute Industry Specification Group (ETSI ISG NFV). MANO provides an architectural framework for management and orchestration of all resources in the cloud data center (compute, network, storage, and virtual machine (VM) resources), VNF’s and network services.
MANO architecture includes three main functions:
- NFV Orchestrator (NFVO)
- VNF Manager (VNFM)
- Virtualized Infrastructure manager (VIM)
Why do operators need to go above and beyond MANO?
MANO is not covering all practical aspects that are needed for the successful migration to NFV and continuous management of hybrid networks. It is essential to consider a holistic view of the management and orchestration that is necessary for the seamless NFV transformation and management of hybrid networks. To be successful in their NFV transformation, operators need to think about automation, orchestration, policy, management, control beyond the data centers. Management and orchestration does not happen in one specific area of the management layer, rather it happens in many areas such as network & services management, OSS/BSS layers and includes some of the best performing nodes that can take automated decisions and optimize within themselves.
Many in the industry consistently speak about orchestration needed at different levels such as network level orchestration (physical & virtual network functions), services level orchestration, and cloud infrastructure resources orchestration. Also, MANO does not specify SDN in its architecture rather it assumes that fundamental transport infrastructure and transport services are already established.
To be successful in the migration of NFV, there needs to be an e2e service orchestration across multiple domains and network orchestration that includes both physical and virtual functions and networks.