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OPNFV Project scales up network functions virtualisation ecosystem

At the OPNFV summit in Berlin, the OPNFV Project announces new R&D capabilities and a student internship programme

The OPNFV Project,  the Linux Foundation’s open source network functions virtualistion (NFV) platform development organisation, has announced an expansion of its R&D capabilities and an internship programme to help further develop the worldwide NFV ecosystem.

The organisation, which is currently hosting its annual OPNFV Summit in Berlin which brings together developers, end-users and upstream communities, said it was seeing clear momentum for NFV around the world.

To date, NFV has found a ready audience among large telecoms operators on the frontline of network services provision, and the attendance at this year’s OPNFV Summit reflected that, said OPNFV Project director Heather Kirksey. Speakers included representatives of AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Vodafone.

“In many ways, service providers are getting their hands dirty and firming up NFV solutions will make it much easier for enterprises to follow,” Kirksey told Computer Weekly. “Right now this is about early adopters figuring out the solutions.”

The newest members of the project are China’s BII Group, a research lab that specialises in IPv6, software-defined networks (SDN), NFV and the internet of things (IoT); Japan’s Okinawa Open Laboratory, which promotes the integration of cloud and SDN/NFV activities; and Canada’s Synchromedia, a research lab based at the University of Quebec, which is currently working with suppliers Ericsson and Ciena to build NFV and SDN platforms that converge telco cloud, IoT and future 5G tech.

The new OPNFV Internship Programme will be open to university students interested in enhancing their networking and software development skills while contributing to a real-world project.

Read more about NFV

  •  Network functions virtualisation can complement SDN and benefit enterprises, but there are NFV security considerations that must be addressed.
  • Building a compelling business case for NFV is challenging, but essential. Telecom expert Tom Nolle explains how to convince CFOs that the time is right for implementation.
  • Orchestration challenges are slowing NFV adoption, with a number of factors hindering deployments. Expert Lee Doyle explains and offers advice for service providers.

The OPNFV Project will pair each intern with a community mentor over a three to six-month period. Some of the first projects running under the scheme’s umbrella include: determining the performance steady state of Cinder Volume; deploying and testing JOID installers in OpenDaylight scenarios; building a Pharos Lab for the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) in Ottawa, Canada; and creating a compliance tool for the evaluation of Community Pharos Labs.

Kirksey said she wanted to rekindle interest among students in telecoms networking, saying that the old guard of R&D, such as Bell Labs – now part of the Nokia organisation – were in danger of losing out to newer, more high-profile powerhouses such as Google.

“There is so much innovation in networking today that I see a real opportunity to entice the next generation of technology talent and get them fired up about telecoms networking,” she said.

Read more on Software-defined networking (SDN)