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ONS, ETSI to Collaborate on SDN, NFV

The two standards groups will look to drive the adoption of NFV specifications with the help of SDN.

Two industry standards groups will work together to leverage software-defined networking to help drive the development and adoption of network-functions virtualization.

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF), which is looking to fuel the growth of OpenFlow-based software-defined networking (SDN), is teaming up with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), through which an Industry Specification Group (ISG) that included carriers published the initial paper on network-functions virtualization (NFV) in 2012.

The goal of the partnership is to discover and develop ways in which both SDN and NFV technologies can help each other thrive, according to ONF Executive Director Dan Pitt.

"Together the organizations will explore the application of SDN configuration and control protocols as the base for the network infrastructure supporting NFV, and conversely the possibilities that NFV opens for virtualizing the forwarding plane functions," Pitt wrote in a post on the ONF blog.

More specifically, the ONF and ETSI will work on ways to build dynamic and programmable NFV forwarding graphs and to develop persistent secure connections among NFVs, he said. In addition, they will look at using SDN configuration and control protocols as the foundation for network infrastructures that support NFV.

The two groups also released a solution brief about OpenFlow-enabled SDN and NFV.

The group within the ETSI that wrote the initial NFV paper had called for proofs-of-concept, and is hoping to see some that use both NFV and SDN, according to the organization.

Both SDN and NFV promise to enable enterprises and network operators to build out more dynamic, programmable and automated networks that are better suited for the current computing environment that is being influenced by such trends as big data, cloud computing, more mobile workforces and bring-your-own-device (BYOD). Legacy networks tend to be unwieldy, expensive and manually programmed.

Through SDN, the control plane is decoupled from the underlying hardware and run via software-based controllers. With NFV, vendors can virtualize such network functions as firewalls, load balancing and intrusion-detection systems, removing them from the complex hardware.

"This collaboration with ONF allows us to both significantly contribute to the goals of the NFV ISG, and serve as a relevant source for requirements and use cases for the SDN community," Luis Jorge Romero Saro, director-general of the ETSI, said in a statement.