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5G network slicing the early focus of ETSI’s new Zero-Touch group

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© Flickr/cc-licence/Andrew Writer

  • ETSI launches Zero touch network and service management group
  • Looking towards agile management and automation of future services
  • ISG will initially focus on the 5G end-to-end network and service management
  • Goal is to execute automatically all operational processes and tasks

ETSI has established it latest Industry Specification Group, this one focusing on the emerging field of “zero touch” network automation. The Zero Touch network and service management (ZSM) ISG will initially focus on 5G end-to-end network and service management, such as network slicing management, and will extend to the management for future network generations. The goal is to have all operational processes and tasks – delivery, deployment, configuration, assurance and optimization – executed automatically, ideally with 100 per cent automation.

“There are many issues that are currently hindering the automation of operations and Network and Service Management functionalities that need to be addressed at an industry level,” says Klaus Martiny, convenor of the ETSI ZSM ISG. “A primary goal of the ZSM ISG is to identify requirements on the necessary management architecture and interfaces to support the end-to-end zero touch network and service management in a multi-vendor environment. It is important as well that existing solutions will be considered”.

The group will set out to define a new, future-proof, horizontal and vertical end-to-end operable framework enabling agile, efficient and qualitative management and automation of emerging and future networks and services. Horizontal end-to-end refers to cross-domain, cross-technology aspects whereas vertical end-to-end refers to cross-layer aspects, from the resource-oriented up to the customer-oriented layers. The ZSM group will also facilitate the coordination and cooperation between relevant standardisation bodies and open source projects.

ETSI says that the challenges of 5G will trigger the need for a radical change in the way networks and services are managed and orchestrated. These challenges are driven by the wide range of 5G requirements, including massive seemingly infinite capacity, imperceptive latency, demand for personalised services, global web-scale reach and support for massive M2M communication. Networks need to continue their evolution towards programmable, software-driven, service-based and holistically-managed architectures, using the technology enablers and catalysts such as NFV, SDN and MEC. ETSI adds that new business models, including those enabled by network slicing, support new markets and impose unprecedented operational agility and higher cooperation across network domains. The resulting exponential increase in overall complexity makes automation a necessity.

The inaugural Meeting of ZSM ISG will take place at ETSI’s offices in Sophia Antipolis between 10 and 12 January 2018, and is open to all ETSI members and non-member organisations. There’s a background whitepaper on Zero Touch available here.

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