The Linux Foundation has tasked Arpit Joshipura with the duty of bringing cohesiveness to its open source initiatives.
When it comes to open source projects, the Linux Foundation provides a big umbrella for a range of projects, which is why it hired Joshipura.
In October, the foundation took a preliminary step towards fostering cohesiveness in open source by creating a new position -- General Manager for Networking and Orchestration -- and then hired Joshipura to fill it in December.
Joshipura's job includes decreasing fragmentation across the various open source projects that the Linux Foundation oversees, including OpenDaylight
, OPNFV, ONAP, FD.io, Open vSwitch, OpenSwitch, IO Visor, ON.Lab/ONF, CORD and ONOS.
Last month's ONAP announcement was a prime example of how the Linux Foundation could eliminate duplicative efforts and reduce fragmentation across the industry. The Open Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O) was merged with the Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management & Policy (ECOMP) platform to form ONAP. The end result is a more unified effort across the MANO sector. (See Linux Foundation Welds OPEN-O, ECOMP Into ONAP.)
In this Q&A, which took place one day ahead of the ONAP announcement, Joshipura speaks about the state of open source, the Linux Foundation's roadmap this year and the transition from hardware to software.
Telco Transformation: Where is open source today?
Arpit Joshipura: About five years ago was phase one, which was really trials. About two years ago, moving into this year, was phase two, which is production-ready components. Each of the components that got disaggregated were actually deployed in a carrier. Phase two is production-ready components. We are now entering phase three, which is production-ready solutions. This is what I call harmonization of ecosystems. This is where our components come into play.
TT: Did anticipation of that lead to the creation of your position and your hiring?
AJ: As the carriers and telcos move from trials and proof-of-concepts (PoCs) to deployment and to actual solutions, the Linux Foundation wanted someone who understood the business, but more importantly the technical aspects, which is predominately my background.
I understand the industry. What we have to do next is to make sure that we bring these projects and these communities together. When I say communities, it's not just carriers but carriers plus vendors plus startups plus VCs -- the entire ecosystem. Most of us in the networking industry are sort of geeks, and the only language we understand is technical.
TT: Lay out for me how open source and the Linux Foundation aim to network from hardware- to software-centric.
AJ: You start off with the lowest, Layer 1, the optical layer/data plane layer, or the optics and the switching layer. The requirement at a data plane layer as we move to commodity hardware from proprietary, custom built hardware. Like boxes, disaggregated hardware, servers that work as switches, etcetera, the requirement is to make sure that the data is running really fast. It gets accelerated because when it was built it was not meant to be a switch and now it is acting as one. The requirement is data plane acceleration. The projects that are solving that include things like FD.io and IO Visor.
Then on top of that, you have an operating system that runs the switch or the server. It's what we call the network OS. The operating system has a project called OpenSwitch that the Linux Foundation is hosting. It is software that is open source that basically you can download that makes these things come together. Then on top of that, you have control plane software. This is the SDN decoupling.
One of the largest and most successful open source projects is OpenDaylight. OpenDaylight is a controller that is used predominately by a lot of large carriers inside their production networks. They're built on that. It is one of the most successful open source controller projects out there. It's being going for three years. It's production ready. It's in its sixth release now, and effectively that's the layer on top.
TT: By putting ECOMP into open source earlier this year, AT&T made a significant move in regards to the Linux Foundation.
AJ: Above [the controller] is what we are calling the orchestration and management layer. This was the missing piece that we have now solved as the Linux Foundation when [Senior Vice President of AT&T Labs] Chris Rice handed over a project called ECOMP to the Linux Foundation. It is essentially focuses on the orchestration and management layer, which basically is the layer on top of the control plane. Then on top of all that are the services and analytics. It includes things like PNDA [Platform for Network Data Analytics], which does analytics for us, for example.
Then there's an open source project that tests and automates the integrations of all these components. It is called OPNFV. It's a carrier and a telco-led project that we have been hosting for quite some time. Its goal is to make sure that not just Linux Foundation components, but also open source components outside the Linux Foundation get tested appropriately.
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What should we look for from the Linux Foundation for the balance of 2017?
AJ: The industry can look for, number one, thought leadership on how to make these components production-ready as part of an overall solution. We will be providing thought leadership on how the whole framework and the entire stack come together. The telcos can also expect harmonization of open source and open standards. What that means is we will work on how entities work together to collaborate and have more consistent solutions across the industry. We want less fragmentation so that adoption is faster.
We plan to launch several of these architectural enhancements -- or, rather, disruptive architectural enhancements -- at ONS this year. ONS is the largest networking show that we host every year. We're going to bring the best 2,000 people in this ecosystem together to creatively look at the next generation of solutions especially revolving around enterprises, containers, microservices and other elements.
— Carl Weinschenk, Contributing Writer, Telco Transformation