The Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN), which was announced last week as the first associate member of OPNFV, started out about 18 months ago doing something very similar to OPNFV, but in Canada.
Ritch Dusome, CENGN’s president and CEO, says, “We started out as almost an OPNFV.”
Dusome, who formerly worked for Cisco, said the Canadian government held a competition to award $15 million over a seven-year period to an organization that would help small companies commercialize their technology products and also to help get Canadian students educated in technology. CENGN, which was formed by several groups that were feeling the fall-out from the Nortel bankruptcy, submitted a proposal. The group won the award based on its plan to create a multivendor interoperability framework that would focus on software-defined networking (SDN), NFV, and the Internet of Things.
“A lot of these members had R&D in Canada, or they had an interest,” says Dusome. “That’s basically how it came about. Even though they compete, they have a lot in common.”
The $15 million only funds a part of the group’s needs. The balance of its funding comes from services it offers and from its members.
Once CENGN became aware of OPNFV, it realized the groups were doing similar work. Dusome says there were several organizations to consider, from the European Telecommunications Standard Institute (ETSI) to the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), OpenStack, and the OpenDaylight Project. “We had to decide what to take to put together this environment. Instead of us doing it ourselves, [by joining with OPNFV] we’ll be part of something much bigger.”
CENGN plans to host an OPNFV Pharos test lab. OPNFV has 10 of these labs so far, which are geographically dispersed. The labs are hosted by member companies and by the Linux Foundation. They’re used to test the OPNFV platform.
CENGN will begin hosting a Pharos Lab in Canada, “as soon as we can get equipment from our members,” says Dusome.
He says the test labs are a great idea because they cost OPNFV nothing, and members can do continuous integration. The labs also test the hardware that’s running the new code.
Trevor Cooper, a solutions architect at Intel who is overseeing the Pharos Labs for OPNFV, says, “A lot of open-source projects provide virtualized resources, but very few provide bare metal.”
The labs were a critical ingredient for Arno, OPNFV’s first code release. “It’s not just about the platform,” Cooper says. “You need the environment around that. Getting that in place is non-trivial.”