ONF launches continuous certification program

MENLO PARK, Calif. – May 12, 2020 – The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) today announced its new Continuous Certification Program, enabling supply chain vendors to embed their products for ongoing test and compliance certification with ONF’s open source software projects.    

Additionally, the Open Compute Project (OCP) is collaborating with ONF in this new program to promote the use of OCP-recognized open hardware in ONF solutions. Together, this collaboration will make clear for end users how best to assemble world-class solutions leveraging both open hardware and open software components, thus driving wider adoption of comprehensive open networking solutions. 

The Test and Certification Challenge

With the advent of open source, the networking industry has come to struggle with how to certify products against rapidly evolving open source projects.  Traditional certification practices don’t work for open source because the software may well have advanced by one or two releases by the time a test plan can be completed, testing labs are enabled and a certification program launched.  This delay renders the test plan obsolete before certification can even get started.  

ONF is responding to member and market needs to reimagine certification testing in the age of Continuous Integration (CI)/Continuous Deployment (CD) and cloud software development. 

ONF projects already incorporate a continuous testing framework that keeps pace with enhancements to the platform in order to facilitate CI/CD – thus enabling rapid agile software development. ONF’s new Continuous Certification (CC) Program leverages the ever evolving testing framework for each project, and inserts participant products into the CI/CD/CC pipeline such that the systems are continuously retested and certified on an hourly or daily basis.  When a formal release of the project is declared, all systems currently validated as conformant in the CI/CD/CC pipeline will be officially certified as part of the release package bill-of-materials.

Product certification in ONF’s CI/CD/CC process is not a one-time activity. Vendors provide hardware or software products for indefinite installation into the development pipeline, and their products are continually tested throughout the development process. Rather than simply publishing static and outdated results, the real time status is made available via a public dashboard highlighting each product’s current compatibility with the most recent in-development version of ONF open source software.  This is, in essence, cloud era certification.

The testing and certification process requires considerable resources. ONF is unique in that it is the only open source networking organization with a full-time engineering team, thus making implementation of this new program possible. With this program, ONF will be publishing certified hardware and software BOMs (bill-of-materials) to smooth adoption of ONF platforms and broaden the ecosystem of hardware and software components compatible with ONF software distributions.

“The increasing speed at which operator-driven open source and SDN network deployments has been moving over the past few years mandates a certification program that is designed to run several times faster than conventional certification processes,” said Timon Sloane, Vice President of Marketing & Ecosystem for the ONF. “The ONF is in a singular position to offer this testing, and our Continuous Certification Program is further enhanced when testing is performed by engineers who have hands-on familiarity with the ONF’s Reference Design platforms. Our Continuous Certification program is also consistent with the industry migration to cloud native testing and automation, and increases the velocity of innovation and value provided to our members.“ 

“The OCP is very pleased to be partnering with ONF on this new continuous certification program.  This new ONF program pairs nicely with our Recognition Program and Marketplace that highlights integrated solutions.  The OCP Marketplace will identify OCP Inspired™ and OCP Accepted™ products that achieve ONF certification.  We anticipate this program will accelerate introduction of new cloud hardware technology into the ONF’s test and certification pipeline.  By working together, OCP and ONF are advancing our joint goal of accelerating adoption of open hardware and software by making selection of a complete hardware/software BOM much more streamlined for end users.” Bill Carter, CTO, Open Compute Project (OCP).

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