In September 2014, the Linux Foundation announced another open source reference platform — the Open Platform for NFV Project (OPNFV), which aims to be a carrier-grade, integrated platform that introduces new products and services to the industry quickly. In January 2018, the governance of OPNFV moved to the LF Networking Fund, which is an entity that governs multiple projects. OPNFV will also work closely with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI or ETSI NFV) and others to press for consistent implementation of open standards.
The Linux Foundation, the non-profit known for its commitment to an open community, hosted the OpenDaylight Project in April 2013 to advance software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). The project was created as a community-led and industry-supported open source framework. SDN and NFV together are part of the industry’s transition toward virtualization of networks and applications. With the integration of both, significant changes are expected in the networking environment.
OPNFV promotes an open source network that brings companies together to accelerate innovation, as well as market new technologies. OPNFV brings together service providers, cloud and infrastructure vendors, developers, and customers to create an open source platform to speed up the development and deployment of NFV for both enterprise and service provider networks.
Diagram of OPNFV
Open Platform for NFV Project Goals and Objectives
Not only does OPNFV put industry leaders together to hone NFV capabilities, but it also provides consistency and interoperability. Since many NFV foundational elements already are in use, the organization assists with upstream projects to manage continued integration and testing, as well as address any voids in development. The organization focuses its efforts on three objectives:
- Integration with other open source projects to meet the needs of NFV requirements
- Testing of the entire stack
- New Features – “By actively working upstream and providing a single voice for NFV requirements, OPNFV steers these open source projects to serve the needs of NFV.”
With platinum-level contribution, founding members include AT&T, Brocade (now Lumina), China Mobile, Cisco, Dell, Ericsson, HP, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Juniper Networks, NEC, Nokia Networks, NTT DOCOMO, Red Hat, Telecom Italia, and Vodafone. Silver-level companies are 6WIND, Alcatel-Lucent, ARM, CableLabs, Cavium, CenturyLink, Ciena, ClearPath, ConteXtream, Coriant, Cyan, Dorado Software, Ixia, Metaswitch Networks, Mirantis, Orange, Sandvine, Sprint, and Wind River. Currently, the open source organization is comprised of more than 340 contributors, 16 test labs, and more than 20,000 commits.
OPNFV will license new components under the Apache License Version 2.0. It plans to produce a release every six months.
Its sixth NFV integration, testing, and deployment release, named Fraser, “has deepened its testing capabilities around functional, performance, stress, and benchmark testing and brings new carrier-grade features around monitoring, service assurance, networking, and dataplane acceleration,” according to the open source group.
The Fraser release contains the following components:
- 8 Kubernetes (k8s) based reference architectures, deploys two containerized virtual network functions (VNFs) to support cloud-native applications.
- Other open source projects, such as ONAP, may use the OPNFV framework.
- Enhanced performance management features and testing in addition to the adding of infrastructure maintenance and dataplane acceleration.
- A quicker testing protocol as hardware allocation is dynamic and automatic.
- Introduction of Lab-as-a-Service (LaaS), which allows for on-demand deployment of NFV infrastructure.
OPNFV already announced the next release, Gambia. The anticipated release date is late 2018 or early 2019.