ATIS has introduced its new Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Forum to address the ongoing movement from hardware to software-centric networks and the growing virtual network operator movement concept.
Set on looking at inter-provider technical requirements and solutions, ATIS will develop a set of priority use cases to understand the benefits from multi-provider service integration and identifying requirements to enable service integration and portability.
ATIS' NFV Forum's work builds on solutions aimed at realizing the benefits of SDN/NFV, including those developed by ETSI NFV ISG specifications, OpenStack's general purpose virtualization framework, the Linux Foundation's Open Platform for NFV (core NFV functions), TM Forum Zoom's program on management and operations, OpenDaylight's open source SDN solution and the Open Networking Foundation's OpenFlow.
In developing these use cases, ATIS will include a catalog of APIs that will illustrate functionality, mechanisms to discover available services and tools to combine services from various service providers.
Andrew White, vice president of technology and standards for ATIS, told FierceTelecom that there are two key drivers: cost savings and expanding virtual functions via APIs related to inter-provider integration.
"One of those was around cost savings that we've all come to expect with virtualization," White said. "If you do that coupled with the exposure of those functions through APIs, what results is a framework of capabilities that not only allow you to get those cost savings, but also grow your business and generate new revenue."
These new elements can address a mix of traditional wireline and wireless service providers, but also cloud-based over-the-top providers like Netflix and vertical industries like finance or the automotive industry.
"We said let's stretch the definition of providers so we get interoperability between traditional service providers, but also over-the-top providers and other large businesses in the financial industry and look at the use of APIs across those cases," White said.
White added that "General Motors is not a carrier in a traditional sense, but they are very interested in consuming these exposed network capabilities."
For a business or a consumer, a wireless provider could use these elements to provide service roaming for their customers, for example.
"If you were an AT&T (NYSE: T) customer and you roam onto Telefonica, you get voice, text messaging and Internet," White said. "What this allows for is I understand that I, as the home provider, can access their network APIs and push to that remote user a firewall service and launch it in the NFV container of the other provider."
ATIS' NFV Forum will build on work other ATIS groups have already conducted, including its Cloud Services Forum and the ATIS SDN/NFV Focus Group it began earlier this year.
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