The Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) project addresses the rising need for a common automation platform for telecommunication, cable, and cloud service providers—and their solution providers— that enables the automation of different lifecycle processes, to deliver differentiated network services on demand, profitably and competitively, while leveraging existing investments.

Prior to ONAP, telecommunication network operators had to keep up with the scale and cost of manual changes required to implement new service offerings, from installing new data center equipment to, in some cases, upgrading customer equipment on-premises. Many operators are seeking to exploit Software Defined Network (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) to improve service velocity, simplify equipment interoperability and integration, and reduce overall CapEx and OpEx costs. In addition, the current, highly fragmented management landscape makes it difficult to monitor and guarantee service-level agreements (SLAs).

ONAP is addressing these challenges by developing global and massive scale (multi-site and multi-Virtual Infrastructure Manager (VIM)) automation capabilities for both physical and virtual network elements. It facilitates service agility by supporting data models for rapid service and resource deployment, by providing a common set of Northbound REST APIs that are open and interoperable, and by supporting model driven interfaces to the networks. ONAP’s modular and layered nature improves interoperability and simplifies integration, allowing it to support multiple VNF environments by integrating with multiple VIMs, virtualized network function managers (VNFMs), SDN Controllers, and even legacy equipment. ONAP’s consolidated VNF requirements enable commercial development of ONAP-compliant VNFs. This approach allows network and cloud operators to optimize their physical and virtual infrastructure for cost and performance; at the same time, ONAP’s use of standard models reduces integration and deployment costs of heterogeneous equipment, while minimizing management fragmentation.

Scope of ONAP

ONAP enables end user organizations and their network or cloud providers to collaboratively instantiate network elements and services in a dynamic, closed control loop process, with real-time response to actionable events.

ONAP’s major activities, that is designing, deploying and operating services, are provided based on ONAP’s two major frameworks, namely on Design-time framework and Run-time framework:


In order to design, deploy and operate services and assure these dynamic services, ONAP activities are built up as follows:

  • Service design – Service design is built on a robust design framework that allows specification of the service in all aspects – modeling the resources and relationships that make up the service, specifying the policy rules that guide the service behavior, specifying the applications, analytic and closed control loop events needed for the elastic management of the service.

  • Service deployment – Service deployment is built on an orchestration and control framework that is policy-driven (Service Orchestrator and Controllers) to provide automated instantiation of the service when needed and managing service demands in an elastic manner.

  • Service operations – Service operations are built on an analytic framework that closely monitors the service behavior during the service lifecycle based on the specified design, analytics and policies to enable response as required from the control framework, to deal with situations ranging from those that require healing to those that require scaling of the resources to elastically adjust to demand variations.

ONAP enables product- or service-independent capabilities for design, deployment and operation, in accordance with the following foundational principles:

  1. Ability to dynamically introduce full service lifecycle orchestration (design, provisioning and operation) and service API for new services and technologies without the need for new platform software releases or without affecting operations for the existing services

  2. Carrier-grade scalability including horizontal scaling (linear scale-out) and distribution to support large number of services and large networks

  3. Metadata-driven and policy-driven architecture to ensure flexible and automated ways in which capabilities are used and delivered

  4. The architecture shall enable sourcing best-in-class components

  5. Common capabilities are ‘developed’ once and ‘used’ many times

  6. Core capabilities shall support many diverse services and infrastructures

  7. The architecture shall support elastic scaling as needs grow or shrink

Functional Overview of ONAP

The following guidelines show the main ONAP activities in a chronological order, presenting ONAP’s functional structure:

1. Service design - ONAP supports Service Design operations, using the TOSCA approach. These service design activities are built up of the following subtasks:

  1. Planning VNF onboarding – checking which VNFs will be necessary for the required environment and features

  2. Creating resources, composing services

  3. Distributing services - Distributing services constitutes of 2 subtasks:

    • TOSCA C-SAR package is stored in the Catalog

    • new service notification is published

  1. Service orchestration and deployment

  1. Defining which VNFs are necessary for the service

  2. Defining orchestration steps

  3. Selecting valid cloud region

  4. Service orchestration calling cloud APIs to deploy VNFs

  • The onboarding and instantiation of VNFs in ONAP is represented via the example of onboarding and instantiating a virtual network function (VNF), the virtual Firewall (vFirewall). Following the guidelines and steps of this example, any other VNF can be similarly onboarded and instantiated to ONAP.

  1. Controllers applying configuration on VNFs

  1. Service operations

  1. Closed Loop design and deployment

  2. Collecting and evaluating event data

Benefits of ONAP

Open Network Automation Platform provides the following benefits:

  • common automation platform, which enables common management of services and connectivity, while the applications run separately

  • a unified operating framework for vendor-agnostic, policy-driven service design, implementation, analytics and lifecycle management for large-scale workloads and services

  • orchestration for both virtual and physical network functions

  • ONAP offers Service or VNF Configuration capability, in contrast to other open-source orchestration platforms

  • the model-driven approach enables ONAP to support services, that are using different VNFs, as a common service block

  • service modelling enables operators to use the same deployment and management mechanisms, beside also using the same platform

ONAP Blueprints and environments

ONAP is able to deploy and operate VNFs running OpenStack based Centralized Private Cloud Instances, as well as Mobile Edge Cloud instances. ONAP has been tested in the following network environments:

  • Voice Over LTE (VoLTE)

  • Customer Premise Equipment (CPE)

  • 5G

  • Cross Domain and Cross Layer VPN (CCVPN)

  • Broadband Service (BBS)


Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) is an open source project hosted by the Linux Foundation.

ONAP Source Code is licensed under the Apache Version 2 License. ONAP Documentation is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.