MANO Over Hybrid Virtualization Technologies

In this monthly SONATA blog we would like to touch on one of the hottest challenges the MANO world is facing - the MANO of 5G components over hybrid virtualization technologies, and to present SONATA’s efforts related to it.

Up until recently the NFV world was homogeneous in relation to utilized virtualization technologies and used only VMs. This has started to change as other virtualization enablers have matured. The key new enabler is containers. Containers have emerged in recent years as a top facilitator for painless CI/CD of applications‎. The enterprise world started the shift to containers and micro services architecture several years ago; it is now the turn of the NFV world to do the same.

Due to the complexity and nature of telecommunication applications, the shift to containers is a more challenging journey. Telecom applications are stateful in many cases and require strong performance, high availability and security requirements. Therefore, running them in containers, requires additional efforts‎‎.

Moreover, many of the telco applications, referred to as network services, are tailored by a combination of smaller components, referred to as network functions. As the transfer to containers is complex, not all of the network functions will be able to complete it at the same time, resulting in network services that are comprised of a combination of VM based functions and container based functions. The MANO of such a hybrid cloud is accompanied by quite a few challenges, such as creating telco grade connectivity between the various components and performing life cycle management operations over a heterogeneous cloud.

As SONATA aims to address the significant challenges associated with both the development and deployment of the complex services envisioned for 5G networks, the SONATA team has started to work on a solution that will support the MANO of container based network functions. The work began with an analysis of the implications generated by different types of virtualization technologies, followed by a revised architecture of SONATA’s service platform that will support the development and deployment of both VM based and container based applications over a hybrid cloud.

These days the SONATA team is working on the enhancement of SONATA’s descriptors to support containers, as well as on SONATA’s Infrastructure Abstraction layer, designed to wrap Kuberenetes Containers Orchestration Engine (COE) and to overcome the networking challenges it presents. These enhancements are the core requirements in order for SONATA’s SDK and Service Platform to support MANO over hybrid virtualization technologies. The efforts related to this work include overcoming some of the key challenges detailed earlier in this blog. The relevant solutions developed by SONATA will be made available on SONATA’s public repository.

- A Beginner’s Guide to Docker Container in NFV, Faisal Khan,
- Docker containers CI/CD use case,
- Continuous Deployment with Containers, Viktor Farcic,
- An Analysis of Lightweight Virtualization Technologies for NFV, IETF NFVRG,
- Using Linux Containers in Telecom Applications, Csaba Rotter, Lóránt Farkas, Gábor Nyíri, Gergely Csatári, László Jánosi, Róbert Springer - Nokia Networks,
- ETSI GS NFV-EVE 004, V1.1.1, Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) Virtualisation Technologies Report on the application of Different Virtualisation Technologies in the NFV Framework,
- SONATA Deliverable D6.1., Definition of the pilots, Infrastructure setup and Maintenance Report,
- SONATA Deliverable D2.3, Updated Requirements and Architecture Design
- SONATA Deliverable D3.2. Intermediate release of SDK prototype and documentation
- SONATA Deliverable D4.2, Service Platform First Operational Release and Documentation
- SONATA’s public repository