State of the Open Source Networking Industry

2019 has been a fantastic year for LF Networking! As we move into 2020, see my state of the industry article below and be sure to download the new LF Networking 2019 Year in Review! –Arpit Joshipura, General Manager, Networking, Edge & IOT, Linux Foundation

We started LF Networking (LFN) in 2018 with an audacious mission to build a sustainable open source networking ecosystem to create value and solutions that are the basis of modern communications.

We built LFN by bringing together several open source projects under a common umbrella to increase operational excellence and foster the communities innovating across the open source networking stack—in dataplane, SDN, NFV, orchestration, analytics, and more. These projects provide platforms and building blocks for network infrastructure and services across service providers, cloud providers, enterprises, vendors, and system integrators that enable rapid interoperability, deployment, and adoption. Together, we are supporting and fostering innovation from the eight projects that make up LFN—FD.io, ONAP, OPNFV, OpenDaylight, OpenSwitch, PNDA, SNAS, and Tungsten Fabric. Open source is now the de facto way to innovate and build business models for next-generation networks. This year, LFN experienced robust growth, with new deployments, new commercial adoption, and new members. The ONAP project, for instance, is the most diverse and largest automation platform in production globally and is now the focal point for industry alignment around MANO, Zero Touch, Closed Loop Automation, and Analytics—enabling conformance and verification, with standards collaboration. As the industry moves towards 5G and IOT, telecom providers are mandating automation and harnessing the opportunity to innovate at a layer above the network plumbing, life-cycle management, etc.

LFN is able to achieve success because it brings together the top network vendors as well as a number of the world’s leading service providers to work side-by-side and collaborate across common industry challenges and opportunities. In fact, LFN membership includes the 10 largest networking vendors and 20 leading communications service providers (CSPs) that represent more than 70 percent of the world’s mobile subscribers. It’s also noteworthy that CSPs participating in LFN perform 6 times better than the market as a whole in gaining mobile subscribers. This work is leading to ground-breaking innovation in some exciting areas. Standards have long been important in the telecommunications industry to enable wide scale multi-vendor interoperability and high performance, and LFN is harmonizing the worlds of standards and open source with formal collaborations that ensure alignment, consistent APIs, and models. A great example is the creation this year of the Common NFVi Telco Taskforce (CNTT) jointly hosted by the GSMA and the Linux Foundation that published its initial common Reference Model and first Reference Architecture in September. CNTT also enhances the OPNFV Verification Program (OVP) which combines open source-based automated compliance and verification testing for NFV stack specifications established by ONAP, multiple SDOs such as ETSI and GSMA, and the LF Networking End User Advisory Group (EUAG).

LF Networking is also jointly collaborating with GSMA, OpenStack, and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) to enable cloud native network functions (CNFs) to shift some workloads into Kubernetes clusters, and to use ONAP to orchestrate a variety of functions and services. A great example of industry collaboration was seen at KubeCon with 5G cloud native network live demonstration built on open source infrastructure with contributions from six open source projects and standards groups, 14 companies, and more than 80 volunteers. LFN is also working to integrate with other exciting adjacent technologies at the network edge, with Radio Access Networks, blockchain, and AI-enabled use cases. A good example is the new solution brief on wholesale intercarrier settlements with Hyperledger fabric blockchain. LFN also receives great support from Linux Foundation training where the community can now access 11 free and paid training courses on networking, including a Certified ONAP Program coming soon.

As we move into 2020, I want to thank all of the LFN members, projects, communities, and our 8 LFN Interns for all their hard work and achievements to date. LFN has now firmly established itself as the center of gravity of open source networking and I look forward to a great year to come. It’s safe to say that there’s never been a more exciting time to be in networking.

Download the LFN 2019 Year In Review report.