It seems like it was only a blink of an eye, since the LFN board announced the upcoming merger of the CNTT Infrastructure workstream, with the OPNFV project. Ok, it was actually this past September, but in this new world of virtual everything, it could have been three thousand years ago. The official merger of the two projects will be in January, but there is much to do to get ready. So let us take a quick peek on what has been happening these past few months.
- Organization/Governance – A new organizational structure has been agreed upon, and in December, the member organizations elected an interim TSC that will serve as the governing organization for the next 9 months. It was decided that taking the interim path would reconcile the nominations and election cadence of the merging groups. The TSC has since elected co-chairs and is finalizing the other representative positions that are needed per the new organizational charter.
- Technical/Debt/TSC – This team is hard at work on determining how the workstreams will merge and interact at the technical level. So far this is no intention to changing tooling for now, but we will need to make some tooling and platform choices in the coming months.
- Marketing – The marketing team has been furiously working on creating the framework that will support the project and ensure that its mission and goals are heard by the larger Open Source and Telecom ecosystem.
We have a Name! At the October 2020 workshop after the marketing team and legal had whittled the choices down to four, the LFN community voted on the new name – Anuket. More to come on the interesting history and themes that the name evokes. All I will say now, is that the name truly reflects the values and objectives of the new community arising out of the CNTT and OPNFV meld.
We have a Mission Statement! "Empower the global communications community by creating and developing reference cloud infrastructure models, architectures, conformance programs and tools to deliver network services faster, more reliably, and securely." OK you are thinking, so what does that have to do with anything and how does that relate to the goals and mission of Anuket? To give more context, a group of business and marketing minded folks from the OPNFV and CNTT projects got together to really delve into what the essence of the asperations of the new community. By creating a mission statement, we set a tone and guide to keep the project focused on what really matters for its success.
With that said, the LFN Anuket project’s mission is to enable members from the Telecom communities, operators and supporting companies alike, to mutually develop reference models, standardized reference infrastructure specifications and conformance frameworks for virtualized and containerized network functions and workloads, enabling faster and more robust onboarding into production, with the goal of reducing costs and accelerating telecom digital transformation. These artifacts include integrated, tested, and validated open software reference infrastructure (including interfaces to hardware) that will be used to design a conformance framework and validation programs. Ongoing strategic activities include collaboration with other standards bodies and evaluation of emerging technologies for the Telecom industry.
And finally, but certainly not least, we have a Logo! I know that as a bunch of engineers, marketing and branding is seen as just fluff, but seriously, determining the message is far more important to the ultimate success of the project than you might think. In that spirit, much thought has gone into our brand story. Over the past month or so, the marketing team, working with the very talented Brandon Wick, Heather Kirksey and Jim Baker from LFN, has developed a comprehensive and unified messaging that will form the foundation for all our project communications with the larger LFN community and our supporting organizations as we launch. Learn more about what went into our name and logo choices at our upcoming launch event.
The Anuket Launch Event will be held virtually on January 27th, 8:00 - 11:00 AM PT. Hear from community leaders and participating network operators about what Anuket is, the value of participation, and how to get involved. Register here!
This morning Arpit announced our work from the ONES keynote stage. We also put a blog live on both the LF Networking website and on the Linux Foundation blog. Here's a link: https://www.lfnetworking.org/blog/2020/09/28/opnfv-cntt-join-when-the-river-and-the-mountain-meet/
Now the eyes are upon us.
The LFN Board has spoken and the CNTT/OPNFV Meld work has started in earnest. Targeted for completion in January 2021 (seems like in just a blink of an eye), the initial kickoff meeting of the Oversight Committee (OC) and several other committees supporting this effort are off to a great start. I, for one, am super excited about the upcoming set of Meld Workshops as we work on the organizational transformation needed to create a new and better entity that will engage in the work that both the soon to be former CNTT and OPNFV groups did. With that introduction I want to step back for a minute to talk about why we have gotten to this point and more importantly, why it is so important to the future of the Telecom Industry in general that these efforts in better defining Telecom SDN infrastructure need to continue, and even, dare I say, expand.
First a bit of history...
OPNFV, which as been a part of LFN as a formal project for a few years now, started as a separate project and community that facilitates a common NFVI, continuous integration (CI) with upstream projects, stand-alone testing toolsets, and a compliance and verification program for industry-wide testing and integration to accelerate the transformation of enterprise and service provider networks. It merged in under the LFN umbrella as the "testing" arm of the organization. To date, OPNFV has contributed significant bodies of test frameworks to support a common NFVI. However, it never really had any "standard" reference models to develop to.
The Cloud iNfrastructure Telco Taskforce (CNTT), a more recent addition to the efforts, was incubated starting in early 2019 through a partnership between GSMA and the Linux Foundation as a global open source taskforce comprised of industry-leading CSPs and NFVI/VNF suppliers. Its mission was to identify and quantify standardized infrastructures for both virtual machine-based and cloud native network functions, making it possible to deploy multiple network functions without having to create new infrastructures for each. To date, CNTT has created a reference model for Telecom cloud infrastructures to support SDN workloads, and two reference models (OpenStack based and Container based). The intent was to flow these definition and requirements documents to a group that had the resources and expertise to turn these architectures into implementations, which could then be tested and recognized in the community in some way as a "standard".
So where will we be going from here...
As became obvious over the past 9 months or so, shortly after we all met at the LFN Workshop in Prague (ah for the days we will be able to travel again), both CNTT and OPNFV are really two sides of the same coin. Both groups needed each other's expertise and resources, but we didn't know it. That is, while the outputs and perspectives are different, the goals are very much in alignment. The next steps are to take these two groups and meld them into a new and more powerful whole. Ultimately, we are looking for the same thing, a way to bring a standard understanding and capability across the Telecom Industry of the infrastructures that are needed to support our future. Everyone benefits, vendors don't have to build one-off architectures for every single telecom customer, and the telecoms, who don't have to devote resources to building potentially unsupportable infrastructures. I encourage any and all from the Telecom community to join in the efforts.
After a long summer of dealing with many meetings and discussions regarding the Future Mode of operations, COVID-19, the loss of some of our team, and a couple of natural/man made disasters, we have gotten the blessing of the LFN GB to move forward with the Merger/Re-Imagine option. Today (21 Aug) we held the last FMO meeting/first Meld meeting where we discussed the outcome of the board meeting, discussed the Oversight Committee, the sub teams, the Team-trust building forums, and meeting schedules/team participation.
I would encourage you to review the Meeting minutes page and the recording of the session
A couple of Key points form the meeting today:
The Oversight Committee (OC) will serve as the group that will support, assist, and provide guidance to the sub teams. When the sub teams experience issues with getting resources, access to information, or are struggling with decision making, the OC will work to help solve the issues.
The three sub teams are as follows:
We briefly reviewed the team/trust building exercises that will be run to help move the teams into the best possible productivity. The sessions will be optional, yes strongly recommended.
There are several tasks identified to be worked until the next meeting. Our next OC meeting will be scheduled shortly so that we can track the progress and move our project forward.
A number of concerns were expressed, and the OC will look at those concerns to determine corrective actions as needed.
As was mentioned on the call, we do have much work to do. This project has a significant impact on both CNTT and OPNFV, and much is at stake. While there are many areas of this project that will likely have differences of opinion and be contentious, out best hope for success is to approach every conversation with an open mind, and a spirit of collaboration. I look forward to seeing this project through to a successful conclusion.