OPNFV verification program establishes testing, deployment methods to simplify NFV adoption

software code
OPNFV has developed a new foundation to help service providers and vendors validate their NFV wares. (Pixabay)

The​ OPNFV Project​ has introduced the OPNFV Verified Program (OVP)​ with an eye toward simplifying adoption of commercial NFV products. ​

​OVP establishes an industry threshold based on OPNFV capabilities and test cases. Users can get started at the new ​OPNFV Verified portal​. 

OPNFV members, including service providers, worked closely to establish a framework and reached consensus for an initial set of capabilities that help operators establish entry criteria for their POCs and RFPs. OVP facilitates both vendor self-testing and third-party lab testing.

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Heather Kirksey, VP of community and ecosystem development for The Linux Foundation, told FierceTelecom that part of the driver to create OVP was feedback from service providers that wanted to bring together the elements of open source and compliance.

Heather Kirksey

“Service providers like open source and the communal implementation around that but in terms of the way they engage with their vendors and get things qualified into their labs they want to marry the formalism of compliance programs they are used to and marry it with open source,” Kirksey said. “We have been working on what that would mean for a while.”

Initially, OVP is going to focus on the infrastructure layer. This includes the testing and verification of NFV infrastructure components and features, including NFVI, VIM, underlying cloud infrastructure, basic packet forwarding, IPv6, and VPN.

Over time the program will evolve as more capabilities and test cases are added, with continuing test suite releases and possibly expanding to include VNFs and other components. 

“Starting with functional validation and using a lot of the tests that we have built into and are building into our functional validation that we’re doing during our release processes and then applying those to commercial products,” Kirksey said. “There’s an initial bar of testing of commercial implementations that are able to hit some functional capability requirements.”

A holistic look

Several Tier 1 vendors—including Huawei, Nokia, Wind River, and ZTE—were early participants in OVP’s “beta program.” These companies provided feedback that helped to refine and finalize the program and represent the first companies to use the OPNFV Verified mark and logo.

OPNFV has encouraged service providers to participate in the program by sharing use cases and functional requirements as well as incorporating OVP into RFP processes and trials. Vendors are encouraged to download the Dovetail suite to assess commercial offerings. 

Chris Donley, senior director of open source ecosystems for Huawei and chair of the OPNFV C&C Committee, said that the OVP enables vendors to see how the various components work across a broad lab environment.  

Chris Donley

“The key value of OPNFV has been putting together different components and showing how it works holistically in the labs and the OVP is also looking holistically at how these components work together,” Donley said. “Now we’re bringing in commercial products and working in the OPNFV ecosystem to test out the value propositions from OPNFV.”

Driving commonality, maturity

There’s certainly a lot at stake for vendors that are developing SDN and NFV products. Service providers' ongoing movement to SDN and NFV, according to SNS Research, could grow at a CAGR of about 45% over the next three years. By the end of 2020, the research firm said in a new report that this growth will drive nearly $22 billion in SDN and NFV investments. Still, the challenge for vendors is being able to articulate their NFV strategy and product lines to their service provider customers.

“It’s challenging to answer the question of do you support NFV in a generic sense,” Donley said. “Vendors can say yes we support NFV and we have been working OPNFV and we tested our products with this test suite to ensure they work in the NFV ecosystem.”

Kirksey said that OVP is a way to get more of the service providers and vendors involved in the open source and testing process for NFV.

“We are expecting to update every six months with new members,” Kirksey said. “While this is initially focused on NFVI, VIM, the question is there other areas service providers want to look at and a call for vendors and service providers to help us evolve this program and expand the depth and breadth of testing over time.”