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Service Programing and Orchestration for Virtualized Software Networks

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SONATA (Service Programing and Orchestration for Virtualized Software Networks)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2017-12-31

5G represents a vision for the next generation of networks and services. It will not only be an evolution of mobile broadband networks offering higher speed but a global infrastructure that will bring unique service capabilities. End-to-end flexibility is one of the key features of 5G networks and this flexibility is achieved through the introduction of software networks technologies. Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) are building blocks for 5G networks and services. In particular, NFV represents a large shift in how networks are built, deployed and managed as 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. Network operators recognize NFV 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.
SONATA, Agile Service Development and Orchestration in 5G Virtualized Networks, addresses the significant challenges associated with the development and deployment of the complex services envisioned for 5G networks, targeting both the flexible programmability of software networks and the optimisation of their deployments. 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. Core objectives included: i) Reduce time to market for networked services, ii) optimise resource utilization and reduce cost of service deployment and operationn and iii) accelerate the adoption of software networks in industry.
SONATA offers a NFV framework that provides both a software development environment with a programing model for network services, and a service platform for the deployment of those services over multiple virtualised points of presence (PoP). SONATA also implements an extended DevOps model that increases efficiency and collaboration among vendors and telecom operators, facilitates the launch of new services and accelerates the adoption of NFV technologies.
The SONATA Service Platform (SP) provides a highly modular and customizable management and orchestration (MANO) framework composed of various loosely coupled micro-services/plugins. It offers the functionality to: 1) orchestrate and manage network services during their life-cycle, 2) interact with the underlying virtual infrastructure through Virtual Infrastructure Managers (VIM) and WAN Infrastructure Managers (WIM) to efficiently use heterogeneous sets of virtual resources, 3) store available network services and functions in dedicated catalogues, 4) show the status of the deployed network services and functions, the virtual infrastructure, and the virtual resources through a set of repositories, and 5) interact with the outside world with a single endpoint called the Gatekeeper.
The SONATA Software Development Kit (SDK) is a modular set of light-weight software tools which offers mechanisms for the development and validation of virtual network functions and services. It includes an editor for service descriptors, an emulator to locally test developed services, monitoring data analysis tools, service storage, packaging and publishing tools.
The SONATA system is designed for agile development and operation of network services. It enables an extended DevOps workflow between the SDK tools and the SP. This allows VNF developers and telecom operators to closely collaborate on design, development, deployment and lifecycle management of network services. The collection of 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.
SONATA also supports interoperability with Operation Support and SLA management systems, facilitating the integration with other external systems (i.e. Billing).
SONATA is an open source project. Its source code is published under Apache v2.0 licence, in a public GitHub repository, freely available for download and ready to be installed with full rights for adoption, modification and distribution. Access to the latest code release, SONATA 3.1 and related documentation is available on the project website:
Several have been the channels used by the consortium to create the widest impact possible with the project results, starting with its open source nature, ground-breaking among EC projects. SONATA partners have actively engaged with the key open source communities to the project and this bore fruit, with the adoption of the SONATA's emulator as part of the OSM Release THREE and our service validation tool planned for inclusion in the next one.
Regarding standarisation, where the project contributions were also essential in order to maximize impact, the project identified and focused its contributions on three main standardization targets (ETSI NFV, IETF and ITU-T).
The project activity in relation to 5G PPP collaboration has been also important, with our leadership in the Software Networks WG, active participation in other WGs and collaboration with other projects, being one of its main achievements the SONATA/5GEX joint pilot, a unique example of close integration of the results from two H2020 projects. Important also the liaison with other recently started 5GPPP projects, with the 5GTANGO project adoption of the SONATA platform and some other projects, such as 5Gcity, 5G-Picture, NRG-5, 5Gmedia, 5G-Transformer and SHIELD, exploring our platform and its potential uptake.
All this came along with an intensive communication and dissemination campaign aimed at ensuring wide impact of SONATA outcomes in the most relevant communities. The presence of the project on the Internet and social media channels has been quite relevant, as well as the project publications and participation in events, international conferences and workshops.
The results of the project have created value for all the participating organizations, in different ways depending on the specific interests and the nature of the organisations. Industrials partners have improved their competitive advantage in the market, while the academic partners have increased the visibility of research results by knowledge transfer and development of specific research areas.
SONATA High Level Architecture