Standards News

2019 IEEE Communications Standards Magazine  
The ZSM Story: The Power to Transform Nurit Sprecher (Nokia), iNduStry SpecificatioN Group (iSG) ZSM Vice chair The pivotal deployment of 5G and network slicing has triggered the need for a radical change in the way networks and services are managed and orchestrated. Full end-to-end automation of network and service management has become an urgent necessity for delivering services with agility and speed and ensuring the economic sustainability of the very diverse set of services offered by
more » ... ces offered by Digital Service Providers. The ultimate automation target is to enable largely autonomous networks which will be driven by high-level policies and rules; these networks will be capable of self-configuration, self-monitoring, self-healing and self-optimization without further human intervention. All this requires a new horizontal and vertical end-to-end architecture framework designed for closed-loop automation and optimized for data-driven machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms. The ETSI ZSM (Zero-touch network and Service Management) group was formed in December 2017 with the goal to accelerate the definition of the required end-to-end architecture and solutions. A major millstone was reached during the summer of 2019 with the publication of ZSM Requirements (GS ZSM 001), ZSM Reference Architecture (GS ZSM 002) and ZSM Terminology GS ZSM 007). In GS ZSM 001, the ZSM group examined many business-oriented scenarios and the related automation challenges faced by operators and vertical industries. Subsequently, the team specified the architectural, functional and operational requirements for end-to-end network and service automation. The ZSM architectural framework specified in GS ZSM 002 was designed to satisfy these requirements. The resulting cutting-edge architecture is modular, flexible, scalable, extensible and service-based. The specified architecture supports open interfaces as well as model-driven service and resource abstraction. The ZSM management functions with their respective management service capabilities support advanced, data-driven automation based on closed-loop and integration of AI/ML techniques. Work done in organizations such as 3GPP SA5, O-RAN (Open RAN) Alliance, BBF (Broadband Forum), ETSI NFV (Network Functions Virtualisation), IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force), TM Forum, MEF (Metro Ethernet Forum), ONAP (Open Networking Automation Platform), OSM (Open Source MANO), etc. fits nicely into the ZSM architecture and can support the orchestration and automation of end-to-end services. The ZSM architecture provides a common foundation which allows a diverse ecosystem of open-source groups to produce interoperable solutions. The published specifications are publicly available at https:// In addition, the ETSI ZSM group has just approved the ZSM landscape report (GR ZSM 004) that surveys activities relating to ZSM that are taking place in other organizations. This work helps us to identify and analyze the existing specifications and solutions (both ETSI and external ones) and to consider whether they can be leveraged in ways that will avoid duplication and maximize synergies. The report on means for automation (GR ZSM 005) has reached the stable state. The report describes different, existing and proven mechanisms or approaches aimed at achieving automation and zero-touch network management while analyzing their implications on the design and specification of the ZSM framework architecture and their utilization as a basis for future ZSM compliant solutions. A comprehensive review of areas with the highest impact for automation was developed, highlighting the vital role of several key means, such as intentbased modelling and orchestration, network governance, transfer-learning to help utilizing knowledge acquired for one task to solve the related ones, coordination among closed-control loops, etc. The ETSI ZSM group is currently working on the specification of solutions and management interfaces for the orchestration and automation of the emerging end-to-end network slicing technology (GS ZSM 003) as well as of the end-to-end, cross-domain service orchestration and automation (GS ZSM 008). Recently, the group started work on specifying solutions to enable closed-loop automation. Specifically, the ISG works on generic enablers for closed-loop automation (GS ZSM 009-1), solutions to closed-loop automation use cases (GS ZSM 009-2), and investigation of advanced topics for next generation for next generation closed-loop operations (GR ZSM 009-3). In addition, the group has agreed to study security aspects related to the ZSM framework and solutions and identify potential security threats and mitigation options that should be considered by the ZSM specifications to ensure that the automated processes are secured and deliver the intended business outcomes. Security is essential in the establishment of confidence in the automation process. All the draft specifications are available via the ZSM open area ( The schedule of each of the ZSM work items can be found at the ZSM Work Programme portal ( tb.aspx?tbid=862&SubTB=862,863#/50611-work-programme). The ZSM technology addresses a clear market need and has a major global impact, helping to realize the ambitious vision of 5G. In September 2019 the ETSI Director General has granted a two-year extension to the ETSI ZSM group. The ZSM group intends to maintain the overall mindshare and architectural integrity in ZSM (beyond ETSI) and strengthen the collaboration with related organizations to leverage synergies and achieve alignment. The group plans to work constructively with open source communities (e.g. ONAP) to ensure alignment that will allow integrating open-source software components in ZSMbased solutions. We have just embarked on an exciting journey toward the automation transformation that will help operators meet user expectations for service agility and create new business opportunities. End-to-end automation is a "big deal" and represents the industry's coming years journey. The use of AI/ML will evolve incrementally. Findings from real deployments and operational experience need to be fed into the specification work. The ETSI ZSM group is open for both ETSI members and non-ETSI members. The different players in the value chain are welcome to join the ISG effort, contribute to the development of the specifications and demonstrate Proofs of Concepts (PoCs).
doi:10.1109/mcomstd.2019.9031541 fatcat:gef35z3nkrbdpemol2bd6tv5ya