Our 4th ETSI NFV Plugtests Experience

ETSI conducts NFV Plugtests where MANO, VNF, NFVI/VIM (i.e. Cloud), and other NFV vendors come together to perform interoperability testing. We were fortunate enough to participate in the 4th ETSI Plugtests as a MANO vendor with the goal of testing our Aarna Networks ONAP Distribution (ANOD) with VNF and NFVI/VIM (OpenStack) vendors. Rajendra Mishra and I (Sandeep Sharma) attended the event in person.

ETSI was a wonderful host. The participants were welcomed with an ETSI T-shirt and other goodies. A dinner was hosted by ETSI for all the participants at a beach side restaurant in Antibes, where we got to know some of the other participants better. And of course there were drinks and some great tasting food!

Before going to the event, we were involved in the pre-testing phase. The weekly calls that were organised by ETSI for the preparation of the event were really helpful. As a first time participant, we had a smooth preparation process. Getting involved in pre-testing with a cloud vendor and a VNF vendor gave us a great head start. The private HIVE network used for the Plugtests, played a key role in the pre-testing phase. Additionally, before the start of the event, every vendor was asked to fill up a form specifying the test cases they were going to execute during the event. This data collected before hand saved a lot of time which would otherwise have been wasted in planning test sessions during the event.

At the event, test sessions were organized such that each of the vendors from MANO, Cloud, and VNF categories could participate in single-vendor Network Service (NS) and Multi-vendor NS test execution. We participated in single-vendor NS testing with 5 VNF vendors and 2 VIM (OpenStack) providers. We also were able to create a multi-vendor NS which involved 2 VNF vendors and 1 VIM vendor. It was a great learning experience where we worked with multiple vendors and understood their product/service. We can leverage from these learnings and add value to the ONAP MANO solution that we provide. Some things worked very well for us and, of course, there were test cases which we could not execute successfully.  The failed test cases taught us the shortcomings of our solution that we already have started to address.

In general, this was a very positive experience. Our initial trepidation as a first time attendee was without merit. We would highly recommend other NFV vendors to attend. The one learning we can share is to invest in pre-testing. Having spent time in this activity made our experience at the Plugtests that much smoother. The other observation is that building working VNF Descriptors on the fly is challenging. Having the full week for a couple of trial-and-error rounds to reach a working model was very helpful.

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