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Linux Foundation Executive Details 5 Virtual Networking Predictions for 2016

January 18, 2016

Open source projects have always been in demand, but they have become even more so since our top technologies have allowed for more integration, as opposed to previous “as is” programming. That said, we are seeing one of the biggest growths for open source software development in the area of Networking. Here, network functions virtualization (NFV) is allowing networking to be transformed and is being impacted by open source projects at record speed.

As Heather Kirskey, Director of NFV for OPNFV, the Linux Foundation, in a recent blog provides five virtual networking trends to keep an eye on in 2016 as the pace of virtualization innovation really is accelerating.  In fact, Kirskey cites a recent report by the researchers at IHS Infonetics who are forecasting a fivefold increase in the NFV/SDN market by 2019 with more than $11B in revenue.

Plus, it is noted that when it comes to NFV, activities are moving beyond telecommunications. The Linux Foundation is deeply involved in accelerating NFV having created a collaborative project over a year ago to fan the innovation flames. They launched a “carrier-grated, integrated, open source platform” aimed at accelerating the innovation of new products and services from over 56 separate companies who have come together in the Open Platform for Network Functions Visualization (OPNFV) project. It plans a second, more evolved launch later this year with increased functionality, testing and interoperability.

Kirskey provided five predictions regarding this substantial infrastructure technology shift.

Her first prediction is that “containers become a key technology component in any NFV platform.” She sees it changing how we uses guest operations in virtual machines, because we will now be using applications instead of actual containers. This will provide easier to use – yet customizable – solutions to previous container features. This usually means that more will get done in a shorter amount of time. And, who doesn’t love productivity?

Next on the list is that “NFV” and “SDN” will be the top skill sets amongst telecom job seekers.” She feels that this shift in virtualization will not only impact how we use technology but also how we hire for technology. As explained, productivity is a key driver going forward.  Many organizations will most likely work to either integrate better virtual functions through networking, or they will simply switch over completely. This will mean expertise on how to optimize new capabilities will be at a premium.  

Third, Kirskey is looking at the first round of limited production deployments in OPNFVs beta stage tol go live. This is exciting on its own, because it is estimated that over 38 new products are getting ready for release. And, with implementation will come the use cases where ROIs become validated.

Fourth on the list is that with the new releases we are going to see the first non-telecommunications end users. And, OPNFV as a result will begin to see diversity in membership.

Finally, Kirskey predicts that an even higher caliber of NFV-related service outages will occur. This will be the “signaling of a turning point in adoption.” New issues will manifest, as several new audiences begin to access and manipulate the programming. These are what Kirskey characterizes as unfortunate but predictable “growing pains” which according to her are a “silver lining,” the logic being that any large scale outage signals that the technology is maturing.

The good news is that despite the last point about bumps on the road, realities are that the silver lining assessment is not off base.  NFV is maturing quickly, the results are going to become readily apparent in the not too distant future and open source solutions are going to be the fuel that keeps the engines of innovation and deployment running optimally.   




Edited by Peter Bernstein

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