NFV to get direction from the secret six

Jul 18, 2013

The move, lead by CIMI Corp. President, Tom Nolle, might be seen as an attempt to deal with the perennial network standards conundrum - how to reconcile eager new software specifications with incumbent investment protection.

In this case the problem is aggravated by the incumbency being black-box hardware based and the new kids mostly software specialists.

Nolle's specific concern was that ETSI (which is formulating the NFV standards) was over-represented by telecoms and hardware vendors when what was needed to gel the effort was software prototyping.

So Nolle has formed a small (six members) and as yet secret, invitation-only group of IT software vendors to produce prototypes. The idea is to head the abstract discussion off at the pass by coming up with a prototype that just works. None of the big telecom vendors is involved.

The first prototype will probably involve the low-hanging fruit du jour: virtualised IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem), but Nolle stresses that CloudNFV is not a splinter standards group and will produce no standards of its own, only demonstrator projects to provide NFV direction.

As Nolle himself urges ETSI members in his blog, "forget the notion of designing NFV to be capable of running on everything from bare metal to the cloud, and adopt the presumption of cloud implementation."

He goes on: "That would simplify the process of specifying how functions could be deployed and operationalized, and take advantage of the enormous body of work cloud computing has produced."

So that's what the still secret group is setting out to do, giving itself a deadline of September to come up with the demo goods.

This is clever play: the secrecy heightens the dramatic 'reveal' due to take place in September while at the same time blunting any subtle attacks that might be mounted on the group's composition and motives.

... and it means that we (and all the other networking media) have to update you on the composition of the group when that is announced. Respect.

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