By: Arpit Joshipura, GM, Networking, Edge & IOT
In 2021, the world began emerging from the COVID-19 global pandemic. The recovery has been uneven across the globe, and while there has been significant progress made, we also solemnly recognize the hardship endured in many communities. Something that we’ve learned through the pandemic is that the distributed, open, and collaborative nature of open source software has proven especially resilient to global economic disruptions. Despite the many setbacks that COVID-19 has wrought, there are tangible signs that open source networking is creating opportunity from adversity and moving the industry forward.
In fact, there is an exciting convergence in the networking industry around open source, and the energy is palpable. At LF Networking, we have a unique perspective as the largest open source initiative in the networking space with the broadest set of projects that make up the diverse and evolving open source networking stack. LF Networking provides platforms and building blocks across the networking industry that enable rapid interoperability, deployment, and adoption, and is the nexus for 5G innovation and integration. In fact, we believe that only open source can provide the economy of scale required by 5G and the enterprise market. The dawn of 6G will require even greater speeds, scalability, and a whole new breed of applications and workloads.
It’s inspiring that the networking industry continues to attract many bright young minds as 31% of those surveyed in the Linux Foundation’s Open Source Jobs Report rank networking skills as highly important, behind only Linux and cloud/container technologies. Per InfoWorld, these skills became even hotter for the industry for digital transformation efforts. In the 18 months since March 2020, developer productivity increased 22% from the previous 18 months. LF Networking specifically experienced growth in both contributors and code commits across its projects. These advancements track in parallel to what we’re seeing from our members; with AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and Verizon all announcing significant commitments and deployments into production across their global networks.
New levels of transparency and accuracy around open source contributions are now made possible through the LFX platform, a tool currently under Beta that will formally launch across all the Linux Foundation project ecosystems in 2022. In parallel, we’ve made a concerted effort this year to collaborate around security and proliferate open security best practices across the LFN communities by migrating to more secure frameworks, addressing code quality issues, logging security issues, and more.
Just as exciting are the cross-project collaborations gaining traction as LFN is tapping the confluence of industry efforts to structure new initiatives. Major integrations between the building blocks are now underway — between ONAP and ORAN, Akraino and Magma, Anuket and Kubernetes, and others.
A great example of this is the 5G Super Blueprint initiative — a community- driven integration and proof of concept involving multiple open source initiatives in order to show end-to-end use cases demonstrating implementation architectures for end users. “Super” means that we’re integrating multiple projects, umbrellas (such as LF Edge, Magma, CNCF, O-RAN Alliance, LF Energy) with an end-to-end framework for the underlying infrastructure and application layers across edge, access, and core. This end-to-end integration enables top industry use cases, such as fixed wireless, mobile broadband, private 5G, multi-access, IoT, voice services, network slicing, and more. In short, 5G Super Blueprints are a vehicle to collaborate and create end-to-end 5G solutions. At ONE Summit in the fall, we demonstrated an integration effort with Anuket, EMCO, and the ONAP project for network slicing. We encourage the industry to join us in 2022 as we look to fully integrate Magma, MEC, and O-RAN.
We’re also excited about the tangible networking industry shift into the enterprise, evidenced by the L3AF project, donated to the Linux Foundation by Walmart with the support of Microsoft, Tech Mahindra, Wipro, and others, that enables Kernel Function as a Service with lifecycle management of eBPF networking application programs.
LFN is dedicated to creating opportunities and new ways to innovate across the networking industry. Adversity has brought us closer together as we build the foundation to withstand the global challenges of today and tomorrow. We welcome your participation in our open communities as we lever- age the power of open source and collaborate for a better future.