There are few things more frustrating than a dropped call. At the keynote during OpenStack Barcelona 2016 conference, the folks behind the Open Platform for Network Functions Virtualization Project (OPNFV) demonstrated, in a most dramatic fashion, the resilience of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) technology, and how it could minimize such call drops.
During the keynote, technical engineer Ildiko Vancsa made a cell phone call to OPNFV Director Heather Kirksey, using a set of 5G equipment on stage, running OPNFV (An open source implementation of NFV) on top of OpenStack. The call remained intact even though OpenStack Chief Operating Officer Mark Collier, also on-stage, started randomly cutting cables to the 5G gear, “Chaos Monkey” style.
On today’s episode of The New Stack Makers, Kirksey explores how NFV is replacing decades-old hard-wired telecommunications technologies with a more modular, flexible and programmable software components.
“Networks have been a hodgepodge of proprietary vertical equipment that served different purposes. It’s hard for providers to be agile, and hard for them to fail without a great deal of risk,” said Kirksey, explaining the value proposition behind OPNFV.
The most OPNFV recent release, Colorado, introduced specific test cases to the Doctor Fault Management Project that Vancsa, Kirksey and Collier demonstrated at OpenStack Barcelona. “With Colorado, we really started to hit our stride from a maturity point of view,” said Kirksey. The fourth release of OPNFV, Danube, is scheduled for release in February.
“From a developer-centered point of view, if you’re wanting to develop more network-centric applications instead of having to think about, ‘How does this integrate with back-end things?’ you can just write an application that can maybe just request network resources in a more simple way. OPNFV enables application developers to have a much easier way to interface with network resources,” said Kirksey.
Ultimately, the transition from hardware vendor to software vendor is one that Kirksey sees as presenting the biggest challenge to today’s telco companies. Kirksey explained that the more complicated issue will be trying to determine how best to integrate their new software onto white box hardware and changing how they sell networks. “To me, I think that’s probably the bigger transition. It’s easy to embrace open as you sort of go into that software. In some ways, it’s a challenge to do two transitions at once. If you’re going software, why not go open software?”
GoDaddy is a sponsor of The New Stack.