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Your new favorite NFV initiative: OPNFV

ITEM: A collective of telecoms operators and vendors (mainly the latter) has banded together with the Linux Foundation to develop an open-source platform to speed up development of NFV.

It’s called the Open Platform for NFV Project (OPNFV), it's billed as a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, and it aims to develop a “carrier-grade, integrated, open source reference platform” that operators and vendors can use to ensure consistency and interoperability between various open source components.

According to a statement from the group, an open platform that provides continuous testing for carrier-grade service performance is essential for telecoms players to get the most out of network virtualization.

To its credit, OPNFV realizes it’s not working in a vacuum, and is taking a collaborative approach with other NFV-related groups:

Because multiple open source NFV building blocks already exist, OPNFV will work with upstream projects to coordinate continuous integration and testing while filling development gaps.

[…]

While not developing standards, OPNFV will work closely with ETSI’s NFV ISG, among others, to drive consistent implementation of standards for an open NFV reference platform. When open source software development is aligned with standards development, it can root out issues early, identify resolutions and become the de facto codebase, resulting in a far more economical approach to platform development.

It also has the blessing of OpenDaylight and OpenStack, both of which will collaborate with OPNFV.

OPNFV says it will license new components under the Apache License Version 2.0 and “will work within the licensing requirements of upstream projects in order to contribute code back to these projects. A Board of Directors and Technical Steering Committee (TSC) will govern the initiative.”

The group says its initial scope will focus on building "NFV infrastructure (NFVI) and Virtualized Infrastructure Management (VIM) leveraging existing open source components where possible.”

Initial project objectives:

  • 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.

While OPNFV comprises both operators and vendors, the latter group is by far the bigger of the two. That said, of the six operators signed on, they’re all notable heavyweights: AT&T, China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, Sprint, Telecom Italia and Vodafone.

The vendor roster includes (deep breath): Brocade, Cisco, Dell, Ericsson, HP, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Juniper Networks, NEC, Nokia Networks, Red Hat, 6WIND, Alcatel-Lucent, ARM, Broadcom, CableLabs, Cavium, CenturyLink, Ciena, Citrix, ClearPath Networks, ConteXtream, Coriant, Cyan, Dorado Software, Ixia, Metaswitch Networks, Mirantis, Orange, Sandvine and Wind River.

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