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Affordable5G develops new features for ETSI OSM with the aim to increase OSM support for Cloud Native approaches

Open Source MANO (OSM) is an open source community-driven management and orchestration platform for Virtualised Network Functions (VNFs) – virtualised network services running on open computing platforms formerly carried out by proprietary, dedicated hardware technology. It is being used in Affordable5G as an orchestrator for Cloud to Edge, 5G-centric services.

Affordable5G contributes Kubernetes Network Function (KNF) placement feature to OSM

While OSM allows for the deployment of containerised applications on a Kubernetes cluster, it does not allow to define the placement configuration for the deployed services, such as the ability to deploy services on specific nodes within the Kubernetes cluster topology. Currently, placement configuration can be covered within application packages, like Helm charts or Juju bundles, but not all packages support this configuration and the variables used for the configuration are not consistent across packages, reducing the possibility for tools like OSM to control such placement in a uniform way.

Supporting arbitrary placement of Cloud Native Functions in OSM in a uniform way, it is important to better support Kubernetes in a full Cloud to Edge scenario. Certain services need to be deployed at the Edge, and for that to be ensured, the specific nodes at the Edge need to be easily targeted for deployment. Ultimately, uniforming the placement control is a first step to allow tools on top of OSM to automatically govern the placement of cloud native functions based on real-time monitoring data.

Open source as an innovation pathway

As project partner of the Affordable5G project, Martel has been working alongside the OSM developers to develop this feature, allowing for placement configurations to be provided natively for any application regardless of its package’s configuration. By working directly with the OSM open source community, Affordable5G ensures that this feature will become part of the official OSM releases, thus ensuring its long-term availability and support. This means providing a useful feature for both Affordable5G and the ETSI OSM community as a whole. Martel is a strong believer of open source approaches and, despite the additional effort required to reach consensus in the community, the Swiss company believes that making process compliant and community-driven contributions to open source is a key innovation pathway for European projects as Affordable5G.

Other ongoing efforts: Infrastructure as Code for OSM

To complement this feature, Martel is also working to enhance the deployment of OSM VNFs with an Infrastructure as Code (IaC) approach. This entails committing a series of files that describe VNFs into a Git repository, and, through an operator, sync the deployed VNFs with their configuration in the repository. This approach allows developers to treat an infrastructure like application code: pushing changes to a repository that are reflected onto the actual deployment, rolling back changes that could potentially break functionality, and so forth.

Both the placement feature and this IaC approach complement each other to provide useful advancements for OSM and the Affordable5G project.