The New IP Agency (NIA) is today announcing the NIA NFV Certification Program that addresses the biggest issue currently delaying the implementation of advanced virtualized networks: a lack of interoperability between network functions virtualization (NFV) software from different vendors.
The NIA’s program is supported by the world’s leading service providers and vendors, and will play an essential role in enabling NFV to fulfill its promise of delivering an open, innovative environment that allows service providers to deploy next-generation services and applications quickly, reliably and easily. The certification will strengthen customer confidence in multi-vendor solutions, reduce service provider testing costs and massively accelerate platform/service deployment.
“The NIA certification program is essential to the success of the telecom industry,” said NIA Founder and Secretary Steve Saunders. “By providing clear, independent, not-for-profit pass/fail interoperability testing we will help get service providers back on track to deliver on the promise of virtualization.”
The absence of standards for NFV means that, today, the de facto way to get NFV products from different vendors to work together is by hard coding each instance of interoperability. This limits service providers’ options when choosing NFV products, and is not a scalable approach on heterogeneous real-world networks. Worse, the only way for service providers to establish whether products from different vendors will interoperate is either to take their word for it, or perform extensive, time-consuming and expensive lab work.
The NIA’s NFV Certification Program eliminates these issues. providing reassurance to telecom customers that NFV is indeed ready for prime time, and that their investments will have the multivendor flexibility necessary to make good business sense.
The New IP Agency is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organization that provides information, education, analysis and testing to support the development of a global economy based on open, advanced, virtualized IP networks. Key members of the NIA include ADVA Optical Networking, Boingo Wireless, Colt, Cox Communications, Deutsche Telekom, Fortinet, Huawei, Juniper Networks, Korea Telecom and Verizon.
“Our expectation is that the Certification Program will increase the speed-to-market of interoperable service chain solutions so that customers can more quickly reap the benefits of NFV,” said Victoria Lonker, vice president of Integrated Network and Security Solutions at Verizon.
“The launch of the NIA NFV Certification Program is a critical step forward for the wireless industry that will help accelerate the adoption of NFV technology and unlock new business opportunities for service providers,” said Dr. Derek Peterson, chief technology officer of Boingo Wireless, and member of the NIA board of directors. “Interoperability is the necessary ingredient to realize NFV’s potential and it’s exciting to see the industry come together to deploy standardized NFV solutions that work seamlessly across the entire wireless ecosystem.”
Testing for the certification program will be led by the European Advanced Networking Test Center, (EANTC), an internationally recognized test center, based in Berlin, Germany, and a long-standing partner of the NIA.
Emphasis will be placed on VNF onboarding to VIM/NFVi, as well as NFVO network service management interoperability. Based on accepted industry taxonomy, (“VNF” corresponds to “virtual network function”; “VIM” to “virtualized infrastructure manager”; “NFVi” to “NFV infrastructure”; and “NFVO” to “NFV orchestrator.”)
Testing will be patterned after the TST007 specification under ETSI rules. Each successful test will be publicly announced via a certificate PDF/logo identifying the test suite, date of issuance/expiration, implementation(s) under test and reference ID to an online registry describing configuration parameters, test cases executed, validated interoperability partners and other details needed to reproduce the tests independently.
Under current plans, certifications will remain in force for a period of 18 months, pending automated re-testing in the wake of any product changes.