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SONATA Report Summary

Project ID: 671517
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SONATA (Service Programing and Orchestration for Virtualized Software Networks)

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2016-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Telecommunication networks have become a technological necessity in the core of everyday social, business and cultural processes, turning them into a critical infrastructure for economic growth and social prosperity. The services rendered by these networks are relied upon by millions of people every day.

5G represents a vision for the next generation of networks and services. While the term might mistakenly imply an iterative upgrade, it is in fact a fresh and quite disruptive approach to fulfill requirements of future services and scenarios. The 5G Public Private Partnership (5G-PPP), an industry association and EC partnership, provides key challenges to fulfill in this vision towards 2020:
• Providing 1000 times higher wireless area capacity and more varied service capabilities compared to 2010.
• Saving up to 90% of energy per service provided. The main focus will be in mobile communication networks where the dominating energy consumption comes from the radio access network.
• Reducing the average service creation time cycle from 90 hours to 90 minutes.
• Creating a secure, reliable and dependable Internet with a “zero perceived” downtime for services provision.
• Facilitating very dense deployments of wireless communication links to connect over 7 trillion wireless devices serving over 7 billion people.
• Ensuring for everyone and everywhere the access to a wider panel of services and applications at lower cost.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) are emerging as major transformational technologies towards “software networks” and they are both building blocks for future 5G networks and services. In particular, NFV represents a large shift in how networks are built, deployed and managed. NFV introduces a virtualization layer and decouples the software from the hardware. The software-based assets then become the innovation and differentiating value, while the hardware becomes commodity. Network service development and lifecycle management are also key aspects for NFV, aiming to facilitate the service rollout and maintenance.ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) highlights these key differences between current and future NFV-enabled networks:
• Decoupling software from hardware: creating two evolutionary tracks that are independent from each other and multi-vendor scenarios.
• Flexible network function deployment: allowing a more dynamic relationship to occur between infrastructure resources and speeding up the network function instantiation and automation via virtualization and cloud technologies.
• Dynamic operation: providing greater flexibility to scale network function performance and with finer control, e.g. reacting to actual traffic.

NFV represents an attractive upgrade for network operators who recognize its adoption as a necessary investment to be technically ready and competitively positioned for future 5G networks and are willing to face the complex and costly transition with the promise of clear business benefits: Lower CapEx, OpEx reduction, higher flexibility, vendor lock-in relief, service design, deployment and lifecycle improvements, etc. That transition, however, is complex and there are several technical and organizational barriers that come with it that the network operators will have to face: immaturity and complexity of the initial solutions and interoperability between them, integration with legacy systems, radical organizational changes in the way services are developed, deployed and managed, etc.

Some of these new challenges introduced require a MANO (Management and Orchestration, layer of the ETSI NFV architecture) solution to tackle the complexity of the NFV transition, as well as enablers of service agility on the development side. Solutions such as SONATA will enable and fulfill the promised business case as a chief component of the larger NFV architecture, as well as create new revenue opportunities through the agile development of new services.

The project identifies with the MANO layer of the ETSI architecture, but it is not just focused on the management and operations side of NFV, it also extends deeply into the service creation area. SONATA addresses the significant challenges associated with both the development and deployment of the complex services envisioned for 5G networks. Core objectives include:
• Objective 1: Reduce time to market for networked services by shortening service development. The contribution of SONATA towards reducing time to market for services based on NFV adoption and extension is two-fold. On one hand, offering a well-structured Service Development Kit (SDK) that will allow service developers to easily develop and deploy networked services on top of telecom operators’ resources, while on the other hand, promoting DevOps model to seamlessly integrate service development and management operations of virtual network functions.
- Objective 1.1: Simplify service development and deployment by offering abstract service programming models for NFV. SONATA will provide a programming model along with a Service Development Kit (SDK) to provide the programmer the abstractions allowing the dynamic and simplified service composition.
- Objective 1.2: Integrate service development and operations (DevOps model). The SONATA project will enable the DevOps model for network services by introducing tool chains that enable the handling of the different service’s phases, including development, deployment, testing, monitoring and operation.
• Objective 2: Optimizing resource utilization and reduce cost of service deployment and operation. SONATA will develop uniform multi-vendor service orchestration, functions that fully exploit available resources to efficiently fulfil service requirements. We emphasize that this will also extend to non-trivial services, for example, services that maintain state inside their individual functions or that map specific users to specific functions. This will be supported both at deployment time for initial configuration of a single service as well as during operation time when the mapping of multiple competing services to resources is re-configured.
- Objective 2.1: Map complex services to connectivity, computing and storage resources. If a new service is to be added to a large population of already deployed services, a complex resource orchestration problem needs to be addressed. The problem will include constraints such as resource usage, Service Level Agreements (SLA), service scaling, energy consumption, current legacy and more. The SONATA project will develop a model for this problem and develop and implement a resource orchestration function that works in a multivendor environment.
- Objective 2.2: Automatic re-configuration of running, competing services. Several services running in the network will compete for resources, will undergo changes in the load they have to deal with, and might have varying amount of state accumulated in the network functions. We will provide mechanisms, both on an algorithmic and on an architectural level, that monitor competing services and dynamically re-configure them when desirable.
• Objective 3: Accelerate the adoption of software networks in industry. Driven by the excellence and complementarity of its consortium, perfectly balanced in terms of company types, technical expertise and role in the value chain, SONATA aims at boosting the adoption of software networks in the European industry. This will be achieved not only by technical achievements, e.g. the integration of SONATA SDK with service orchestrator, but also via the definition of a roadmap highlighting business opportunities arising from the adoption of extended NFV technologies proposed by SONATA.
- Objective 3.1 Support the full service life cycle of development, testing, orchestration, deployment, management and operations. The proposed system will integrate the SONATA development SDK and the SONATA Service orchestrator. The orchestrator also interacts with external Operation Support Systems (OSS) that allows integrate NFV into already existing network management systems. Assessment and demonstration of the system will be conducted in data centres using existing off-the-self NFV platforms that provide management of the infrastructure and virtual machines. The orchestrator will be the interoperable and work in multivendor environments.
- Objective 3.2: Define a suitable roadmap for DevOps NFV adoption by telecom operators and supporting developers. The elaborated roadmap will include not only technological perspective but also business associated value with incremental take-up steps, maturity levels and timelines in the analysed value chain.
• Objective 4: Promotion and standardization of project results. The SONATA project will make its results available to the public, discuss them at scientific and industrial events with the community and propose standardization of results where appropriate.
- Objective 4.1: The SONATA project will advertise its service development environment publicly and make it available as open source.
- Objective 4.2: The SONATA project will package its service development environment, the DevOps methodology and make it available for use in other and future 5G PPP projects and industrial initiatives. This objective will enable a rapid and widespread embracing of the SONATA technology for the deployment of any type of service.
- Objective 4.3: The SONATA project will discuss its results with the community and publish scientific results.
- Objective 4.4: The SONATA project will promote and actively drive standardization of its results.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

SONATA is developing a NFV framework that provides a programing model and development tool chain for virtualized services, fully integrated with a DevOps-enabled NFV service management and orchestration platform (NFV MANO). The currently developing results include:

1. SONATA's Network Service SDK: The first major component of the SONATA architecture is a software development kit (SDK) that supports service developers with both a programming model and a set of software tools. The SDK allows developers to define complex services consisting of multiple VNFs. A Communication Service Provider (CSP) can then deploy and manage the created services on the SONATA service platform through the corresponding gatekeeper component, a verification tool. Services and their components can also be published in catalogs to be reused by other service developers and providers.

2. SONATA's Service Platform: This is the second major component of the system. Due to the modular design of its MANO framework, the platform offers customization opportunities on two levels:
a) CSPs can modify the platform by replacing components of the loosely coupled MANO framework, via plugins through a micro-services approach.
b) Service developers can influence the orchestration and management functionalities of the platform related to their own services by bundling small management programs (Function /Service Specific managers, FSMs/SSMs) with their
services. This enables a new level of service control capabilities for service developers, such as influencing placement decisions of services deployed across multiple points of presence (PoP).

3. SONATA NFV DevOps Workflow: The SONATA system is designed for agile development and operation of network services. It enables a DevOps workflow between the SDK tools and the service platform. This allows developers and operators to closely collaborate on design, development, deployment and lifecycle management of network services. Collected monitoring information regarding the current state of the service and network resources allows also to optimize and to adapt the design and implementation of the services.

The project started with the selection of a set of uses cases addressing the big challenges of 5G networks and, in particular the design and deployment of services and network applications. These use cases helped to define the requirements for the project results and to specify the SONATA initial architecture.

From theses initial milestones, during this first year of the project, SONATA has defined a programming model for service composition, identified, designed and implemented the basic features of a number of extendible SDK components and of an early orchestrator prototype. A continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) methodology was also created, as well as the tools and processes used to drive the software development in a DevOps approach that is at the very core of the SONATA development cycle. All this effort resulted in the delivery of the first prototype of the SONATA service platform.

The first SONATA prototype is already available for download in a public GitHub repository under a permissive, open source license (Apache v2.0) for full rights of modification and distribution:

To guarantee the use and uptake of the project results, the consortium is committed to ensure that the project GitHub repository is in tip-top shape and ready to attract new adopters. In this sense, SONATA is already working on providing and updating all the documentation that may help SONATA adopters to fully use and adapt the code to their liking and needs. The ideal reference point for the code availability and all aforementioned technical documents is the project website:

During this first year, the project has produced a total of 13 deliverables, 9 of them of public access and that can be also found in the project website.

The activity has been also intense by all partners in relation to the communication and dissemination of the project with the objective of reaching the bigger audience possible with the project outcomes. This campaign forked in three main directions: industry engagement, scientific dissemination and support to academic activities. Participation in industry events and publications has been the core of such communication and dissemination campaign.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

SONATA, with its three primary results,
• Service platform with a modular orchestrator framework
• Programming model and SDK
• Set of DevOps methodology and tools,
will help to spur NFV adoption and optimize its deployment across the telecommunication sector.

SONATA primary value proposition is to help realize the aforementioned NFV core business case as a chief component in the overall architecture (NFV orchestrator). Its open and flexible architecture can also help to alleviate NFV adopters´ initial pain points revolving around multi-vendor complexity and integration with legacy systems.

SONATA´s agile service development and DevOps methodology can help to empower network operators and support third-party developers with the workflow and tools needed for the agile service development and deployment envisioned for 5G networks, creating new revenue opportunities.

Therefore, not only network operators that have already bought into a NFV adoption roadmap are the target customers of the project, but also the third-party service developers that network operators can support. Software networks lower the financial barrier to enter the telecom market, as well as the time-to-market for VNFs and network services. This is a huge opportunity not only for incumbent network operators, but also for third-party service providers, including SMEs.

Related information

Record Number: 191389 / Last updated on: 2016-11-16
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