Open-Source NFV Group Names Director, Adds 5 Companies

The Open Platform for NFV effort, launched in September to create an open-source reference architecture, names Heather Kirksey as director.

NFV director

The Open Platform for NFV project, formed in September 2014 to help accelerate the adoption of network-functions virtualization, is adding a director and five new members.

The organization, founded by the likes of Intel, IBM and Cisco Systems, now has 49 members with the addition of Enea, Korea Telecom, SK Telecom, Spirent Communications and Xilinx. And with the appointment of Heather Kirksey, it now has a director.

Kirksey has experience with opens-source communities, coming to OPNFV from MongoDB NoSQL database project as well as with the telecommunications industry, which gave birth to the idea of NFV. In a Feb. 3 post on the OPNFV blog, she said she has a deep interest in NFV and software-defined networking, which promises to rapidly change how networks are deployed and operated.

"When I started in this industry we were just starting to roll out broadband, and a feature flip phone was still considered somewhat of a luxury," Kirksey wrote. "The intervening time has seen high-speed internet give way to triple-play give way to OTT [over-the-top] streaming, the rise of the smart phone, and both the increasingly rapid evolution of cellular technology and almost ubiquity of WiFi. The rise of smart home, connected car, M2M, IoT and wearables is further transforming the kinds of services that networks deliver and what subscribers expect."

She also has seen the increasing complexity of networks as they try to deal with the explosion of devices, applications and network-based services, making them difficult to manage and provision and a drag on capital expenses. SDN and NFV have the opportunity to change that, Kirksey wrote.

"As I've watched NFV get its legs under it conceptually I've been incredibly interested in its ability to attack that ever-burgeoning complexity," she wrote. "Software continues to eat the world, and as it comes for the network, an incredible transformation is underway—one that will allow the network to be more agile and more responsive to the demands of applications."

SDN and NFV offer the promise of more scalable, programmable and affordable networks by removing the control plane and networking tasks—such as load balancing and firewalls—from the underlying hardware and housing them in software that can run on low-cost commodity systems. The movement to software-based networks has given rise to other open-source industry consortiums, such as the OpenDaylight Project and the Open Networking Foundation.

Open source efforts will be key to the continued development of SDN and NFV, Kirksey said.

"This change is bigger than any single company, and working collaboratively is the only way we can get there," she wrote. "I've been impressed with the passion of the OPNFV technical community, and I know that it will only grow. I'm also excited to see the passion of other communities like OpenDaylight and OpenStack and I look forward to the collaboration and cross-pollination amongst the engineers of all these projects."

The companies behind OPNFV in December began laying out the group's direction in 2015, with officials saying the group's technical steering committee is reviewing project ideas to determine which will be pursued, and that the larger OPNFV community will focus on establishing an integration and baseline platform and creating several NFV-related projects that will find their way into the OPNFV's second release of 2015.

Among the new members are two South Korean telecommunications companies, Korea Telecom and SK Telecom. Enea is a Swedish company that sells Linux as well as middleware, tools, databases and services, while Spirent develops test beds. Xilinx creates programmable technologies and devices.