In legacy networks, most of the network functions had to run on dedicated hardware. This caused a level of rigidity in scaling, updating, and even deploying these functions. In today's networks, however, the demand for virtualized versions of the network functions has increased. In order to meet this demand, support for automating the deployment of these services on virtualized or even containerized infrastructure is needed. Furthermore, once these services are deployed, a mechanism to control the lifecycle of these services becomes necessary.
The softwarization and virtualization of networks and network functions have elevated the complexity of securing networks by another notch. The security of the complete lifecycle of NFV based network services has to be revised and accounted for in order to address their basic security needs and, as a consequence, ensure their functioning.
Containers, like Docker, are a virtualisation technology that is rapidly gaining ground and is expected to have a great impact in the future deployments of cloud technologies and Network Function Virtualisation (NFV). Containers virtualise the OS, making it possible to deploy multiple container-based applications on top of it. Because of this ability, they are very popular in the DevOps movement, as it makes it very fast to build, test and deploy applications.
Ongoing evolutions in the Network Function Virtualization (NFV) area show that software will play an increasingly important role within telecommunication services. Telco providers benefit from this, as it enables a faster introduction of new telecom services, combined with an agile set of features to optimize and fine-tune their performance. However, the provided NFV-based telecom service can only be well supported if adequate software tools are available. Therefore, the development, deployment and maintenance of such services puts specific requirements on the platform providing it.
SONATA’s descriptors contain all the information required for deploying and instantiating network services and their VNFs, and setting up the network among them. When writing a descriptor according to the SONATA schema definition, it can be difficult to keep track of all the required fields. Using a graphical editor can simplify some of the repetitive and error-prone tasks, for example, adding references to a pre-defined VNF within a service.
The end-to-end Service Management is one of the network operators, as well as the wider industry, most important key NFV features. Business decisions are oriented to create different services for different customers, enabling a rich suite of personalized offers. The key value resides in that customers may be able to compose their own proprietary services selecting basic network service components in order to create the services that better fit with their specific needs.
Service Provider companies, and particularly Telecom Operators (Telecoms), struggle daily to deliver innovative and appealing services to their customers to keep or increase margin, conquer more customers, reduce churn, etc. Telecoms, in particular, with their legacy systems distributed and many subject to the merges and acquisitions that have characterised the sector for some years, are in many areas playing catch-up with the so called Over-The-Top (OTT) Service Providers.