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Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia announced on December 20, 2016, that they have signed a MoU to create the NFV Interoperability Testing Initiative (NFV-ITI) that will help communication service providers to address the challenges related to NFV deployment and Cloud transformation within multi-vendor network environments.

The deployment and integration of virtual network functions within today's multi-vendor environments can introduce new interoperability challenges. To address these challenges, NFV-ITI members will cooperatively support the interoperability of NFV elements in specific customer situations to accelerate their commercial implementations, and to reduce the time-to-market for new applications and services.

All the existing NFV interoperability related testing activities have been triggered by different needs of the industry, including the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV Testing WG, OPNFV testing projects, Network Vendor Interoperability Testing (NVIOT) testing, and the New IP Agency (NIA) interoperability testing.

Complementing all the existing NFV interoperability testing activities in the industry, NFV-ITI will focus on testing interoperability configurations of commercial NFV solutions actually used in the communication service providers' networks. It will recommend generic principles, including interoperability test cases, test criteria, processes, methods, guidelines, templates, and testing tools, and will also apply best practices from all existing interoperability testing activities in the industry, such as the NVIOT forum efforts. NFV-ITI shall be well-aligned with the ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group and the OPNFV project.

Martin Bäckström, Vice President, Group Function Strategy & Technology, Ericsson, said: 'Through SDN, NFV, and Cloud technologies, Ericsson enables more flexible and scalable networks that bring innovative services to customers faster than ever before. By driving industry alignments on interoperability testing in specific commercial deployments, NFV-ITI will accelerate industrialization of NFV and help to create an even stronger ecosystem that benefits operators, customers and vendors everywhere.'

Long Jiping, R&D President, Business Unit Cloud Core Network, Huawei, said: 'Cloud transformation has been the prevailing trend with carrier networks. Huawei is dedicated to promoting cloud transformation and helping carriers to construct an efficient, agile, and cloud-based network, by providing fully-cloudified products and solutions as well as an open and collaborative ecosystem. NFV-ITI is an important step towards cooperation between vendors and will address multi-vendor NFV interoperability challenges. We hope additional vendors in this field can join us to create this mutually beneficial industry.'

The general guiding principles for NFV-ITI are openness, fairness, reasonableness and non-discriminatory treatment. All relevant NFV vendors are welcome to join this initiative by ratifying the NFV-ITI MoU.