ETSI's OSM hits version 4.0 while ONAP's second release looms large

Despite some industry chatter, ETSI's OSM and the LInux Foundation's ONAP may not be in a pro wrestling match for industry domination. (Pixabay)

The European Telecommunications Standards Group (ETSI) released the latest version of its Open Source MANO (OSM) code this week, which featured several enhancements and improvements.

ETSI said the fourth release of its OSM code was the most ambitious to date, and it represented the biggest jump forward in terms of functionality, user experience and maturity.

OSM release FOUR features improvements in monitoring and closed loop capabilities, and a leaner footprint with a reduction of up 75% in RAM consumption. There's also a new northbound interface that provides a single pane of glass to control the OSM system and a cloud-native install that ETSI said improved user experience and optimization.

Two years ago, OSM was created with the goal of providing a fully functional, open source NFV orchestrator to go with ETSI's NFV framework.

At times, the telecom industry has tended to pit OSM against the Linux Foundation's Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) for some type of pro wrestling Texas death match in a boxing ring, but it's more of an apples-to-oranges comparison for some industry experts.

"I don't see ONAP as a competitor whatsoever; it's just an understanding of what both things do," said Pierre Lynch, chairman of the NFV testing, experimentation and open source working group at ETSI NFV, in an interview with FierceTelecom earlier this week before OSM FOUR was officially announced. "OSM has a scope more like what we're doing with NFV. OSM is doing orchestration, the VNFs, and a service orchestrator as well. So OSM's scope is far narrower and more focused than ONAP.

"ONAP does end-to-end service orchestration. It cares about applications, etcetera. People see it as 'Oh, it's a competition.' I disagree. OSM has a different scope. It's doing very different things and very often I find it to be misunderstood."

To be sure, the Linux Foundation has been a vocal cheerleader for ONAP, and it looks to have more resources for its promotional and developmental efforts. Currently, ONAP has more service provider members than OSM.

RELATED: ETSI debuts Release Three of Open Source MANO

ONAP was the result of the Linux Foundation combining AT&T's ECOMP, which it had put into open source, with OPEN-O. In addition to AT&T, ONAP's service provider membership includes Comcast, BCE, Orange Group, China Mobile, China Telecom, Vodafone, PCCW Global, and, more recently, Verizon. Vendor members include Accenture, Amdocs, Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Coriant, Juniper Networks, Mirantis and Nokia.

ONAP was designed create an open source framework for network automation including orchestration across the MANO (management and orchestration) sector. Other ONAP elements include lifecycle management, a design framework, analytics engines and closed-loop automation.

The goal of ONAP is to become the de facto automation platform for the telecom industry. ONAP has laid claim to having more than 50 members comprised of the largest network operators, cloud operators and technology providers from around the globe, which together represent more than 60% of the world’s mobile subscribers.

ONAP's second software release, Beijing, will be out this summer. Beijing will include scale, stability, security and performance boosters as well as more uses cases for 5G features and inter-cloud connectivity.

By contrast, OSM traces its roots back to Telefónica's OpenMANO project, Canonical's Juju generic VNF manager and's orchestrator. OSM's cast of service provider characters includes Amazon Web Services, BT, Bell Mobility, Sprint, Telenor and, more recently, Verizon. OSM's vendor partners include ADVA, Canonical, Intel, Mavenir Systems, NetScout, Procera Networks and Sandvine.

With service providers such as Telefónica backing OSM and the likes of AT&T and China Mobile having ONAP's back, it may not be a winner takes all proposition between the two. Members of both OSM and ONAP would agree that there's plenty of work still do in each of their respective corners.