ONS, ONF, NFV – Oh My!

It’s been a couple of busy days in the Bay Area. First I attended the annual hypefest known as the Open Networking Summit, or ONS. That was followed by a hectic two days of Open Network Foundation members’ working days. And as if that wasn’t enough, we rounded it out with two days of ETSI NFV (Network Function Virtualization) working days. 

Open Network Summit 2013 was a very exciting event for Tail-f. The amount of attention to, and interest in, our multi-vendor SDN solution definitely exceeded our expectations. We demonstrated our OpenFlow-based service chaining solution in our booth and at times actually had a line leading up to the demo station. The fact that we had a timely announcement with Deutsche Telekom, and our CTO shared a keynote with Deutsche Telekom regarding the deployment of our SDN solution, probably helped drive traffic to our booth.

Tail-f - ConfD

Tail-f - ConfD

During ONF working days my attention turned from demo mode to the more technical contribution work we’re doing there. I spent most of my time at the event discussing the OF-CONFIG specification and the plans for moving it forward. We see a lot of interest in using our ConfD product to manage Open vSwitch-based solutions using NETCONF and YANG; so we’re contributing to making sure there is harmonization between existing implementations and the standards specification.

After a weekend of much-needed rest, I joined a group of 200+ representatives from service providers and equipment vendors to talk about the virtualized future of network functions as defined by the ETSI ISG Network Function Virtualization (NFV) initiative. This initiative is driving a major shift in how service providers design networks and how they eventually will source software solutions to implement them. We have approached the work being done in NFV from a manageability and operations angle. And there is still much to explore around what, if anything, virtualization of traditional network functions will bring for operations teams and support systems on top of what is already available from traditional OSS and BSS vendors. As usual, the main qualifier for the discussions will be how fast we can build experience from deploying network functions running in hypervisors instead on appliance hardware.

In summary, it is still not very clear exactly where all these ambitious efforts are taking us. But we’re definitely heading into some interesting times for the networking industry, where the focus is rapidly shifting towards a much more software-centric world. We look forward to sharing more details around how our products are being used in various ways to address these new challenges.


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