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Guest Blog: Achieving Next Generation OSS with the TMF ZOOM, ONOS and Huawei


By Rob Jack, Huawei

Rob Jack is the Chief Solution Architect, OSS within Huawei’s Consulting & IT Services division and has held senior OSS architecture and consulting roles for over 20 years throughout Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East. He served as CTO for Fastwire, a specialist Inventory Management OSS solution prior to its acquisition by Huawei in 2013 and now leads research teams in Future OSS and Orchestration, helping to build Huawei’s advanced next generation Infrastructure Enabling System (IES). The TMF Catalyst project integrated ONOS as part of it’s platform, thus we have invited Rob Jack to share more details with us in this guest blog.

The TMF (tmforum.org) has long adopted a “needs-driven” approach to developing and validating the assets which it provides to the telecommunications industry. It does this primarily via its Catalyst program, whereby teams of vendors, SIs and CSPs work together to lead research on a particular business problem.  

While many of the core TMF assets such as the SID Information Framework, or Business Process Framework are familiar to many in telecoms, they are perhaps associated with the development and integration of traditional OSS/BSS. More recently the TMF has been leading the OSS/BSS industry in developing new capabilities and assets towards the virtualization of networks and telecom services, with a number of programs in place towards this, including the ZOOM (Zero Touch Operations Orchestration & Management) project. ZOOM’s particular focus on SDN/NFV has tackled many challenges being driven from Telco digitization, and a number of TMF Catalyst projects are operating within ZOOM towards better defining the needs for new concepts and associated standards within this exciting field.

A Future Focused Team and Operating Model

One of those projects, termed “Future Mode of Operations: Model-Driven Service Orchestration for Hybrid Networks” is led by Huawei with participation from vendor partners including Inspur and, in first phases, IBM. The project was championed by Orange and China Mobile, who provided a business requirement of using a modern orchestration architecture to achieve on-demand scale-out of a combined physical/virtual network during peak mobile traffic scenarios: such as stadium events or similar “tidal effect” traffic peaks in the mobile core network. The scenario demanded the use of VoLTE, and associated EPC and IMS infrastructure.   

Mirroring the roll-out of NFV, the team chose to develop the scenario from standard physical infrastructure to a 4G VoLTE network, including elements such as S/PGW within the EPC and S/P-CSCF within the IMS domain. In addition, an NFV MANO provided by Huawei created access to a VNF form of the S/PGW, is becoming created, onboarded and ready for scale-out on demand.

The final piece of the puzzle was provided by partnership with ONOS. Following a workshop held after a visit from the Catalyst project team to San Jose in July 2015, a team from the ONOS Project worked to provide access to Intent APIs based around the Huawei IPVPN extensions to ONOS core. This allowed the Catalyst to achieve the second element of the hybrid orchestration proof of concept – on-demand scale-out of the IPVPN core transporting the VoLTE sessions.

The team has since worked together through three iterations of the Catalyst project, with a main focus in each phase on:

  • ‘Tidal Effect’ Traffic Hybrid Orchestration for VoLTE scale-out
  • Policy usage in tidal effect scenarios
  • Cost-based policy in multi-VAS and IoT slice orchestration

Moving to a Cost-Driven Decision

This latest iteration of the Catalyst has seen use cases from Orange and China Mobile resulting in a partnership approach to the solution as shown below:

catalyst

In the mVAS scenario, ONOS is being called by a policy-based orchestration to build or scale IP-VPN based services such that any OpCo (local operating company) of an international CSP can leverage a multi-VAS service hosted at a centralized, cloudified location supporting VNF-based services.

The policy used in this scenario goes beyond the standard Event Condition Action (ECA) policies typically used today to drive many QoS based network intent rules, such as: “if Local VAS utilization goes above 80%, trigger a scale-out of VPN and use mVAS capability.” Here, the Huawei Orchestration component is using Goal and Utility Function policies – the latter can assign a cost (derived from financial metrics of CAPEX and OPEX) to first determine whether the scale-out is economical. Goal policies of ensuring overall customer experience can go hand-in-hand with the Utility Function and lower-layer ECA policies to ensure that an organization’s overall operating model can be encapsulated and automated.

Leveraging Intent with Open OSS APIs

The Intent APIs presented by ONOS represent a key advantage in ensuring that such an approach can be made to work without involving onerous software engineering or configuration to match and breakdown such goals into highly procedural API calls. Using these, the team was able to successfully and simply create orchestration across this complex hybrid domain. Further, these types of scale-out intents lent themselves well to modelling within an intent- model Service Catalog. The Service Orchestration system was able to include abstracted specifications of the types of virtual link services available within ONOS  in its own Service Catalog, and associate those to the capabilities and capacities (again expressed abstractly) in physical and virtual domains to allow decision processes in orchestration to operate automatically.

Beyond the ONOS-based capabilities, the Catalyst has demonstrated API-based solutions and developed new standards assets through the collaboration for (among others):

  • Multi-domain Catalog federation, including usage of TOSCA templates for NFV services
  • A Dynamic Inventory, including federated and Topology API capabilities
  • Usage of B2B2X APIs to support partner inter-operation for VAS or IoT services

Kicking Goals, Moving Forward

Over the first two phases the Catalyst was awarded twice by an independent panel of judges.  At Dallas in 2015, the project received the “Best Adoption of Frameworx”, while in Nice earlier this year it was awarded for “Greatest Contribution to Accelerating Digital Business”.   

This month, the latest phase will be demonstrated at TMF events in Dallas and Singapore, and once more the contribution from the ONOS project will be key to showing a complete model-driven service orchestration for hybrid networks.    

The Catalyst team acknowledges this great contribution from ONOS, and is hopeful that this collaboration between the open source world and standards organizations like the TMF continues to improve on the increasingly rapid turnaround between standards development and proven solutions that is needed to drive the real-world, mass-scale adoption of virtualized infrastructure.

If your company is a TMF member, and you would like to learn more about the project or the Catalyst program, please feel free to contact the TMF directly through info@tmforum.org or via https://www.tmforum.org/collaboration/catalyst-program/catalyst-program-benefits/