OPNFV expects to deliver first software release next month

After a couple of face-to-face meetings in recent weeks, the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) expects its first code release in April.

The first release will serve as a foundational platform release, according to Heather Kirksey, director of NFV at OPNFV. The first release is designed to define how OPNFV will integrate features from projects such as OpenDaylight, OpenStack, KVM and Open vSwitch into the OPNFV platform.

The organization is a bit different from other open-source endeavors in that a lot of its focus is on integrating components from other projects to create an NFV platform. A lot of the work that OPNFV is doing involves setting up automated installation and deployment processes, as well as getting test infrastructure in place.

One of the things people are looking to get out of the OPNFV is the ability to test end-to-end for specific components. "We're setting the foundation for all of that by getting sort of the initial build" and getting test infrastructure in place, as well as the community labs program, called Pharos, underway, she told FierceWirelessTech.

OPNFV will have test infrastructure hosted by the Linux Foundation, and in the Pharos project it has a process by which different labs from different vendors can become community labs and offer infrastructure to the community. That way, people can test in different environments and with different hardware. "It makes infrastructure available to the community" on a virtual log-in and remote basis.

There aren't very many large-scale open-source integration projects like this in the industry, she acknowledged. "I think it's actually from that perspective … it's actually new for a lot of us, and that's kind of part of the fun of it and the excitement of it," she said. As opposed to a group like OpenStack that is building its own software, "we're bringing a lot of components together and seeing how they work together."  

Last month the community held a meet-up in Santa Rosa, Calif., and an OPNFV Hackfest in Prague, Czech Republic, where "there was definitely a lot of energy and enthusiasm," she said. In a lot of ways there hasn't been a great deal of political debate like what takes place in some standards bodies, probably because the focus is so much on execution, she said.

The feedback, especially from the service-provider community, showed they were more interested in getting something "soon, because we really want to start getting our hands dirty with it and we want to start testing our own applications on it," she said.

"We're working on a lot of things right now" with the first release, she said, but the company is also not sitting idly by on future releases either. The releases, by the way, will be named after rivers, based on a democratic voting process. Learning the upstream communities has been a task, and understanding the software features and capabilities has been a focus over the past few months.

Kirksey said she was especially impressed in Santa Rosa and Prague with the attitude and spirit with which people were collaborating and not engaging in company-sponsored political fights, which often accompany standards-types processes. "It was debate" more than battles, and engineers from different vendors and areas of interest were rolling up their sleeves to get to work toward a common goal, she said.

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