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Arpit Joshipura, GM of Networking and Orchestration at the Linux Foundation, shares his 2018 predictions for the networking industry.

1. 2015’s buzzwords are 2018’s course curriculum.

SDN, NFV, VNF, containers, microservices — the hype crested in 2016 and receded in 2017. But don’t mistake quiet for inactivity; solution providers and users alike have been hard at work with re-architecting and maturing solutions for key networking challenges. And now that these projects are nearing production, these topics are our most requested areas for training.

2. Open Source networking is crossing the chasm – from POCs to Production.

The ability for users and developers to work side by side in open source has helped projects mature quickly — and vendors to rapidly deliver highly relevant solutions to their customers. For example:

3. Top networking vendors are embracing a shift in their business models…

  • Hardware-centric to software-centric: value-add from rapid customization
  • Proprietary development to open-source, shared development
  • Co-development with end users, reducing time to deployment from 2 years to 6 months

4. Industry-wide adoption of 1-2 Network Automation platforms will enable unprecedented mass customization.

The need to integrate multiple platforms, taking into account each of their unique feature sets and limitations, has traditionally been a massive barrier to rapid service delivery.

In 2018, mature abstractions and standardizing processes will enable user organizations to rapidly onboard and orchestrate a diverse set of best-of-breed VNFs and PNFs at need.

5. Advances in cloud and carrier networking are driving skills and purchasing shifts in the enterprise.

The ease and ubiquity of public cloud for simple workloads has reset end user expectations for Enterprise IT. The carrier space has driven maturity of open networking solutions and processes. Enterprise IT departments are now at a crossroads:

  • How many and which of their workloads and processes do they want to outsource?
  • How can they effectively support those workloads remaining in-house with the same ease and speed users expect?
  • What skills will IT staff need, and how will they get them?

Which brings us to….

6. Prediction #1 will also lead off our Predictions list for 2019.

This article originally appeared on the ONAP website.

OPNFV

The OPNFV project provides users with open source technology they can use and tailor for their purposes; learn how to get involved.

Over the past several weeks, we have been discussing the Understanding OPNFV book (see links to previous articles below). In this last article in the series, we will look at why you should care about the project and how you can get involved.

OPNFV provides both tangible and intangible benefits to end users. Tangible benefits include those that directly impact business metrics, whereas the intangibles include benefits that speed up the overall NFV transformation journey but are harder to measure. The nature of the OPNFV project, where it primarily focuses on integration and testing of upstream projects and adds carrier-grade features to these upstream projects, can make it difficult to understand these benefits.

To understand this more clearly, let’s go back to the era before OPNFV. Open source projects do not, as a matter of routine, perform integration and testing with other open source projects. So, the burden of taking multiple disparate projects and making the stack work for NFV primarily fell on Communications Service Providers (CSPs), although in some cases vendors shouldered part of the burden. For CSPs or vendors to do the same integration and testing didn’t make sense.

Furthermore, upstream communities are often horizontal in their approach and do not investigate or prioritize requirements for a particular industry vertical. In other words, there was no person or entity driving carrier grade features in many of these same upstream projects. OPNFV was created to fill these gaps.

Tangible and Intangible Benefits

With this background, OPNFV benefits become more clear. Chapter 10 of the book breaks down the tangible and intangible benefits further. Tangible benefits to CSPs include:

  • Faster rollout of new network services
  • Vendor-agnostic platform to onboard and certify VNFs
  • Stack based on best-in-class open source components
  • Reduced vendor lock-in
  • Ability to drive relevant features in upstream projects

Additionally, the OPNFV community operates using DevOps principles and is organized into small, independent and distributed teams. In doing so, OPNFV embodies many of the same practices used by the web giants. CSPs can gain valuable insight into people and process changes required for NFV transformation by engaging with OPNFV. These intangible benefits include insights into:

  • Organizational changes
  • Process changes
  • Technology changes
  • Skillset acquisition

OPNFV is useful not only for CSPs, however; it also provides benefits to vendors (technology providers) and individuals. Vendors can benefit from interoperability testing (directly if their products are open source, or indirectly through private testing or plugfests), and gain insights into carrier-grade requirements and industry needs. Individuals can improve their skills by gaining broad exposure to open source NFV. Additionally, users can learn how to organize their teams and retool their processes for successful NFV transformation.

The primary objective of the OPNFV project is to provide users with open source technology they can use and tailor for their purposes, and the Understanding OPNFV book covers the various aspects to help you get started with and get the most out of OPNFV. The last section of the book also explains how  you might get involved with OPNFV and provides links to additional OPNFV resources.

Want to learn more? You can download the Understanding OPNFV ebook in PDF (in English or Chinese), or order a printed version on Amazon. Or you can check out the previous blogs:

Networking industry experts gather at the Orange Gardens facility outside of Paris, France on October 9, 2017, for the Open Source Networking Day event, hosted by Atos and Orange.

Something that we’ve learned at The Linux Foundation over the years is that there is just no substitute for periodic, in-person, face-to-face collaboration around the open source technologies that are rapidly changing our world. It’s no different for the open networking projects I work with as end users and their ecosystem partners grapple with the challenges and opportunities of unifying various open source components and finding solutions to accelerate network transformation. This fall, we decided to take The Linux Foundation networking projects (OpenDaylight, ONAP, OPNFV, and others) on the road to Europe and Japan by working with local site hosts and network operators to host Open Source Networking Days in Paris, Milan, Stockholm, London, Tel Aviv, and Yokohama.

This series of one-day events was a valuable opportunity for local ecosystems to meet and collaborate around the latest in open source networking. Heather Kirksey and Phil Robb of The Linux Foundation attended and spoke at the events to share our vision of the open networking stack, build relationships, and facilitate community collaboration. Our local site hosts were amazing—taking the lead on organizing, programming, and executing events in line with the needs and interests of their various regions. On behalf of The Linux Foundation, “thank you” to all our incredible site hosts, speakers, attendees, and sponsors: Amdocs, ATOS, Cloudify, Enter Cloud Suite, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Login, NEC, Nokia, Orange, Red Hat, SUSE, and Vodafone.

The feedback we’ve received on these events has been very positive. Attendees appreciated the opportunity to learn about the various components of the open networking stack, examine the integration and collaboration points between them, and map that to their strategies for rolling out cloud, SDN, NFV, MANO, and more across networks. By taking the OSN Days on the road, we were able to meet in-person with more than 460 people—from developers to service providers to vendors—venues near them with an agenda focused on their needs. Attendees also expressed their desire for more hands-on work (e.g. tutorials, demos, workshops, hackathons, etc.) and we are taking that into consideration for future OSN Days.

I encourage you to check out the great content from the latest tour. From the OSN Days Tour website, you can navigate to each tour page, and access all the slide presentations under the “View Session Slides” tab. You can also watch videos here from the OSN Day London Event, and read detailed recap blogs of both the London and Stockholm events, posted by site hosts directly.

The next tour is being planned for India in late January 2018, and other tours are being considered for North America and Asia—stay tuned. In the meantime, please consider joining an Open Source Networking User Group in your region.

We hope to see you next year at Open Networking Summit, an OSN Day, or an OSN user group meetup near you! Please email osndays@linuxfoundation.org with any questions.

By Fatih Degirmenci, Yolanda Robla Mota, Markos Chandras

The OPNFV Community will soon issue its fifth release, OPNFV Euphrates. Over the past four releases, the community has introduced different components from upstream projects, integrated them to compose different flavors of the stack, and put them through extensive testing to help establish a reference platform for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). While doing this work, the OPNFV community strictly followed its founding principle: Upstream First. Bugs found or features identified as missing are implemented directly into upstream code; OPNFV has carried very little in its own source code repositories, reflecting the project’s true upstream nature. This was achieved by the use of stable release components from the upstream communities. In addition to the technical aspects of the work, OPNFV established good relationships with these upstream communities, such as OpenStack, OpenDaylight, FD.io, and others.

Building on previous experience working on integrating and testing different components of the stack, Euphrates brings applied learnings in Continuous Delivery (CD) and DevOps principles and practices into the fray, via the Cross Community Continuous Integration (XCI) initiative.  Read below for a quick summary about what it is, where we are now, what we are releasing as part of Euphrates, and a sneak peek into the future.

Upstream Development Model
The current development and release model employed by OPNFV provides value to OPNFV community itself and the upstream communities it works with, but is limited and dependent on using stable versions of upstream components. This essentially limits the speed at which new development and bugfixes can be contributed to upstream projects. This results in losing the essence of CI (finding issues, providing fast and tailored feedback) and means that the developers who contribute to upstream projects might not see results for several months, after everyone has moved on to the next item in their roadmap. The notion of constantly playing “catch up” with upstream projects is not sustainable.

In order for OPNFV to achieve true CI, we need to ensure that upstream communities implement a CD approach. One way to make this happen is to enable patch-level testing and consuming of components from master branches of upstream communities–allowing for more timely feedback when it matters most. The XCI initiative establishes new feedback loops across communities and with supporting tooling makes it possible to:

  • shorten the time it takes to introduce new features
  • make it easier to identify and fix bugs
  • ease the effort to develop, integrate, and test the reference platform
  • establish additional feedback loops within OPNFV, towards the users and between the communities OPNFV works with
  • provide additional testing from a production-like environment
  • increase real-time visibility

Apart from providing feedback to upstream communities, we strive to frequently provide working software to our users, allowing them to be part of the feedback loop. This ensures that while OPNFV pushes upstream communities to CD, the platform itself also moves in the same direction.

Helping Developers Develop by Supporting Source-Based Deployments
One of the most important aspects of XCI is to ensure developers do what they do best: develop. XCI achieves this by supporting source-based deployments. This means that developers can patch the source on their workstations and get their patch deployed quickly, cutting the feedback time from months to hours (or even minutes). The approach employed by XCI to enable source-based deployments ensures that nothing comes between developers and the source code who can even override whatever is provided by XCI to ensure the deployment fits their needs. Additionally, users also benefit as they can adjust what they get from XCI to further fit their needs. This is also important for patch-level testing and feedback.

Choice
What we summarized until now are firsts for OPNFV and perhaps firsts for the entire open source ecosystem; bringing multiple open source components together from master. But we have a few other firsts provided by XCI as part of the Euphrates release, such as:

  • multiple deployment flavors ranging from all-in-one to full blown HA deployment
  • multi-distro support: Ubuntu, Centos, and openSUSE
  • extended CI pipelines for all projects that choose to take part in XCI

This is another focus area of XCI: giving choice. We believe that if we offer choices to developers and users, they will leverage these options to invent new things or use them in new and different ways. XCI empowers the community by removing barriers and constraints and providing freedom of choice.

XCI utilizes tools such as Bifrost and OpenStack Ansible directly from upstream and what is done by XCI is to use these tools in a way that enables CI.

Join the Party
Are we done yet? Of course not. We are working on bringing even more components together and are reaching out to additional communities, such as ONAP and Kubernetes.

If you would like to be part of this, check the documentation and try using the XCI Sandbox to bring up a mini OPNFV cluster on your laptop. You can find XCI developers on #opnfv-pharos channel on Freenode and while you are there, join us to make things even better.

Finally, we would like to thank everyone who has participated in the development of XCI, reviewed our patches, listened to our ideas, provided hardware resources, motivated us in different ways, and, most importantly, encouraged us. What we have now is just the beginning and we are on our way to change things.

Heading to Open Source Summit Europe? Don’t miss Fatih’s presentation, “Bringing Open Source Communities Together: Cross-Community CI,” Monday, October 23, 14:20 – 15:00.

Learn more about XCI by reading the Solutions Brief or watching the video, and signing up for this XCI-based webinar on November 29th.

This article originally appeared on the OPNFV website.

This week in OSS and Linux news, two opinion writers at The New York Times consider the safeguards of open source software in future elections, Prodip Sen of HP shares the growing role of OPNFV, and more! Read on to stay in the open source know this week. 

1) The National Association of Voting Officials is leading a movement to encourage officials to stop purchasing insecure systems and use open source software to “guard our votes against manipulation.”

To Protect Voting, Use Open-Source Software– New York Times

2) As NFV becomes more central in transitioning to 5G, so too does OPNFV.

OPNFV’s Role in NFV Testing and the Road to 5G– Telecom TV

3) Microsoft continues trend towards being more open with new CNCF Platinum membership.

Microsoft Expands Role In Cloud By Joining Cloud Native Computing Foundation– Forbes

4) Windows 10 users will be able to run an array of Linux software this Fall.

Windows 10 Will Let Everyone Run Linux Inside Windows Following Fall Creators Update– TechRepublic

5) The effort to save Adobe Flash continues.

GitHub Developer Starts Petition to Open Source Adobe Flash– Computer Business Review