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Verizon Joins ONOS Open-Source SDN Project

The initiative's roster of members also includes other service providers, including AT&T, China Unicom, NTT and SK Telecom.

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Verizon is the latest major service provider to join the ONOS open-source network virtualization initiative, teaming up with other carriers like AT&T, NTT Communications, China Unicom and SK Telecom in the effort.

Verizon officials said Jan. 21 that they joined the ONOS (Open Network Operating System) in hopes of accelerating the development of open-source software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV) offerings that their company and other carriers can use.

"Verizon recognizes the potential of ONOS as an open-source SDN platform and the service provider solutions it enables, as well as the promise it holds to transform the networking industry," Brian Higgins, vice president of network planning at Verizon, said in a statement.

The announcement also came as ONOS—which was launched by ON.Lab, a company started by researchers from Stanford University and the University of California Berkeley—marked the anniversary of the group's first release. Verizon is the 13th company to become a member of the organization, joining others such as Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei Technologies, NEC and Ciena.

Like other telecommunications companies, Verizon is looking to create a more software-optimized network infrastructure to better address the growing traffic and changing application demands brought by such trends as mobile computing, big data and the cloud. Verizon officials in April 2015 announced they were adopting SDN to help transform its architecture, a move that echoed similar efforts by AT&T and others.

The ONOS project, which joined the Linux Foundation last year, is developing a carrier-grade SDN operating system that is aimed at delivering high availability, scalability and performance. Over the past year, it has rolled out five releases of the open-source framework—including "Emu," launched in December—and is gearing up for a sixth release, which will be named "Falcon."

Guru Parulkar, executive director and board member at ONOS, said that Verizon will bring "value to the ONOS partnership in terms of new requirements, possible use cases and insights that will shape ONOS today and in the future."

ONOS is one of several open-source efforts around SDN and NFV, with other groups, including the Open Networking Foundation, Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) and the OpenDaylight Foundation. The groups are working on developing common, open frameworks for network virtualization that vendors can leverage in their own initiatives.

The SDN and NFV market is expected to expand quickly. Analysts with Research and Markets are predicting investments in SDN and NFV will grow 54 percent a year, hitting $20 billion in revenue by the end of 2020.