You may have heard ETSI started a few months ago a new ISG, codenamed ZSM, focused on achieving full automation in network service management.

First things first: an ETSI ISG (Industry Specification Group) is a group dedicated to analyse and standardize a particular technology of interest to the telecommunications industry, with a few interesting characteristics: it is widely open to any participant worldwide, it has to renew its mandate every few (typically two years), and it is expected to be focused not only in produce documents, in the form of reports and specifications, but also on demonstrate them by means of experiments (proofs of concept) and interoperability events. This makes an ISG a quite powerful tool to shape the evolution of technologies that are in their initial consolidation stages in the network and telecommunications landscape. ETSI ISGs have defined the NFV framework and the MEC foundations.

There is a tradition of naming ETSI ISGs by three-letter acronyms, and ZSM is no exception. ZSM stands for Zero-touch Service Management and is committed to be the reference point for the standardization of the automation of network and service operation. The group intends to take full advantage of the evolution of networks into programmable, software-driven, service-based and holistically-managed infrastructures, applying enablers such as NFV, SDN and Edge Computing. Just as a (relevant) note, an industrial workshop of our predecessor SONATA was the venue where the guidelines of the ISG were agreed.

The group will produce use cases, requirements, architecture, management interfaces design, and other specifications and recommendations necessary creating multi-vendor ecosystem to achieve full automation of network and service management and operation. Work has started by considering aspects related to the definition of use cases and user stories, the specification of an architecture reference framework, the identification of the relevant activities at other SDOs and open-source communities, and the analysis of the technology solutions applicable to achieve the goal of full automation. In addition, the group has started to discuss the framework for demonstrative actions, drafting a document describing how proofs-of-concept can be proposed, executed and reported within the ISG.

As you can imagine, ZSM constitutes a huge opportunity for maximizing the industrial impact of 5GTANGO, given our goals and how they are aligned with the ISG objectives. Members of the project team have been participating in the group since its very inception at the SONATA workshop mentioned above, and we are taking an especially active role in the proof-of-concept tasks, with the goal of taking advantage of the agile, practical emphasis of the 5GTANGO work.

For more information on ZSM, the best starting point is the reference page at the ETSI website: http://www.etsi.org/zsm/