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OPNFV Bridging Open Source Communities and Telcos

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Mobile World CongressIt has been a whirlwind two months since I joined OPNFV in January. I recently spent three weeks on the road getting to know our community and seeing OPNFV in a broader market context, and it’s been a great experience. Our technical committee chair Chris Price wrote about our recent Meet-up and Hackfest and the only thing I’ll add to his great summary is that I was highly impressed by the passion and collaborative attitude I witnessed during those events. It’s not always an easy thing for a diverse group of people all working for different companies to come together and form a coherent community, but we are definitely on our way.

After the Prague Hackfest, I flew to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, which left absolutely no doubt that NFV is a big deal. Light Reading’s pre-show poll showed that NFV and SDN were considered by conference-goers as the most important topics there, and it was great to see all the demos of NFV capabilities on display at our members’ booths. It was highly educational to see how our member companiesare thinking about technology and how they’re putting the concepts into products. To everyone who gave me a tour of your booth – thanks! It was inspiring to see some cool use cases such as vIMS, vCPE and cloud RAN along with a unique example of dynamically allocating mobile capacity to either the suburbs or downtown depending on time and day and user density. It’s obvious that NFV will not only improve operational efficiency and agility, but enable end users to think differently about their network services as well.

OPNFV Group PhotoMobile World Congress was OPNFV’s first big marketing event. We hosted a great networking reception Tuesday night, with both members and prospective members out in abundance. I overheard all sorts of thoughtful conversations about NFV and open source, and it was fun interacting with everyone in a more social environment. We topped off the event with an interactive panel discussion on “Accelerating NFV Through Open Source Software Collaboration,” moderated by OPNFV marketing chair, Sandra Rivera. Despite the venue being over a kilometer from the entrance and the timeslot being on the last day before lunch, we had a standing room only crowd. It speaks to the industry’s interest in what we are trying to accomplish! See the video recording of the entire panel discussion.
The OPNFV Board also met face to face for the second time since formation. We had a number of spirited conversations around our first software release, strategy, and roadmap.  This is a passionate and engaged Board, and they take their stewardship of this organization very seriously. In fact, as I reflect on OPNFV at my two-month mark with the organization, what stands out most to me is that the community as a whole – the Board, the technical community leadership, the marketing committee, the contributors and committers – is dedicated to making OPNFV succeed. It’s a privilege to be part of this group and I encourage everyone who is not involved to join us. It’s truly an exciting time to be in the world of networking!

About the author of this post

Heather KirkseyHeather Kirksey
Heather Kirksey is the director of NFV leading initiatives around the OPNFV project.

OPNFV Community Comes Together to Define its First Software Release

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Open source communities thrive on healthy arguments and collaboration to develop code that can solve real world problems. In the past few weeks the OPNFV community had two such face-to-face meeting opportunities. Developers from our community, from around the world and different companies came together at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in Santa Rosa and at Prague where we were able to socialize with members of the nearby ETSI NFV ISG #9 conference. It was great to engage in person with those who we most often communicate with virtually.

In Santa Rosa we took a deeper dive into the technical details of delivering on the OPNFV vision. OPNFV is unique as it is an end-to-end integration virtualization project, which means that understanding the dynamics and collaborating with other upstream open source projects is critical to its success. Our technical discussions focused on ‘what and how’ of integrating features from projects like OpenDaylight, OpenStack, KVM and Open vSwitch into the OPNFV platform. The summit also offered a perfect milieu for us to mingle with the Linux, KVM and container experts, among others.

A week later in Prague, the community had intense discussions and debates about the details of the first software release. We discussed the progress, changes and updates to the work of our continuous integration, deployment, infrastructure and testing teams. For the first release, the technical steering committee decided on a time-based release aimed at establishing core project infrastructure, and providing a baseline platform for development and experimentation. An important outcome of the planning was the establishment of concise project dependencies and time constraints associated with key milestones and events in the coming months. Our goal is to have the hardware infrastructure up and running shortly to provide a convergence point for the projects and launch the first code release in April.

Beyond all the intense planning sessions and tiring schedules, what stood out was the enthusiasm and knowledge exhibited by the community in addressing the challenges and building the code. If there is one thing I have learnt working with our community leaders is that there is a pervasive desire to succeed. With clarity on our targets, challenges and goals we can now hone in on key activities and work toward the first OPNFV milestone. We welcome you to participate in the discussions and share your knowledge as we get ready to deliver our first release.

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About the author of this post

Christopher PriceChris Price
Chris leads open source industry collaboration for Ericsson in the areas of NFV, Cloud & SDN from the CTO’s office in Sweden and is an active member of the technical steering comitee’s of the OpenDaylight and OPNFV Projects.  Chris’ experiences include leading Ericssons’ IP&Broadband network architecture and standardization teams with a rich history in development of systems and technology in the areas of network management, policy control and user service management, user session control plane solutions, and DPI technologies.

Open Collaboration is Paving the Path for NFV

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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

OPNFV – Our First 90 Days

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In 2014, the widespread interest in creating a platform for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) was evident across all sectors. NFV is moving out of the labs and into the field. A recent study by Infonetics predicts that the SDN and NFV markets are expected to exceed $11 billion by 2018. We’re excited to see the industry embrace open source as the way to bring NFV to market faster.

The OPNFV Project was launched at the end of September with the intention of creating an open source reference platform for NFV. The number and diversity of the member companies supporting the project is a validation of the high level of hope on open source as the preferred delivery method for a de facto standard NFV platform. Since the launch, the OPNFV community has been growing steadily with the addition of five new member companies bringing the total to 44.

The Technical Steering Committee (TSC) reviewed 33 project ideas at its first HackFest during the first week after launch, many of which are being formally adopted into OPNFV as TSC approved projects. The OPNFV community has agreed to focus on the establishment of our integration and baseline platform during formation, while establishing several NFV-related projects expecting to deliver into the second release of 2015. To this end the community and TSC have been busy reviewing and approving several of the projects and establishing methodologies for community collaboration. Oh, and our software release names will be river-themed.

We also gathered in force at OpenStack Summit in November where we invested time meeting the OpenStack community and finding ways to collaborate on feature development and testing. Cross community collaboration is a key focus area for 2015 with the OPNFV community looking to invest in and providing value both to our user and developer communities.

The community is excited about taking the ideas to the next step in 2015. The team has plans to collaborate at the following events — a Meet-up at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, February 19-20 at Santa Rosa, Calif, and Hackfests around ETSI NFV#9 in Prague, February 23-24, and the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, May 18-22. See the latest Hackfests and Meet-ups schedule here.

The belief that many minds are better than one is the driving force behind open source. It’s your code, ideas and feedback that will make open source NFV a reality. The community is excited about taking the ideas to the next step in 2015. We invite you to get involved as we collaborate to deliver the industry’s first open source reference platform for NFV in 2015!

About the author of this post

Christopher PriceChris Price
Chris leads open source industry collaboration for Ericsson in the areas of NFV, Cloud & SDN from the CTO’s office in Sweden and is an active member of the technical steering comitee’s of the OpenDaylight and OPNFV Projects.  Chris’ experiences include leading Ericssons’ IP&Broadband network architecture and standardization teams with a rich history in development of systems and technology in the areas of network management, policy control and user service management, user session control plane solutions, and DPI technologies.

Industry Leaders Talk Open Source NFV at World Congress

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With 1,300 attendees–nearly double from last year–SDN OpenFlow & World Congress in Dusseldorf was a melting pot of ideas that reflected the growing interest and demand for NFV. It was clear that open SDN and NFV are the future of carrier infrastructures. Even more evident was the focus on openness in building solutions that address critical industry challenges. In his keynote address Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation talked about how open source is redefining the networking space and why companies should utilize open source communities to solve industry issues. “Open source isn’t just a powerful business tool. It is the idea that all of us are smarter than any one of us that makes it a blockbuster,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of OPNFV, Margaret Chiosi introduced the new project saying it’s supported heavily by end users and vendors and will work with other open source projects like OpenStack and OpenDaylight: “I would say that we may not be successful if we really have to do a fork. We have to be more like a branch, working with each other. If OPNFV’s needs don’t help anybody else in the open source community, then we will lose the battle. Because the goal of this — to ‘win,’ I guess — is to ride the IT wave of all the innovation that’s happening.”

Jim, Margaret and others all emphasized the philosophy of being truly open and the value of staying involved in projects to create common solutions for the industry. Margaret made an open call to everyone interested in advancing open source NFV to participate in OPNFV, regardless of membership status, and voice their opinions on how to build an open NFV reference platform for the industry. Follow the work of OPNFV technical steering committee at: https://wiki.opnfv.org.

We Launched, Now What?

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Highlights from OPNFV’s first week

When the OPNFV Project launched last week there was a lot of excitement surrounding the news with carriers and vendors alike showing tremendous support. Significant work has been done to scope what Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) means for the telecom industry. Now with OPNFV we undertake a project determined to evolve and validate these assumptions.

Our first week was spent coalescing the energy and support of the community into communicable activity and a plan. It is an exciting time to be involved, as the community is coming together on the practical side of these initial discussions to establish integral activities and direction.

With the help of the Linux Foundation, we hosted our first community HackFest with more than 70 people in attendance. In addition, we ran the inaugural Technical Steering Committee (TSC) meeting to start laying a foundation from which we can build a vibrant developer community and the infrastructure that will sustain the project.

The first order of business for the TSC was to jumpstart a discussion about the community’s first release slated for 2015. These discussions, ably facilitated by members of the TSC, uncovered more than 30 project ideas about features, the development process, collaboration with upstream projects, establishing a release protocol and much more. This ideation, coupled with the willingness from those present to understand and cooperate, gives me confidence that we have established a project with meaningful objectives. All progress on the project will be communicated through the developer wiki.

One of our foremost objectives is to develop an integrated and tested open source platform that can be used to investigate and demonstrate NFV functionality. While it is clear that in the short term we will need to converge on a few fundamental projects to establish our baseline release, I expect to see a broad range of project proposals make their way onto the wiki as our community finds its rhythm.

The role of the TSC is to work with upstream communities, guide the release process and help determine which projects will be included in the OPNFV architecture for the first release. Our weekly calls are open to the public and we encourage all to join and provide input.

One of the great benefits of open source is the inherent conviction that many minds are better than one — the more people who participate, share ideas, debate and argue, the better the code to the benefit of the entire industry.

I would like to offer an open invitation to anyone who is interested in this project to participate in the OPNFV open source community, regardless of affiliation or location. If you have a technology contribution, concept or idea, you can share it here. Join the discussions, listen to the debates and come help us make open source NFV a reality for all.

About the author of this post

Christopher PriceChris Price
Chris leads open source industry collaboration for Ericsson in the areas of NFV, Cloud & SDN from the CTO’s office in Sweden and is an active member of the technical steering comitee’s of the OpenDaylight and OPNFV Projects.  Chris’ experiences include leading Ericssons’ IP&Broadband network architecture and standardization teams with a rich history in development of systems and technology in the areas of network management, policy control and user service management, user session control plane solutions, and DPI technologies.

Open Source Drives Innovation in Another Multi-Billion Dollar Market: World’s Largest Carriers, Vendors to Bring Virtualization

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Guest post from Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation today is announcing a new Collaborative Project, Open Platform for NFV, or OPNFV. It involves nearly 40 companies and has largely been driven by end users like AT&T, China Mobile, NTT DOCOMO, Telecom Italia and Vodafone, among others. Together this community aims to build a carrier-grade, integrated, open source reference platform to accelerate Network Function Virtualization.

NFV is part of the industry’s transition to networks that are increasingly defined and run by software. It represents an unprecedented opportunity for carriers and enterprises in different sectors (telecom, financial services and more) to deliver new services and solutions to their customers much faster. Reports also indicate the market for NFV will grow rapidly over the next five years, which gives cloud service providers more opportunity than ever to play an important role in telecom. As the networking market undergoes this massive transition, open source software and collaborative development give companies the essential building blocks for that future.

This trend towards software dominance is not just happening in networking but throughout the technology industry. Software is defining the cloud, the mobile experience, storage, networking, and more. In fact, software is growing so much that it simply can’t be built by any one company any more. Open source and collaborative development are proven models for building better, cheaper software faster. It’s natural that companies and individuals are looking to organizations like Linux Foundation and communities like Linux to help them address this trend with best practices established by some of the world’s leading developers.

In fact, OPNFV is similar to Linux distributions in that it will work with “upstream” open source projects like OpenDaylight, OpenStack, Open vSwitch and the Linux kernel to integrate and test existing code. The result will be the best possible reference platform for NFV. We expect contributions to this project to come in many forms, ranging from code development to performance testing resources and documentation. We also expect, like Linux, that OPNFV will provide a platform on top of which a wide variety of offerings will be made available.

OPNFV joins other Linux Foundation Collaborative Projects like OpenDaylight (networking), AllSeen Alliance (Internet of Things), OpenBEL (life sciences) and Yocto Project (embedded development). It’s clear that open source and collaborative development are pervasive across industries and are the core ingredients for a future defined by software.

I hope you’ll join me in Dusseldorf Oct 13-15, where I’ll be talking more about this during my keynotes at both LinuxCon/CloudOpen Europe and SDN and OpenFlow World Congress.

Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, Linux Foundation

This article was originally published on the Linux Foundation Blog.

Enabling the Transition: Introducing OPNFV, an integral step towards NFV adoption

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Guest post by Marc Cohn, Market Development, Ciena Corporation

Next month marks the two year anniversary of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), which has taken the industry by storm and transformed the relationship between major operators and standards.

As we plan to return to Germany next month for the SDN and OpenFlow World Congress, the event where the landmark NFV White Paper was published in October, 2012 and the ETSI NFV initiative was announced, many in the NFV community are reexamining a fundamental goal that has guided NFV from the beginning- Openness.

Openness means many things to different communities, as Matt Palmer summarized in his series: Defining Openness for Open SDN and NFV: A Primer for Network Operators.

As the ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ETSI NFV ISG) rapidly transitions from requirements to implementation, an important element in the openness mix is open source software.

This week the Linux Foundation announced the Open Platform for NFV Project (OPNFV), an open source software initiative intended to accelerate industry adoption of NFV. OPNFV intends to develop an ‘Open NFV Reference Platform’ that explicitly leverages a number of ‘upstream’ open source initiatives to catalyze and accelerate the development.

OPNFV Goals
OPNFV is a new open source software initiative that aims to drive the evolution of NFV, through a reference platform in accordance with the ETSI NFV ISG Architectural Framework.

Over-arching objectives include:

  • Develop an integrated and tested open source platform that can be used to investigate and demonstrate core NFV functionality
  • Proactive participation of leading end-users to validate that OPNFV releases address participating operators’ needs
  • Influence and contribute to the relevant open source projects that will be adopted in the OPNFV reference platform
  • Establish an open ecosystem for NFV solutions based on open standards and open source software
  • Promote OPNFV as the preferred open reference platform to avoid unnecessary and costly duplication of effort

Figure 1 below illustrates the initial scope of the OPNFV initiative, relative to the ETSI NFV ISG Architectural Framework (specified in GS NFV 002). Specifics on the scope of the development projects are now being discussed in the OPNFV technical community. Like many other Open Source Software projects, released software will be made available through a common Apache License, Version 2.0.

NFV Architecture Framework indicating OPNFV scope (in red)

Figure 1- NFV Architecture Framework indicating OPNFV scope (in red)

As a starting point, the OPNFV open reference platform could adopt several Cloud and SDN open source software projects, along with select proprietary components, including:

Over time, the list of open source projects adopted by OPNFV is expected to grow, as the scope of OPNFV steadily expands. From the outset, the OPNFV community intends to actively contribute to each of these projects to ensure they address NFV requirements and use cases.

How OPNFV relates to the ETSI NFV ISG
OPNFV has been established as an autonomous open source project by the Linux Foundation, similar to OpenDaylight, including a distinct governance, project leadership, and oversight structure. All technical decisions will be made by the OPNFV leadership, but will be influenced by the ETSI NFV ISG requirements and use cases, which have already been endorsed by the majority of the world’s network operators.

The OPNFV and the ETSI NFV ISG organizations are completely independent. To date, OPNFV and the ETSI NFV ISG have not entered into a formal arrangement. However, there appears to be a strong intent by both leadership teams to maintain a loosely coupled relationship that can be nimble and effective, similar to the ETSI NFV ISG relationship with the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). The ETSI NFV ISG and ONF leadership collaborated for months before entering into a formal agreement in April, 2014.

Dr. Steven Wright (AT&T), the newly elected Chairman of the NFV ISG commented: “I congratulate the OPFNV founders on the formation of this new open source community supporting NFV. The NFV ISG’s mission is to facilitate the industry transformation and development of an open, interoperable, ecosystem through specification, implementation and deployment experience. The ISG recognizes the value of open source implementations to converge industry requirements and facilitate the development of the NFV ecosystem. I look forward to the future releases of the integrated open source infrastructure platform from OPNFV.”

The Linux Foundation’s Executive Director Jim Zemlin indicated “From the beginning, we have been encouraged by the strong industry support for OPNFV spanning the major operators, vendors, and individual contributors. We feel especially confident, considering the extremely well-defined NFV use cases and architecture framework that guide the OPNFV baseline. We anticipate a close working relationship with the ETSI NFV ISG, other open source projects and the entire NFV community.”

Neela Jacques, Executive Director of OpenDaylight stated ‘The introduction of OPNFV is a critical step towards the long-term success for NFV. Open Source software projects have become increasingly important for all networking initiatives. We are excited about OPNFV’s decision to adopt OpenDaylight, which also emphasizes the importance of SDN as an enabler for NFV. Congratulations to each of the founding companies, many of whom already participate in ODL as well.”

Jonathan Bryce, Executive Director of OpenStack commented ‘OpenStack is already addressing the growing needs for the NFV community, starting with our upcoming release next month’. Our congratulations to each founding member of OPNFV for their commitment to facilitate new cloud services and software, a fundamental objective of OpenStack as well. We are excited that OpenStack was selected for the OPNFV baseline, and look forward to OPNFV’s contributions moving forward.’

Unlike many open source projects, OPNFV was formed with substantive involvement from the stakeholders with the most to gain- the operators who anticipate deploying NFV over the long-term. OPNFV membership classes were formed to enable varying degrees of participation, including board representation for ‘Platinum Strategic End-User Members’. Among the founding operators for OPNFV include: AT&T, CableLabs, China Mobile, DOCOMO, Telecom Italia and Vodafone, among others.

Margaret Chiosi (AT&T) added “Industry response to the OPNFV has exceeded our expectations. Many of the initial OPNFV members are also active participants in the NFV ISG, which shows the industry is taking the next step – accelerating the implementation of NFV. The goal is to expand the user community to include users who may be more focused on implementation and software”.

Don Clarke (CableLabs), Chairman of the Network Operator Council indicated:
“Leading operators participating in the ETSI NFV ISG believe that open source software is a critical success factor for development of an open ecosystem for NFV. I applaud the formation of the OPNFV project, and look forward to close cooperation towards achieving our common goals.”

As NFV Phase 2 continues to gain momentum, OPNFV has the potential to play an increasingly important role, enabling an open platform for NFV investigations to showcase/demonstrate select NFV functionality. Open source software will undoubtedly take on greater significance for the ETSI NFV ISG. OPNFV will likely pioneer open source development in the future, by aligning with the key stakeholders (i.e., ETSI NFV ISG), while encouraging participation by network operators.

Ultimately, OPNFV aims to enable operators to focus on rapid delivery of differentiated services, and not be compelled to become enmeshed in the details of the underlying NFV Infrastructure.

-Marc Cohn, Market Development, Ciena Corporation

This article was originally published on SDN Central

https://www.sdncentral.com/education/nfv-insiders-perspective-part-7-introducing-opnfv-step-toward-nfv-adoption/2014/09/.