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5G Exchange

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - 5GEx (5G Exchange)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2018-06-30

Market fragmentation results from having a multitude of telecommunications network and cloud operators each with a footprint focused on a specific region. This makes it difficult to deploy cost effective infrastructure services spanning multiple countries as no single operator has a big enough footprint. Inter-operator collaboration tools for providing a service spanning several administrative boundaries are very limited and cumbersome. This makes service development and provisioning very time consuming, inefficient and expensive.

The 5G Exchange (5GEx) project envisioned a one stop shop Anything as a Service (XaaS) as the key service offering in future 5G networks, where service fulfillment, assurance and billing can be realized irrespective of the location, content, quality or volume of the service via open and standard multi-provider orchestration interfaces. 5GEx created a multi-provider orchestration framework and deployed it as an enabler platform into its pan-European sandbox to reduce XaaS service creation time from “90 days to 90 mins”, where this performance notion is used in general to point out our target of significantly improving agility and speeding up deployments of new services or service capabilities. The orchestration process automation and the sharing of resources can reduce CAPEX and OPEX. The 5GEx reference architecture is illustrated in Figure 1 in the attachment.

5GEx enablers created opportunities for operators and 3rd parties to buy, sell, and integrate XaaS in an automated and cost-effective manner. This also includes the offering and trading of the XaaS wholesale direct or indirect service elements, which are themselves 5GEx self-contained wholesale services. 5GEx has also defined and validated the business information model, including economic and market mechanisms that promote efficiency of multi-domain services. 5GEx has assessed the feasibility and performance of the proposed architecture and business models on a pan European multi-site sandbox testbed. The project outcome impacts the operator’s community by identifying new challenges and elaborating on known ones, as well as pointing out ways going forward. This includes business opportunities through new concepts for implementing multi-provider multi-domain resource and service orchestration, and standardization through strong industry participation of all major stakeholders.

With the 5GEx solution enterprise and end-users will experience richer and faster reacting services, which is our socio-economic impact.
Multi-domain/Multi-operator design. We have defined a multi-domain reference architecture (shown in Figure 2 in the attachement). The Multi-domain Orchestrator (MdO) coordinates resource and/or service orchestration at multi-domain level, where multi-domain may refer to multi-technology (orchestrating resources and/or services using multiple Domain Orchestrators in the same administrative domain), multi-operator (orchestrating resources and/or services using Domain Orchestrators belonging to multiple administrative domains) or multi-ownership (VNF software and/or VNF management / lifecycle management). The MdO interacts with Domain Orchestrators via I3 interface APIs to orchestrate resources and services within the same administrative domains. The MdO interacts with other MdOs via I2 interface APIs to request and orchestrate resources and services across administrative domains. Finally, the MdO exposes on interface I1 a service specification API allowing business customers to specify their requirements for a service. This architecture is aligned with the one defined by the ETSI NFV, and, as pioneer architecture for 5G multi-domain orchestration, is considered by the 5G-TRANSFORMER and the 5G-CORAL projects as a reference solution to address multi-domain federation.

Business Layer and Mechanisms: New business and functional roles have been identified, providing a clear mapping between the technical functionality and the business processes. We analyzed how basic BSS/OSS functionality can be integrated with the 5GEx “core” components and how additional mechanisms, policies and business logic can be seamlessly added. We provided results on charging principles, business coordination models, examples of market mechanisms and federation policies that increase the efficiency of the overall system.

Design and Build: Most of the novel aspects of the 5GEx reference architecture have been implemented, addressing both functional and non-functional attributes (such as security). 5GEx solution has been showcased in more than 15 demos at academic and industrial venues.

Sandbox Exchange: A running sandbox interconnecting most of the 5GEx partners has been set-up, hosting incremental implementations of the reference MdO software, leading to the deployment of a multi-domain, multi-technology testbed to validate and assess the continuous improvement of the MdO. Aspects such as scalability and reduction in complexity of the management costs have been practically evaluated.

Standardization and Open Source: The project has significantly contributed to standardization, with 3 IETF/IRTF adopted documents, 4 adopted contributions to ETSI NFV and multiple contributions to 3GPP, ITU-T, ONF and TM Forum. 3 important components of the 5GEx framework (the RO, the Slicer library and the Catalogue Management System) have been released as open source. Regarding general dissemination, the project has published 75 papers, 3 book chapters and performed 28 presentations.
The 5GEx project targeted innovations around the multi-operator problem by looking at 3 main dimensions: (i) intra-operator multi-domain scenarios: harmonizing in an effective way interworking elements that have different technologies and/or vendors; (ii) multi-operator scenarios, extending to the multi-operator cooperation to provide an E2E interworking and global cloud services, where tenants are given control (e.g. where to deploy their service functions); (iii) business efficiency, proposing new business models and economic mechanisms in the context of 5G for the provision of infrastructure as a service, mitigating the inefficiencies of the current regime and enabling open markets and dynamic resource sharing.

In terms of the main Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) identified by the 5G-PPP, 5GEx has mainly tackled the one related to the service creation time, by reducing the average service creation time cycle from 90 hours to 90 minutes. The multi-provider orchestration solution by the 5G Exchange allowed automated multi-provider network service fulfillment and assurance in the order of minutes.

The impact achievement strategy is based on 4 pillars: (i) technology platform, with an actual implementation of the 5GEx model; (ii) Exchange sandbox that has been used to make real experiments; (iii) Standardization and open source: cross-domain aspects and specific issues were substantially missing in the main standardization bodies, and hence, 5GEx has influenced the 5G network evolution by contributing to the key standardization bodies (with adopted contributions at all the relevant venues, such as 3GPP, ETSI NFV and IETF), as well as releasing key software components as open source; and (iv) Industry take-up: organizing two industrial workshops, and actively participating in the 5G-PPP community (e.g. tangible collaborations with 7 other projects), ensuring that all the involved 5G stakeholders converge.