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New Open Source Efforts Seek to Boost SDN/NFV

It's a busy time in the software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) arena, as multiple open source organizations backed by industry heavyweights recently announced new initiatives to foster their growth.

First, The Linux Foundation and the Open Compute Project announced a partnership to jointly enable the transformation to SDN and NFV. While The Linux Foundation is a chief steward of wide-ranging open source projects, the OCP describes itself as a collaborative community focusing on the redesign of hardware to better support the growing demands on compute infrastructure.

The organizations will work together to create:

  • Collaboration across open hardware and software to enable full open source stacks
  • Expanded integration and test of OCP hardware with OPNFV
  • Harmonization across disaggregated hardware with Switch Network Operating Systems

"Virtualization of network functions and the resulting disaggregation of hardware and software have created interest in open source at both layers," the groups said in a statement last week. "OCP provides an open source option for the hardware layer, and The Linux Foundation's OPNFV project integrates OCP along with other open source software projects into relevant NFV reference architectures. Given this alignment, OCP and OPNFV already have been collaborating on activities such as plugfests and joint demos. Now they have committed to expanded collaborative efforts."

And just today, the industry players backing the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) unveiled a new plan to help the group to adopt next-generation SDN solutions into their production networks. The ONF describes itself as an operator-led consortium aiming to transform networks into agile platforms for service delivery.

The operators behind this latest strategic plan include: AT&T, China Unicom, Comcast, Google, Deutsche Telekom, NTT Group, Telefonica and Turk Telekom.

After acknowledging the work done by the ONF on fronts such ONOS, Trellis and CORD, the operators indicated more needed to be done to move things forward.

"At the same time, operators have recognized a lack of clarity on common platforms," the ONF said in a statement. "Unnecessary customization drives variants and unique requirements into the ecosystem, which in turn drives complexity and cost. There is a need to help identify common platforms that will be deployed across multiple operators and to help the industry rally and benefit from shared investment."

To that end, the group announced a two-pronged approach in which the operators and ONF will work together to:

  • Create common modular reference designs using components such as white boxes and open source platforms
  • Drive the components of the reference designs to be production-ready, and in selected areas create integrated implementations of the designs

The ONF also announced an updated governance structure to execute the strategic plan.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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