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OPNFV unpacked: important to form voting block to advance telecoms participation in open source says Margaret Chiosi

 

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Margaret Chiosi, OPNFV President and Distinguished Network Architect, AT&T Labs, at Layer 123 SDN & OpenFlow World Congress

At the beginning of the month yet another SDN/NFV forum/project was announced (see - Linux Foundation to build open reference platform for NFV effort): the OPNFV (open platform for network functions virtualisation) project was formed as an all-inclusive membership organisation.

It is tasked to produce an open reference platform to help ensure that the telecoms industry can effectively “ride the IT wave”, intercept “all the innovation that’s happening and… capitalise on it.” So said Margaret Chiosi,  OPNFV President and Distinguished Network Architect, AT&T Labs, when addressing last week’s Layer 123 SDN & OpenFlow World Congress, where she fleshed out in more detail what she saw at the objectives of the group and the role it would play.

At launch the OPNFV’s objective included:

  • develop an integrated and tested open source platform that can be used to investigate and demonstrate core NFV functionality;
  • include proactive participation of leading end users to validate that OPNFV meets the needs of the end user community;
  • contribute to and participate in relevant open source projects that will be leveraged in the OPNFV reference platform;
  • establish an open ecosystem for NFV solutions based on open standards and open source software; and
  • promote OPNFV as the preferred open reference platform.

According to Margaret, it will set out to coordinate the telecoms industry interface with the various open source projects which impact on the broad SDN/NFV effort. In particular it will try to foster full telecoms industry (vendors, integrators and service providers) participation in open source forums, contributing code and acting as a voting block to ensure that  telecom requirements are fully embraced there. Being forced to ‘fork’ open source projects to build telecom-specific code bases would be a sign of failure, she says. Watch the video above.

Also in her address Margaret pointed out that discussion around NFV too often concentrated on OpEx and CapEx savings when in fact service providers, especially AT&T, got involved to generate new services. “I think we should change the message a little,”  she said. “Cost efficiencies are ‘enabled’ by the agility and the new services,” not the other way about.

“What we’re hoping is that through this organisation we can get to implementation faster - the goal is to build an open platform via a common reference model, not to develop specific standards.

Openness also means getting as many organisations to join up and/or participate from as many different positions in the broad telecoms industry as possible, she says. “At present we have involved a good segment of the market with a wide range of vendors and service providers represented. It is a way to jump-start everything and get it going.”

She said the goal was to have true participation pretty-much regardless of membership cost.

The OPNFV has a glittering roster of members including AT&T, Brocade, China Mobile, Cisco, Dell, Ericsson, HP, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Juniper Networks, NEC, Nokia Networks, NTT DOCOMO, Red Hat, Telecom Italia and Vodafone. Silver-level founding members include 6WIND, Alcatel-Lucent, ARM, Broadcom, CableLabs, Cavium, CenturyLink, Ciena, Citrix, ClearPath Networks, ConteXtream, Coriant, Cyan, Dorado Software, Ixia, Metaswitch Networks, Mirantis, Orange, Sandvine, Sprint and Wind River.

 

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