OPNFV Unveils Second Release of Open-Source NFV Platform

"Brahmaputra" brings a range of new features that come from collaboration with other projects, including OpenDaylight and OpenStack.

NFV collaboration

The industry consortium developing an open-source platform for network-functions virtualization is unveiling the second release of its software, which not only brings an array of new features and use cases but also is an indication of the growing maturity of the group.

The Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) Project this week announced the second release of the platform—dubbed "Brahmaputra"—about nine months after the introduction of "Arno," the initial release from the group, which launched in 2014.

Officials with OPNFV—a project under the auspices of the Linux Foundation—noted that not only does Brahmaputra feature enhancements, including initial support for IPv6 deployment, and more testing capabilities, but is also the product of work by significantly more developers than worked on Arno and collaboration OPNFV did with other open-source projects, such as OpenDaylight Project, OpenStack and Open Network Operating System (ONOS).

"What we've seen with Brahmaputra is key stakeholders collaborating across the industry and a marked increase in community engagement overall," Chris Price, technical steering committee chair for OPNFV and open-source manager for software-defined networking (SDN), cloud and NFV at Ericsson, wrote in a post on the consortium blog. "For example, 35 projects were involved in the Brahmaputra release, compared to just five in Arno. That's a six-fold increase in just 10 months! Even more telling is the more than 140 developers involved in the release—which means we've seen developer participation in OPNFV as a whole increase five-fold since August of 2015."

Price also noted the work that is going on with other the other open-source efforts, including KVM and Open Contrail.

"A great deal of the effort going on behind the scenes is in working with other communities," he wrote. "If you think about how many developers across all these various organizations have contributed to the release, it's a feat that could only be achieved through open-source development."

A number of the enhancements in Brahmaputra came through such collaboration, including improved fault detection and recovery capabilities developed through work in OpenStack Neutron and Ceilometer and DPDK; service function chaining (via OpenDaylight's Beryllium release); basic resource reservation (OpenStack), and performance and throughput improvements (OVS and KVM).

SDN and NFV are roiling the networking space with the promise of more programmable, agile and affordable infrastructures. Several open-source projects have cropped up to develop common platforms and frameworks that vendors can build upon. Recent months have seen an increase in cooperation between them, and in the past few weeks both OpenDaylight and Open Networking Foundation have come out with new releases.

The market is expected to grow quickly. Analysts with Research and Markets are predicting that service provider investments in NFV and SDN will grow 54 percent a year between 2015 and 2020, eventually reaching more than $20 billion in revenue by the end of 2020.

Price wrote that Brahmaputra is "lab-ready," which he said "means it provides a viable starting point for evolving NFV use cases (such as SFC and L3VPN) and composing services in an actual lab environment." The release also adds system-level testing and myriad performance testing frameworks and methodologies through groups likes the Pharos community labs and OPNFV's bare-metal lab hosted by the Linux Foundation.

"The strength of any open-source project depends on the community developing it," OPNFV Director Heather Kirksey said in a statement. "With an entire industry involved in the development of NFV, we're seeing more collaboration among key stakeholders across the ecosystem."