The Open Networking Summit – Amsterdam

There have been lots of various networking events taking place recently.  One event was The Open Networking Summit, which took place in Amsterdam.  Here a few highlights from it if you missed it.

The Linux Foundation held the Open Networking Summit, which is where communications and cloud providers come together to discuss the future of open source initiatives that support SDN, NFV and other telco cloud developments.  It was by all accounts a very exciting event with over 700 attendees from the space.  The feedback is very clear that open source initiatives are being well supported and considered to be almost a standard way of operating.

‘Open- Sourcification’ was a term used by Dan Kohn who leads the Linux Foundation’s Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

Cloud Harmonization, open source and open standards, open networking, virtualisation, containers, automation, cyber defence, AI and compliance verification were focussed on.

Key starter points

Arpit Joshipura, General Manager of Networking, The Linux Foundation spoke about 142 years of networking, not in its entirety but discussed the last 5 years, 3 top takeaways.

1. The Power of Open and harmonized community drives innovation and value.

By seeing and Open Collaboration and open Community, Open Standards an Open source, we are seeing some incredible results in a trillion-dollar industry.  Networking is becoming the fabric for growth and innovation across all industries: Automotive, Retail and Energy and Agriculture.

Linux Foundation leads modern networking innovation with 21 Open Source networking projects currently on the go. Linux put out the results of a recent survey about which industries are going to really utilise Open Source networking with the advice to focus energies on those areas, these were:

  • Technology industry (Software and Services)
  • Telecom, communications and Media industry and
  • Financial Services


2. Networking is shaping adjacent communities: Cloud, Edge, AI, IoT, Access.

Arpit spoke about how all these communities are being shaped by Open Source.  How we are seeing projects shaping up to move from the core to the edge and to access and what applications are driving this innovation.

3. The journey continues with the best of both world: Clouds and telecom with VNF’s to CNF’s

The topic of how in the Cloud world, they are learning portability, containerisation, learning microservices, effectiveness and Cloud Native.   In the telecom world they are learning virtualisation, VNF’s etc and bringing them together.

What is Cloud Native and why should you care?

Dan Kohn, Executive Director of Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the sister company of Linux Foundation spoke about Cloud Native and answered this question.  Dan spoke about Kubernetes and the popularity of it. It has 4,550 unique authors, 23,347 unique issue commands and is the 2nd fastest Open Source development velocity in history.  CNCF now has 61 end-user companies, 61 Kubernetes Certified Service Providers and 71 Certified partners.  Orchestration, Containerisation and Microservices are the 3 words that are the definition of Cloud Native.

Network Architecture Evolution

The different stages of network architect were also discussed by Dan starting with Network Architecture 1.0.  This architecture consisted of separate physical boxes for each network component (routers, switches, firewalls).

Today we have Network architecture 2.0, which is physical boxes converted to virtual machines called Virtual Network Functions (VNF’s)running on VMware or Open Stack.

Dan spoke how within their community, they are now working on Network Architecture 3.0.  This looks identical to 2.0, in that the hardware is the same but the software side is evolving. Network Architecture 3.0 is Cloud-Native Network Functions (CNF’s) that run on Kubernetes, on public, private or hybrid clouds.

The 3 major benefits of CNF’s were discussed which are:

  • Cost savings- You can run applications on less hardware or run more applications on current hardware.
  • Improved Resiliency.
  • Higher development Velocity – Bugs get fixed quicker, updates are encouraged daily rather than monthly or quarterly.  New features get rolled out quicker, so you can keep ahead of your competitors.


Challenges of transitioning VNF’s to CNF’s

Talking about the challenges, the main challenges discussed were that of moving hardware functionality from physical hardware to encapsulating the software in a virtual machine (P2V) is generally easier then containerizing the software (P2C or V2C).

The other challenge was that many VNF’s rely on kernel hacks or otherwise do not restrict themselves to just the Linux user space ABI.


Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Project

ONAP for NFV orchestration was a major point of focus at the event.   Emmanuel Lugagne Delpon, director of Orange Lab Networks, said: “Alignment of a single orchestration solution is a must”.   Emmanuel was referring to the GSM standard which was brought in to replace the world of analog mobile telephony with a pan-European and global standard.

Orange were well represented with plenty of speakers as well as AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telecom, TIM and Vodafone were all in attendance and participating with them all being key contributors to ONAP.

Fran Heeran, Group head of Network Virtualisation, Cloud and Automation, spoke about how important it was for vendors to step up with ONAP solutions.  Both Vodafone and TIM made this urge speaking openly how as businesses, they do not have the capabilities in development to contribute code themselves.

The challenges that ONAP faced were openly spoken about and addressed.  Criticisms such as how it can be monolithic, unstable, inflexible and poor documentation was highlighted.  November sees the new release of ONAP, which has addressed several issues.  The continued development will be reflected in up and coming releases.

Other projects discussed at the summit were Acumos (Framework for AI development), CORD (Central Office Rearchitected as a Datacentre), Open Daylight (SDN control0 and OPNFV (compatibility testing for NFV infrastructure).

During the event, it was apparent that the operators are showing huge support for open source initiatives, but are aware of the challenges that lie ahead for them.

By the community, for the community