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OPNFV Wins Hearts, But Faces Challenges

OPNFV gets a lot of love, but it has a big job to do.

Roz Roseboro

November 11, 2015

3 Min Read
OPNFV Wins Hearts, But Faces Challenges

The OPNFV project generates a hugely positive response from service providers and vendors, but it faces challenges in creating value for the community, according to a recent Heavy Reading survey.

Heavy Reading surveyed service providers and vendors on behalf of the OPNFV project, to gauge perception of the project, as well as gain insight into how to increase engagement levels. More than 200 qualified responses were received, and the results show a favorable view of the project so far. This is consistent with a previous Heavy Reading study on open source, where OPNFV ranked as the third most important open source initiative, behind only OpenStack and Linux.

Some 92% of respondents selected a positive response when asked their opinion of OPNFV.

Figure 1: Thumbs Up Heavy Reading asked 211 respondents which of these statements best matched their opinion of OPNFV. Heavy Reading asked 211 respondents which of these statements best matched their opinion of OPNFV.

Equally encouraging is that 86% of respondents either strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement that "OPNFV will accelerate the adoption of NFV in the industry overall."

Separately, when asked what the main benefits of OPNFV are, more than half of respondents indicated that OPNFV would "accelerate adoption of NFV" and an even higher percentage, 62%, said OPNFV would lead to "more rapid deployment of NFV."

Another positive sign is that nearly a third of respondents indicated that they are actively involved and contributing directly to the project, and another 45% are following actively but not yet contributing.

Only 4% said they have no plans to follow or contribute to the project.

In other good news for OPNFV, nearly 70% of respondents indicated that their personal level of engagement has increased over the past year. All of this suggests that momentum should continue to build for the project.

Consistent with many Heavy Reading surveys, this one showed that "integration of multi-vendor solutions" is a major barrier to accelerating adoption of NFV, with 55% of respondents indicating this, although respondents also cited "easier integration" most often as an expected benefit of OPNFV, with 74% of respondents selecting it.

Find out more about network functions virtualization on Light Reading's NFV channel.

This is not to say that OPNFV doesn't face any challenges. As with many open source projects, there are concerns about the number of competing agendas that OPNFV must manage. Indeed, this was the most commonly cited challenge to the OPNFV project, with 43% of respondents selecting it. Interestingly, given the positive sentiment expressed elsewhere, the second most commonly cited challenge, with 38% of respondents, was "industry perception of the project."

The study also revealed that alignment between the project's priorities and individual companies' priorities is a barrier to increased engagement. Concerns over the maturity of the underlying technologies also exist, as does a desire to see even more support from both the service provider and vendor communities.

On the whole, the results were certainly encouraging. Service providers and vendors alike appreciate the role that OPNFV has taken on, and expect to achieve real business benefit from its efforts. The challenge -- and opportunity -- is for OPNFV to leverage existing support to build up its role in the development and adoption of NFV.

— Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

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About the Author(s)

Roz Roseboro

Consulting Analyst, Light Reading

Roz Roseboro has more than 20 years' experience in market research, marketing and product management. Her research focuses on how innovation and change are impacting the compute, network and storage infrastructure domains within the data centers of telecom operators. She monitors trends such as how open source is impacting the development process for telecom, and how telco data centers are transforming to support SDN, NFV and cloud. Roz joined Heavy Reading following eight years at OSS Observer and Analysys Mason, where she most recently managed its Middle East and Africa regional program, and prior to that, its Infrastructure Solutions and Communications Service Provider programs. She spent five years at RHK, where she ran the Switching and Routing and Business Communication Services programs. Prior to becoming an analyst, she worked at Motorola on IT product development and radio and mobile phone product management.

Roz holds a BA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and an MBA in marketing, management, and international business from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. She is based in Chicago. 

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