If you take a step back from all the hype around NFV and SDN, and really think about it, you have to admit that the recognition and adoption of open source in the telecom industry has been nothing short of revolutionary -- both technologically and culturally. In just over a year, open source has become one of the ways forward for traditional telcos looking to compete with the web giants both on the network and the services side.
On the next Tune in Tuesday radio show (December 8 at 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT), I'm interviewing Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. director Heather Kirksey about the open source revolution, and how open source and industry-level collaboration can make the networking industry more competitive and agile. (Register here: Open Source: Increasing Competition & Agility.)
Kirksey will discuss how the industry has responded to competitive threats from the web giants with software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) in order to make networks more software-driven, elastic and less reliant on an ever-growing set of specialized physical boxes that make provisioning complex and less than robust. She will also talk about what open source means and what it doesn't and how open source and industry-level collaboration can change the industry.
When it comes to what open source means and doesn't mean, Kirksey is notoriously vocal. "People often mistake open source as a business model. They focus on the F in FOSS (free and open source software), and while that's tempting, 'free' is an awfully distracting concept," she wrote in a recent blog on Light Reading. "Open source is, in fact, an R&D model. It's one that acknowledges that working together to solve the hardest foundational problems enables everyone in the ecosystem to put more of their valuable internal resources on interesting and differentiating projects." (See The Platform's Not Burning.)
In addition, open source is the next logical step in the way the industry works together, adds Kirksey. "Traditionally, we've collaborated externally as an industry. We've always relied on standards bodies to innovate collectively, and we still do," she wrote. "Open source goes one step further and begins to consider the actual implementation of these standards as collaborative work."
In general, open source has made a significant impact on the industry over the last year, but in order to understand the impact of the OPNFV project itself, last month, OPNFV and Heavy Reading released the results of a survey of more than 200 telco and service provider professionals across North America, Europe and Asia. This survey not only provided insight into the industry's perception of the project, but also how the project can help accelerate NFV transformation.
Highlights from the survey include:
- When asked about the benefits of the project, over half of respondents said that OPNFV is poised to accelerate adoption of NFV, while more than 62% said it would lead to more rapid development. "Easier integration" was cited as the number one benefit of OPNFV, at 74%.
- Twenty-six percent of respondents are in the testing/proof-of-concept phase of their NFV deployments, while as many as 19% of indicated their organizations are in full NFV deployment.
- Nearly 60% are actively exploring NFV with 33% developing their NFV strategy already.
- Sixty-eight percent of respondents cited upstream open source project OpenStack as very important to the success of OPNFV, while close to half cited additional projects, including OpenvSwitch (47%), Carrier Grade Linux (42%), OpenDaylight (40%), and KVM (37%).
- Telcos and vendors cited a handful of technologies -- including security, VNF interoperability, management and orchestration, OSS/BSS integration, skills training and containers -- as the technologies most important to the success of OPNFV.
To find out more about OPNFV's work and what's ahead for 2016, tune in to The New IP on Tuesday, December 8 at 2:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. PT) for a great discussion with Kirksey. Plus, she'll be taking your questions during the show and afterwards in a live chat. Register here: Open Source: Increasing Competition & Agility
— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Editor, The New IP