New Linux Foundation White Paper: Harmonizing Open Source and Standards in SDN

At the recent Open Networking Summit, the SDN/NFV community convened in Santa Clara to share, learn, collaborate, and network about one of the most pervasive industry transformations of our time.

This year’s theme at ONS was “Harmonize, Harness, and Consume,” representing a significant turning point as network operators spanning telecommunications, cable, enterprise, cloud, and the research community renew their efforts to redefine the network architecture.

Widespread new technology adoption takes years to succeed, and requires close collaboration among those producing network technology and those consuming it. Traditionally, standards development organizations (SDOs) have played a critical role in offering a forum for discussion and debate, and well-established processes for systematically standardizing and verifying new technologies.

Introduction of largely software (vs. hardware) functionality necessitates a rethinking of the conventional technology adoption lifecycle. In a software driven world, it is infeasible to define a priori complex reference architectures and software platforms without a more iterative approach. As a result, industry has been increasingly turning to open source communities for implementation expertise and feedback.

In this new world order, closer collaboration among the SDOs, industry groups, and open source projects is needed to capitalize upon each constituent’s strengths:

  • SDOs provide operational expertise and well-defined processes for technology definition, standardization, and validation
  • Industry groups offer innovative partnerships between network operators and their vendors to establish open reference architectures that are guiding the future of the industry
  • Open source projects provide technology development expertise and infrastructure that are guided by end-user use cases, priorities, and requirements

Traditionally each of these groups operates relatively autonomously, liaising formally and informally primarily for knowledge sharing.

Moving ahead, close coordination is essential to better align individual organizations objectives, priorities, and plans. SDN/NFV are far too pervasive for any single group to own or drive. As a result, the goal is to capitalize upon the unique strengths of each to accelerate technology adoption.

It is in the spirit of such harmonization that The Linux Foundation is pleased to unveil an industry-wide call to action to achieve this goal.

As a first step, we are issuing a white paper, “Harmonizing Open Source and Standards in the Telecom World,” to outline the key concepts, and invite an unprecedented collaboration among the SDOs, open source projects, and industry groups that each play a vital role in the establishment of a sustainable ecosystem which is essential for success.

The introduction of The Linux Foundation Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) is a tangible step in the direction of harmonization, not only merging OPEN-O and the open source ECOMP communities, but also establishing a platform that by its nature as an orchestration and automation platform, must inherently integrate with a diverse set of standards, open source projects, and reference architectures.

We invite all in the community to participate in the process, in a neutral environment, where the incentives for all are to work together vs. pursue their own paths.

Join us to usher in a new era of collaboration and convergence to reshape the future.

Download the Whitepaper