The Linux Foundation and OCP tag team open source hardware/software initiative

The virtualization of network functions has resulted in a disaggregation of hardware and software, increasing interest in open source projects for both layers in return. To feed this interest, the Linux Foundation and Open Compute Project (OCP) recently announced a joint initiative to advance the development of software and hardware-based open source networking.

Both organizations have something to offer the other through the collaboration. The Linux Foundation’s OPNFV project integrates OCP as well as other open source software projects into relevant network functions virtualization (NFV) reference architectures. At the same time, OCP offers an open source option for the hardware layer.

“The OCP has been quite successful at disaggregating traditional IT gear and creating vanity free ingredients. It is now time to carefully select the ideal hardware and software ingredients to re-integrate into efficient solutions,” said Bill Carter, chief technology office at OCP, in a statement. “The work being done by OPNFV is a key piece of that re-integration: bringing together the best open source software projects together with the best choices of open source hardware, to enable NFV.”

As part of the collaboration, OCP will work with the Linux Foundation Networking Fund (LFN) to create stronger integration and testing, new open networking features, more scalability, a reduction in CAPEX/OPEX, greater harmonization with switch network operating systems, and increased interoperability for NFV network transformation, according to the organizations.

The LFN was introduced in January as a way to house the many open source projects focused on developing an open ecosystem for telecom operators. Among the founding projects of the LFN include, OpenDaylight, ONAP, OPNFV, PNDA and SNAS.

This isn’t the first time the Linux Foundation and OCP have worked together. Both have collaborated at OPNFV plugfests and on joint demos in the past. The purpose of the plugfests is to try new integration, deployment and testing initiatives. Three plugfests from last year included activities that used OPNFV software and OCP hardware.

“The work that OCP does with open source, disaggregated hardware is a great complement to the work that we do. They are also great partners with a similar philosophy and collaborative vision,” Heather Kirksey, VP community and ecosystem development at the Linux Foundation, told RCR Wireless News in an email exchange. “We have already done great work together on the first version of our Virtualized Central Office (vCO) Proof of Concept as well as testing of OPNFV integrated software on OCP hardware.”

As to what can be expected from the Linux Foundation and OCP in the next six to 12 months, Kirksey added, “We look to continue our collaboration around enabling NFV solutions on OCP hardware, including a next iteration of our Virtual Central Office updated to include more applications with a focus on mobile capabilities. We also plan to deepen our joint testing activities, including at plugfests and in the OPNFV Pharos Lab program.”

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