Open Source Networking and a Vision of Fully Automated Networks

open source networking

Arpit Joshipura, Networking General Manager at The Linux Foundation, discussed open source networking trends at Open Source Summit Europe.

Ever since the birth of local area networks, open source tools and components have driven faster and more capable network technologies forward. At the recent Open Source Summit event in Europe, Arpit Joshipura, Networking General Manager at The Linux Foundation, discussed his vision of open source networks and how they are being driven by full automation.

“Networking is cool again,” he said, opening his keynote address with observations on software-defined networks, virtualization, and more. Joshipura is no stranger to network trends. He has led major technology deployments across enterprises, carriers, and cloud architectures, and has been a steady proponent of open source.

“This is an extremely important time for our industry,” he said. “There are more than 23 million open source developers, and we are in an environment where everyone is asking for faster and more reliable services.”

Transforming telecom

As an example of transformative change that is now underway, Joshipura pointed to the telecom industry. “For the past 137 years, we saw proprietary solutions,” he said. “But in the past several years, disaggregation has arrived, where hardware is separated from software. If you are a hardware engineer you build things like software developers do, with APIs and reusable modules.  In the telecom industry, all of this is helping to scale networking deployments in brand new, automated ways.”

Joshipura especially emphasized that automating cloud, network and IoT services will be imperative going forward. He noted that enterprise data centers are working with software-defined networking models, but stressed that too much fragmented and disjointed manual tooling is required to optimize modern networks.

Automating services

“In a 5G world, it is mandatory that we automate services,” he said. “You can’t have an IoT device sitting on the phone and waiting for a service.” In order to automate network services, Joshipura foresees data rates increasing by 100x over the next several years, bandwidth increasing by 10x, and latencies decreasing to one-fifth of what we tolerate now.

The Linux Foundation hosts several open source projects that are key to driving networking automation. For example, Joshipura noted EdgeX Foundry and its work on IoT automation, and Cloud Foundry’s work with cloud-native applications and platforms. He also pointed to broad classes of open source networking tools driving automation, including:

  • Application layer/app server technologies
  • Network data analytics
  • Orchestration and management
  • Cloud and virtual management
  • Network control
  • Operating systems
  • IO abstraction & data path tools
  • Disaggregated hardware

Tools and platforms

Joshipura also discussed emerging, open network automation tools. In particular, he described ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform), a Linux Foundation project that provides a comprehensive platform for real-time, policy-driven orchestration and automation of physical and virtual network functions that will enable software, network, IT and cloud providers and developers to rapidly automate new services and support complete lifecycle management. Joshipura noted that ONAP is ushering in faster services on demand, including 4G, 5G and business/enterprise solutions.

“ONAP is one of the fastest growing networking projects at The Linux Foundation,” he said, pointing to companies working with ONAP ranging from AT&T to VMware.

Additionally, Joshipura highlighted OPNFV, a project that facilitates the development and evolution of NFV components across open source ecosystems. Through system level integration, deployment and testing, OPNFV creates a reference NFV platform to accelerate the transformation of enterprise and service provider networks. He noted that OPNFV now offers container support and that organizations are leveraging it in conjunction with Kubernetes and OpenStack.

To learn more about the open source tools and trends that are driving network automation, watch Joshipura’s entire keynote address below:
Additionally, registration is open for the Open Networking Summit North America. Taking place March 26-29 in Los Angeles, its the industry’s premier open networking event that brings together enterprises, carriers and cloud service providers across the ecosystem to share learnings, highlight innovation and discuss the future of Open Source Networking.

Learn more and register now!

Sam Dean

Sam Dean

Sam is a freelance writer for The Linux Foundation.
Sam Dean