A small consortium of companies backing CloudNFV--which is dedicated to showing how standard cloud computing tools and principles can be used to implement Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)--expects to start carrier demonstrations of basic functionality in early September.
CloudNFV emerged from stealth mode last week, and its six founding members remain publicly unnamed. They are IT vendors rather than large telecom equipment vendors, CloudNFV founder, Tom Nolle, told SDNCentral.
Metaswitch Networks, which was not a founding member, has joined the project as well, said Nolle, a software analyst and president of Cimi, which is facilitating the group's activities.
NFV is being developed by an Industry Specification Group that was initiated in January 2013 within the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The group aims to develop requirements and architecture specifications for hardware and software infrastructure to support virtualized functions as well as guidelines for developing network functions.
Though all CloudNFV's participating companies are members of the NFV ISG, CloudNFV is neither sanctioned nor associated with NFV ISG or ETSI and emphasizes that it does not want to create standards. Rather, CloudNFV claims its goal is "to build a prototype or demonstration model of NFV based on the work of the body."
The CloudNFV implementation is expected to contain both commercial and open-source elements but will be based on standard interfaces described by NFV as the specification evolves. The group noted that its architecture is based on OpenStack, but the majority of deployment and operationalization software is not open source.
The group's first project will be a cloud-based implementation of IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) infrastructure, something Metaswitch has already tackled via its open-source Project Clearwater effort, which launched earlier this year.
Participation in CloudNFV is currently by invitation only. The group said that after it starts beta demos in September, it will expand its capabilities and broaden its scope of participation in early October.
"The goal is to provide a working prototype before making any further public comment, and to then offer insights from and demonstrations of that prototype in connection with the NFV ISG activity," said CloudNFV.
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