The OPNFV open source project today announced its OPNFV Verified Program (OVP), which will bring consistency to certification of network functions virtualization (NFV) components at the infrastructure level.
OPNFV has been helping vendors and service providers by testing NFV components across various open source ecosystems. Its new OVP initiative will formalize this process and even provide a “OVP certified” logo to components that comply.
Initially, OVP will test and verify NFV infrastructure components, including NFVI, virtual infrastructure manager (VIM), underlying cloud infrastructure, basic packet forwarding, IPv6, and VPN.
“Open source is a great thing for the service providers and ecosystem, but a lot of service providers are still doing a lot of testing in their labs,” said Heather Kirksey, VP of community and ecosystem development with the Linux Foundation. “This program is an attempt to bring compliance and verification to open source. We did start with NFVI and VIM because that was the first pain point that end users wanted us to focus on.”
The program may expand to include virtual network functions (VNFs) in the future.
About a year ago, Chris Rice, senior vice president of AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture, said the operator was subjecting its VNF vendors to a process that AT&T called ICE. Vendors must use it to introduce and certify their VNFs for AT&T’s network. He said ICE was necessary because “unfortunately, you can get a lot of snowflakes — VNFs that are totally unique — when what you really want is Lego blocks.” Rice also said at the time that AT&T was considering open sourcing its ICE program.
Asked whether ICE would be open sourced as part of the new OVP program, Kirksey said, “In terms of VNFs, that’s an active conversation that is ongoing, especially now that we have the umbrella cross projects between OPNFV and ONAP.”
By “umbrella cross projects,” Kirksey was referring to the fact that OPNFV and ONAP, along with four other Linux Foundation open source projects, have been rolled into the new LF Networking Fund (LFN).
Is This Like Standards Work?
OPNFV has been doing certification and compliance for a while, holding periodic plugfests.
Chris Donley, the certification and compliance chair within OPNFV, said the OVP program continues the plugfests’ effort in a more formalized way. “The verification program to test commercial products gives some assurance about the products [service providers] are seeing from the vendor community. It’s similar to what they see when it comes to standards compliance.”
But Kirksey clarified that ONPNFV “is not so much taking on the standards role and defining standards” but instead “focusing on a lot of end-to-end functional testing, subjecting commercial products to tests.” She added that, “Service providers have been active in wanting us to go in this direction.”
Donley said, “In the absence of this program, it’s been up to service providers and vendors to talk with each other and figure out on their own what their admission criteria was. It wasn’t the same from vendor to vendor.”
Based on early participation during a beta program, several vendors provided feedback that helped refine and finalize the program, and those organizations now represent the first cohort to receive the OPNFV Verified mark and logo: Huawei, Nokia, Wind River, and ZTE.
“OVP is a great example of open source communities leading the way to help lower complexity in multi-vendor NFV solutions,” said Wenjing Chu, head of open source and research at Huawei, in a statement. “OVP reduces risks for carriers in NFV adoption by decreasing the integration and verification cost and enhancing interoperability.”
Vendors are encouraged to download the Dovetail framework for compliance testing of commercial offerings from the OPNFV website. OVP facilitates both vendor self-testing and third-party lab testing.