OpenStack recently held its third annual OpenStack Summit providing developers and users of the software a truly unique opportunity to meet and exchange ideas on a grand scale. IT leaders, telco operators, cloud administrators, app developers, and OpenStack contributors gathered in Austin, Texas, April 25th to 29th, to learn what people and businesses are doing with the technology. Hands-on workshops were also held in the OpenStack Marketplace, where companies, like CENX partners Cloudify, CPLANE Networks, and Ericsson, had the opportunity to market their cloud strategy and showcase how they are utilizing OpenStack.
As a company who has established interoperability with OpenStack, we sent two senior developers to the summit to gain insight into the hot topics currently making headlines within the community. Based on the sights and sounds of the five-day event, here are the three big takeaways that caught our attention at this year’s OpenStack Summit.
What does OPNFV mean for NFV technology?
Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) are revolutionizing network operations, as these systems provide the necessary programmable and elastic infrastructure that service providers need to meet customers’ growing demands. At this year’s summit, we noticed OPNFV—a carrier-grade, integrated, open source platform which accelerates the introduction of new NFV products and services—being discussed often. The goal of OPNFV is to establish an ecosystem for NFV solutions based on open standards and software to meet the needs of customers.
This development, which aims to help NFV seamlessly integrate into existing network operations, presents significant opportunities for us as a vendor of orchestrated service assurance solutions. Exanova Service Intelligence’s ability to provide end-to-end, cost-effective NFV service assurance across multiple vendors, NFVOs, VIMs (such as OpenStack), VNFMs, and VNFs in the core, provider edge, and customer edge is a necessity for service providers as NFV technology becomes more established.
OpenStack is more stable, now what?
According to OpenStack’s User Survey, over half of respondents are “interested in utilizing containers in addition to OpenStack clouds for production uses”, so it’s no surprise that exploring the opportunities of containerization was a trending topic. Now that OpenStack has achieved a more stable state, it has paired with Docker to offer more complete cloud services and to better enable microservices. Containerization in OpenStack offers two significant benefits to CENX customers:
- Application containers require less storage and computing requirements than virtual machines, allowing for more dynamic services.
- Containers can run on any hardware running the relevant operating system, making them portable.
Therefore, service providers deploying OpenStack are able to run hundreds of application containers on a single server, allowing them to reduce cost and make better use of resources. However, with servers able to run significantly more applications, network operations become more complex. CENX provides service provider operations personnel the ability to visualize and monitor service performance in real-time, assuring service quality and agility.
What’s the future of OpenStack?
One of the defining features of OpenStack is that its software brings the industry together. The technology is built by a thriving community and, therefore, relies on the collaboration of users. From our time spent at the show, the general feeling is that, in order for OpenStack to establish something carrier-grade, service providers have to continue to work and develop within the community. Due to the increasing rate of demand, it wouldn't be possible for a service provider to keep pace with the development required to meet the needs of end-users on its own.
Currently, a prominent Tier 1 service provider is a major contributor to OpenStack, helping the project to roll out new functionality quickly and improving their time-to-market. While OpenStack technology remains a work in progress, from what we have seen during our time at the summit, there are a growing number of companies contributing to the development of the technology to help move the telecom industry into the future.