OPNFV Euphrates release addresses open-source NFV testing, interoperability

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OPNFV has released OPNFV Euphrates, the project’s fifth platform release, focused on enabling service providers to accelerate network functions virtualization (NFV) transformation via open-source NFV. 

A key element of the new release is that OPNFV Euphrates delivers Kubernetes integration as well as enhanced cross-community continuous integration (XCI) and new carrier-grade features such as increased virtualized networks visibility.

These elements are enabled via Euphrates’ platform of pretested, tuned, interoperable open-source NFV components. OPNFV says these components facilitate multiple use cases such as VNF onboarding, network service testing, data plane acceleration, NFVI/VIM validation, MANO qualification, test automation and creation of DevOps methodologies and operational best practices.

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Heather Kirksey, director of OPNFV, told FierceTelecom in an interview that the integration with Kubernetes is key to the new features to give carriers more tools to create new services and applications.

OPNFV
Heather Kirksey

“What we have done this time from an architectural point of view is we have much greater support for cloud native architectures, support for containers, the ability to deploy containerized Open Stack, and the ability to integrate Open Stack with Kubernetes Euphrates,” Kirksey said. “We have been talking about containers and cloud native for a while and in this release, we got the foundation of native support in there.”

Focus on containers, integration

With the release of Euphrates, the organization is heralding the advent of OPNFV containers. While still early, the containerization of virtual network functions (VNF) is starting to emerge.

Euphrates allows for the integration of container and Kubernetes with various components of the stack along with the ability to deploy containerized OpenStack via Kolla, which provides production-ready containers and deployment tools for operating OpenStack clouds using community best practices.

OPNFV said that these enhancements enable easier management of the infrastructure, support of cloud native network applications in NFV and lighter weight control plane capabilities as service providers prepare for edge architectures to support 5G and IOT.

Kirksey said that Euphrates can reduce development cycles for new releases, which is enabled by its Cost Community initiative.
 
“Our cost community initiative, which aligns with the DevOps model of iterating quickly and getting feedback to developers very quickly,” Kirksey said. “In the past when we integrated projects, we had to wait for a stable release and if we find issues from the integration testing, it would take another cycle to get bugs fixed or get feedback on how the feature worked.”

On the integration side, Euphrates allows access to the latest upstream code.

Leveraging the integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline integration work in Danube, Euphrates introduced the implementation of the XCI integrated CI/CD pipeline amongst OPNFV, OpenStack, OpenDaylight, and FD.io.

What this means is that service providers and other interested parties don’t have to wait for an official stable release because OPNFV CI pipeline integrates the latest upstream code from these upstream projects to more quickly resolve bugs and validate features.

As a result, Euphrates reduces the time it takes for feedback on a new feature or bug-fix from months to days, accelerating the pace of innovation. XCI also enables multi-distribution support and fosters closer developer relationships.

“We’re now able to integrate Open Stack, FD.io, and OpenDaylight daily and get code from them and give developer feedback in a matter of hours to days instead of the months or years it used to take,” Kirksey said. “That combination of support more of these cloud native technologies as well as the DevOps model that we have got working with each other will bring the modern software capabilities to the telecom networks.”

Carrier-grade focus, testing

As service providers like AT&T, CenturyLink, Verizon and now Windstream begin implementing SDN into their networks, OPNFV is providing more visibility into their growing virtual networks by providing integration with the Calipso project.

Project Calipso visualizes complex virtual networking with real time operational state visibility in a highly distributed virtual infrastructure such as OpenStack. The project provides visible insights using virtual topological representation and graphs, adds monitoring per object in the inventory to reduce error vectors and troubleshooting cycles for VIM operators and administrators.

By combining the telemetry enhancements in existing Barometer and Doctor projects, users will have access to an assurance framework. Euphrates also includes performance improvements on the Arm architecture, and in Layer 3 performance with FD.io.

Further, Euphrates brings new security and user management capabilities with Moon, continued improvement in Service Function Chaining (SFC), FD.io, and new EVPN features. Euphrates also integrates the OVN network virtualization project along with the most recent versions of other upstream projects to provide additional choice in networking control options.

“Calipso is centered on visualizing data networks with their health and capabilities,” Kirksey said. “Going along with that we’ve done work on being able to gather telemetry out of the underlying components you would need to feed into service assurance platforms or back end network operations capabilities.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, the new release will also focus on enhanced testing and integration of NFV cloud, VNFs and network services.

Two of the new projects that address testing include: Sample VNF and NFVBench. Sample VNF provides testing of the VIM/NFVI layer with applications approximating real-life application workloads, while NFVBench provides an end-to-end dataplane benchmarking framework.

Additionally, existing test projects have continued to evolve with new features, capabilities, and test cases.

“As these things go into production, you want to be able to be able to do this performance testing to make sure it’s not just functionally correct, but it is going to be able to scale and give the type of performance the network operators are looking for,” Kirksey said.