OPNFV has made great progress since we started the organization in September 2014. As a community, the OPNFV project represents the first time open software developers, architects and standards professionals from over 55+ companies are collaborating to create an open framework for NFV platforms. The first release of OPNFV Arno in June and the Arno SR1 in September are great first steps in having a common build with some basic Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment for an NFV platform consisting of Openstack, OpenDaylight and Linux operating system on an Intel platform. This integration allows OPNFV to evaluate the NFV platforms and develop further capabilities.
Trying to shepherd an entire industry to work together and create an open NFV platform in this fast-evolving market is pretty daunting. But one thing became clear to me due to my involvement in AT&T’s software-centric network transformation – the networking industry has been very inefficient by solving the same problems again and again in different silos. These problems are operationalizing the instantiation and lifecycle to support an application/service model, which is the competitive edge for each service provider. Our operational challenges with SDN and virtualization are even more similar for the service provider and enterprise end-users. We are all using essentially the same NFVi platforms – compute, storage and networking in a “data center”/cloud environment.
There are a lot of open source projects appearing monthly and the platforms used are also evolving (e.g. containers). But each of these open source projects trying to optimize in their own space is necessary, yet not completely sufficient for NFVi platform users.
OPNFV is the only public forum with a broad community where the industry can pull together the components of the platform(s) to see if they work together. It is also an incubation environment to try out new software features and/or hardware components. We are already doing this now, except within our own corporate silos. Think about the power of open communities – can you imagine how much faster the industry will move if we come together to eliminate the interoperability differences among the various platform components?
It’s clear what the use cases should be to drive this integration: Day 0 of instantiating a virtual application with its networking and then the lifecycle of the virtual application within its networking. Automated performance testing with common traffic profiles against common benchmarks to get to the stress points in the NFVi platform are also critical to flush out.
We need more user input – enterprise and service providers – on these use cases as well as test resources to validate the platform(s) built. So, I encourage the end users and suppliers to join in the OPNFV requiremets, collaborative development and integration testing of the NFV platform.
About the author of this post
Margaret Chiosi, AT&T
Margaret Chiosi, Distinguished Network Architect AT&T Labs, has been involved in data networking for 30+ years. Margaret’s current focus is on implementing AT&T’s User Defined Network Cloud (UDNC) which is based on SDN and Virtualization building blocks. She has led large organizations responsible from concept through development and deployment of emerging global network services, development of data networking equipment, and strategic direction for data services and products. Margaret was one of the key members in the creation of the ETSI ISG – Network Virtualization Forum as well as the Linux Foundation Open Platform for NFV, OPNFV.