Light Reading

Exclusive: Leaked 'Inception' Document Fleshes Out Open-Source NFV Plans

Mitch Wagner

Plans for an open-source NFV platform are moving forward, as leading carriers and vendors in the NFV movement were scheduled to hold an "inception meeting" Monday and Tuesday.

The group was scheduled to meet in the Sunnyvale, Calif., offices of CableLabs , and we're told the meeting actually happened. The group included representatives of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Linux Foundation , Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM), and HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ).

We have gotten our mitts on a copy of a hush-hush six-page Microsoft Word document describing the goals of the Open Platform for NFV (OPN) project, circulated confidentially prior to the meeting. We have written about this bunch before. (See Will Carriers Step Up to Open Challenge? and Is Open Source the New De Facto Standard?)

No, not that kind of inception.
No, not that kind of inception.

Members of the OPN project want to create an open-source reference platform, both hardware and software, to validate the performance and interoperability of NFV components. The OPN also looks to help stimulate the open-source community to work on NFV.

"The overall design should be modular, to allow for the existence of proprietary components," the document says. "Initially, the focus will be on two critical components: NFV Infrastructure (NFVI) and Virtualized Infrastructure Manager (VIM)." OPN directors may decide to expand beyond that initial scope.

OPN-compliant NFV components can be open source or proprietary. The hardware platform will be based on standard, high-volume components.

The OPN will consider creating a physical integration facility in a convenient location such as Silicon Valley, to which members of the OPN project would have access.

The document opens with background on how the ETSI Network Functions Virtualisation Industry Specification Group formed in 2012 to "encourage implementation of interoperable network solutions based on NFV and growth of an open ecosystem." Both traditional standards development organizations and open-source technologies are important enablers for NFV, the document says. (See What's NFV All About? and ETSI Publishes First NFV Specs.)

The first release of NFV specifications is scheduled for the fourth quarter from the ETSI NFV SIG, the document says. (See NFV Group Preps Its Afterlife.)

The OPN project would complement, rather than replace, the NFV ISG, which will "remain the main hub of influence for NFV-related activities." The NFV ISG "will focus on use cases, requirements, and architectural aspects that define what is needed and what is wanted in order to ensure interoperability." The OPN will run with those requirements to develop the reference implementation. In turn, the OPN's work will help the NFV ISG refine its specification.

Open-source communities relevant to NFV -- or "upstream projects" -- include Linux, OpenStack, Open vSwitch, and OpenDaylight. The OPN would work with these groups to avoid duplication and promote development of features and functions needed for carrier networks.

The OPN would have a governance model similar to other projects hosted by the Linux Foundation, including OpenDaylight, which "has survived turbulence and appears to be functioning well," the document says. It would have a board of directors providing oversight, project scope, and financial control, along with a technical steering committee for technical direction, project scoping, code production prioritization, and resolving technical issues arising from interoperability testing.

The document concludes: "A face-to-face inception meeting is being organized to take place June 30th to be hosted by CableLabs in Sunnyvale-CA. This meeting will be by invitation-only for those players indicating their strong interest in Platinum membership." The goal of the meeting is to enable members to share perspectives on the scope and governance of the new forum, to confirm agreement, and therefore to encourage commitment. The OPN scheduled a followup meeting Tuesday morning. We've been on the phone and email looking to get participants in the meeting to tell us what went on, but we haven't succeeded.

The OPN is looking to get signed membership agreements by Aug. 31, to become operational when the NFV ISG documents are published in the fourth quarter of this year.

This is an exciting development for advocates of virtual networks. OpenDaylight saw terrific results, going from nothing to shipping code in a year. While SDN gets plenty of attention, NFV is chugging along with backing from key carriers and vendors. SDN requires sweeping network changes, but NFV can be implemented in small steps -- replacing one hardware server at a time -- for measurable financial results. Developing an open-source NFV reference platform will be a big step toward broad NFV adoption.

Related posts:

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/3/2014 | 6:35:40 PM
What would that group pickup first to deliver?
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
7/3/2014 | 11:32:21 AM
Heard back
We hears back from the Inception group. "I think your reporting has the story covered to date." Hope to hear more from them, possibly as soon as next week. 
R Clark
R Clark,
User Rank: Blogger
7/2/2014 | 9:44:43 PM
Finally, a sense of urgency?
Well-reported Mitch.  Telecom operators have had more misses than an England penalty shootout.  With the traditional revenue streams evaporating, they do finally seem to have a sense of urgency. It's just a matter of how many tier 1 and tier 2 carriers they can get on board.  Good if they can make it happen.
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/1/2014 | 8:58:37 PM
Re: Leaked 'Inception' of Open-Source NFV Plan
Mitch, impressive reporting!  What a great development and an outstanding model for establishing a sustainable platform.  It sounds as if they have the right players, the right design, the right timing, and the capability to put this together.  What a great contribution that would make.

We'll be cheering for their success.
From The Founder
Steve Saunders provides an overview of white box networking and introduces a new "slim line" version of the OSI 7-layer model.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Centec on Ethernet Switching

11|26|15   |   09:58   |   (0) comments

Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
LRTV Custom TV
Delivering Service Agility in the Virtualization Era

11|25|15   |   5.41   |   (0) comments

Interview with Massimo Fatato, WW OSS Business Lead, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Wagner’s Ring
How Might Open Source Fail?

11|24|15   |     |   (10) comments

Open source, SDN, and NFV are looking inevitable – but performance, standards proliferation and regulatory capture could derail the movement.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Lifecycle Orchestration – a Fresh Vision for Telco

11|23|15   |   6.40   |   (0) comments

Simon Osborne, CTO Comptel, and Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell reveal the business impacts of new SDN and NFV, and what the term service orchestration actually means. Together they define Lifecycle Service Orchestration and how the virtualized future will look for telecoms operators.
Between the CEOs
Cisco's Virtual Role in Saudi

11|20|15   |   12:15   |   (2) comments

Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Leads With Kubernetes for Cloud PaaS

11|19|15   |   08:26   |   (0) comments

Huawei is looking to Kubernetes as a key tool for building robust open source technologies for customers and partners, said Ying Xiong, chief architect of cloud platform at Huawei, in an interview with Light Reading West Coast Bureau Chief Mitch Wagner at the recent Kubecon conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
WiC in London: The Highlight Reel

11|19|15   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

NetCracker's Mervat El Dabae headlines an inspiring morning in London with help from leading women from Vodafone, TalkTalk, Hyperoptics and Ciena.
LRTV Documentaries
Why Saudi's So Hot for New Tech

11|19|15   |   05:07   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders reports from Saudi Arabia, a hyper-competitive market desperate to embrace the next generation of communications technologies and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Why Data Models Deliver More Value Than Information Models

11|19|15   |   5.08   |   (0) comments

Stefan Vallin argues that more automation is needed to manage end-to-end services and the hybrid networks they run on, and that data models are key to achieving this.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
SDN Management & Orchestration in the WAN

11|17|15   |   7.20   |   (0) comments

Carol Wilson and Packet Design CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu discuss CSPs' SDN service delivery and assurance requirements. Learn about a modular approach to building automated control, orchestration and management functions for the WAN that are policy- and analytics-driven.
LRTV Custom TV
Flash Networks: Optimizing for Radio Spectral Efficiency

11|17|15   |   3:34   |   (0) comments

Today most optimization vendors only focus on optimizing voice or data. Ofer Gottfried, Flash Networks' CTO, shows how improving data throughput and maximizing spectral efficiency reduces capital and operating expenses while also providing a platform for user engagement.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Pay-TV User Experiences Millennial-Friendly

11|16|15   |   6:42   |   (0) comments

The unique challenge of reaching and engaging Millennials is driving pay-TV video experience transformation that can include higher quality UIs, viewing of multiple content streams at once and seamless transitions between handheld devices and the television.
Allot MobileTrends Report H2/2015 reveals how daily online behavior can be used to discover smarter ways to profile customers and propose valuable, real-time offers to them.
Hot Topics
Samsung to Sell Wireless Networking Unit?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Samsung: No Sale of Wireless Unit
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/25/2015
How Might Open Source Fail?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/24/2015
Sprint to Get $1.2B From New Leasing Venture
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Networking Shines in HP's Gloomy Final Earnings
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/25/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
December 15, 2015
Virtualizing Cable Services
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
Cats with Phones
Can't Find the Phone on Thanksgiving? Click Here
Check under the cat! (hint: bottom right)
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.