Open Collaboration is Paving the Path for NFV

By February 3, 2015Blog

I am thrilled to be joining OPNFV as its Director of NFV working directly with those who are committed to advancing open source NFV for all. I am excited about this organization, this technology, this community, and what the future holds for NFV.

Let me explain what lead me to OPNFV. I have a long running passion for open source and open communities, most recently through my role at MongoDB where I got to experience being at an open source company first-hand. Before that most of my career was spent in the telecom industry where I held a variety of positions including running a partner program for CPE, doing solutions marketing for the IP Division at Alcatel-Lucent, business development, and participating in numerous standards activities. I was most active at Broadband Forum where I helped create and launch TR-069, served as BroadbandHome Technical Working Group Chair, served on the board, and oversaw collaborative activities with ATIS, 3GPP, OSGi, ITU-T, OMA, IETF, Small Cell Forum, UPnP Forum, Home Gateway Initiative, and other groups.

I am keenly interested in NFV and SDN and the evolution they represent. When I started in this industry we were just starting to roll out broadband, and a feature flip phone was still considered somewhat of a luxury. The intervening time has seen high-speed internet give way to triple-play give way to OTT streaming, the rise of the smart phone, and both the increasingly rapid evolution of cellular technology and almost ubiquity of WiFi. The rise of smart home, connected car, M2M, IoT and wearables is further transforming the kinds of services that networks deliver and what subscribers expect.

It’s an exciting time to be designing network-based services, but these services have added layers of complexity to deployment. I’ve watched the proliferation of custom-built network elements, the explosion of devices, a surge in applications with a range of needs, the evolution of wireless and wired technology and more. Not only is this a CapEx nightmare, but managing and provisioning services and attempting to ensure applications get the network resources they need is an operational migraine.

As I’ve watched NFV get its legs under it conceptually I’ve been incredibly interested in its ability to attack that ever-burgeoning complexity. Software continues to eat the world, and as it comes for the network, an incredible transformation is underway–one that will allow the network to be more agile and more responsive to the demands of applications.

With such major changes facing us as an industry, it is no wonder open source is paving the path. This change is bigger than any single company, and working collaboratively is the only way we can get there. I’ve been impressed with the passion of the OPNFV technical community, and I know that it will only grow. I’m also excited to see the passion of other communities like OpenDaylight and OpenStack and I look forward to the collaboration and cross-pollination amongst the engineers of all these projects.

This is going to be an incredibly important year for NFV. We’ve seen the industry create some important architectural concepts and use cases through the work at ETSI NFV and OPNFV is excited to deliver its first release to help form the foundation for NFV. In my next blog I’ll expand on the role of OPNFV and how it aims to leverage existing projects that will help set our path. 2015 is only the beginning of our journey. We are looking to fundamentally change the way network capabilities are created, deployed, and managed. The wave of what we start to build this year will be felt for years to come. We have an amazing community in the making, and I hope you will decide to be a part of it.

About the author of this post

Heather Kirksey
Director, OPNFV.
Heather Kirksey