Guilin is the seventh release of the Linux Foundation ONAP project. It furthers ONAP’s position as a comprehensive platform for orchestration, management, and automation of network and edge computing services for network operators, cloud providers, and enterprises.

In the industry evolution toward 5G networks, Guilin expands upon the end-to-end network slicing introduced with Frankfurt with the addition of RAN, core, and transport through Network Slice Subnet Management Function (NSSMF) which completes functionality with the Communication Service Management Function (CSMF) and Network Slice Management Function (NSMF) components. In addition to the NSSMF included in Guilin, ONAP supports an external RAN NSSMF. Next, the RAN domain also has initial support for a simple closed control loop and machine learning (ML) for intelligent slicing. The release also marks greater ONAP + O-RAN Software Community harmonization by adding  support for the A1 interface (O-RAN A1-AP v1.1), adding to the existing O1 support. ONAP can now manage multiple A1 targets with different versions and includes an A1 Policy Management Service that interacts with the Near Real-Time RIC’s policy instances and provides a transient cache for these policies. 

Other enhancements to the ONAP Blueprints includes a new Standard Defined VNF Event Stream (VES) event for Fault Management (FM) / Performance Management (PM) Data Collection, the first use of Machine Learning in Self-Organizing Networks (SON), and greater support for 5G RAN Wireless Network Resource Model (NRM) with Service Modeling and Definition and Intent Based Network supporting intent-drive 5G slice creation. Taken together, these enhancements extend ONAP support to additional standards, give 5G network operators a more dynamic way to configure performance measurements, support lifecycle management (LCM) operations such as creation and termination, and help manage 5G xNFs in a more consistent manner, and simplifies the network slice management experience for the user. MDONS (Multi-Domain Optical Network Services (MDONS) first introduced in Frankfurt, now supports Inter Domain Link (IDL)/Path Optimization for Optical Transport Network (OTN) links across multiple optical domains. This enables improved policy-driven automated service operations and LCM across cross-carrier optical domains. And the Guilin schema update capability for xNF software upgrades improves aspects such as xNF efficiency, capacity, and bug fixes and the PNF simulator has also been improved to allow for expanded PNF feature testing.

Guilin contains a large number of new features classified into design time, run time, and ONAP operations to optimize the self-serve control loop and dashboard, make it easier to reuse existing models, make xNF pre-onboarding and onboarding easier, speed up UI development, and more. For Documentation (Usability), ONAP documentation made improvements such as setting up ONAP, Platform Operations, Service Design and Deployment, and User Guides. Specific to cloud native, The Service Design & Creation (SDC) project, the unified design time tool, now supports Helm types to natively support Cloud Native Network Functions (CNF). This now makes CNFs a first class citizen as ONAP now supports end-to-end orchestration and lifecycle management for hybrid services composed of CNFs, VNFs and PNFs.

ONAP (SDC) can now onboard a native helm CNF, design a service with this as a resource and distribute the package across ONAP. This enables ONAP to give helm a first class citizenship which was missing in the previous releases. End-to-end orchestration of CNFs in SO is a major stepping stone of Guilin release. The SO is now fully aware of orchestrated CNF descriptors which enables carrier-grade scenarios for future CNF deployments. In particular, SO was equipped with a dedicated CNF adapter that is responsible for the coordination of communication with the K8s plugin and in the future will be responsible for synchronization of information between K8s and AAI. The latter will enable important scenarios for advanced day-2 operations or closed-loop automation. Nevertheless, as of today CDS was equipped with an advanced CNF enrichment mechanism that offers many scenarios for parametrization and customization of deployments of complex CNFs, like those for 5G Core. Also with help of CDS, availability of Configuration API and new monitoring API of K8s plugin, operators have the capability to execute life-cycle and reconfiguration operations on deployed CNFs.

Conceived with standard group harmonization at its core, Guilin continues the close collaboration between standard development organizations (SDO), such as ETSI, TM Forum, 3GPP, MEF, CNCF, ORAN Alliance and O-RAN Software Community. Specifically for ETSI, the Guilin release increased its support for several already supported standards and added some new ones such as SOL007 network service design that enables hierarchical orchestration. With these enhancements, ONAP Network Service (NS) and NsVirtualLink artifacts now conform to ETSI standards.

In addition to the functional enhancements in Guilin, non-functional requirements are important to help productizing ONAP and represent ~50% of the total scope of Guilin. These include advancements by the integration, security and OOM teams to improve the gating process, testing sets, and security. Globally, security was improved with CMPv2, certificate generation automation, Java and Python version updates, new gating in Azure, new E2E tests, by leveraging Xtesting from OPNFV, and an enhanced package security now aligned now with ETSI SOL004 standards.

The ONAP community is also pleased to unveil a working Beta of the ONAP Document Navigator here: https://safratech.net/onapdocs/. Note: ReadTheDocs is the official project documentation. We are improving ReadTheDocs with these navigation capabilities and using the figures coming from the Architecture sub-committee. The initial focus has been on the Architecture diagram and links are still being updated. Users select their specific ONAP release in a drop-down box and are then presented with interactive diagrams of the Architecture, APIs, Dev Ops, and Flows with clickable boxes to the module in ONAP Docs that describes that component/feature at length. We are inviting the community to provide feedback. Send your comments to the ONAP Architecture Subcommittee: onap-arc@lists.onap.org.

The Linux Foundation has also recently launched a Certified ONAP Professional (COP) exam that is now generally available. COP is a three-hour, performance-based certification exam that provides assurance that a certificant has the ability to onboard Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), design and deploy network services, and configure VNFs. COP is designed for engineers at service providers and enterprises who develop, deploy, and scale their networks and next-generation services, especially in light of the growth in 5G and edge computing. 

The community is now focused on the eighth release, Honolulu, scheduled for 1H 2021.

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