OPEN-O Focused on Orchestrating SDN & NFV

New open source group launches under Linux Foundation, driven by Chinese operators and focused on unified approach to orchestration.

February 23, 2016

3 Min Read
OPEN-O Focused on Orchestrating SDN & NFV

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2016 -- As expected, the second new open source group planning to create a virtualization orchestrator launched today, driven by Chinese telecom operators and operating under the auspices of the Linux Foundation.

The OPEN-Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O) joins the Open Source MANO Community (OSM) group which made its debut a day earlier. Both are hoping to increase the pace at which the critical network management and orchestration of virtualized networks develops by focusing an open source community on its challenges. (See OSM Demos First Steps to Open Source MANO and Split Emerges in Open Source MANO Efforts.)

China Mobile Communications Corp. and China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA) are two of the three founding operators and are joined in their efforts by KT Corp. , which is also part of OSM, as well as PCCW Ltd. (NYSE: PCW; Hong Kong: 0008) and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) (OTC: SGTJY). Supporting vendors include some also in OSM, such as Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT), as well as Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) , Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763), among others.

In announcing the new organization, Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin stressed the goal of OPEN-O as unique in trying to develop orchestration for both NFV and SDN to promote "deeper convergence among SDN and NFV technologies and innovation in the networking industry," he said in a statement. The group's goal is to unify efforts in the space, Zemlin emphasized.

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The OPEN-O project will focus on defining open interfaces to the orchestrator to support multivendor deployments, "with the aim of achieving an industry standard … to realize flexible resource orchestration and scheduling in a multivendor environment" to speed up the essential transformation of operations at network operators, said Howard Liang, Huawei's senior vice president and president of the Global Technical Service Dept., in the launch statement. Huawei joined the Linux Foundation and China Mobile in hosting the MWC press event.

The Linux Foundation is already home to two open source projects focused in this space, OpenDaylight and the Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. The expectation is that OPEN-O will be working closely with OPNFV, but then OSM is also planning close ties with other groups, though its closest ties are with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) . Whether there develops a split between the two groups, one originating out of Europe (OSM) and a second out of Asia (OPEN-O), remains to be seen.

Their approaches may be slightly different, in terms of technology. OPEN-O is expected to build more around OpenStack, while OSM is taking a neutral approach on that front. OSM is pushing a common information model as important, while OPEN-O isn't expected to depend as heavily on a model-driven approach.

At least one executive at a US-based company has bemoaned the split. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the individual called it "unfortunate" as it may force both operators and technology developers to choose one approach over the other. The presence of one operator (KT) and multiple vendors on both groups could prevent divisive approaches, as information is shared.

In the launch statement, Li Zhengmao, executive vice president of China Mobile, said OPEN-O organizers "are hoping that all partners work together to build the healthy ecosystem and accelerate the maturity of SDN and NFV. By embracing open source, China Mobile is expecting that the OPEN-O project will develop state-of-art open-source orchestrator software."

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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