CloudNFV Transitions from “Project to Product”

In October of 2012, an insightful group of network operators published the “Call for Action” that launched Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).  I responded to that call with some suggestions, among which was a recommendation that a prototype be developed as soon as possible.  Operators encouraged me to do that, and a project group came together ad hoc in a parking lot in California at the April meeting of the ETSI NFV ISG.  From that, CloudNFV was born, an initiative whose simple mission was to prove that NFV could really be implemented.

That objective has been fulfilled; a group of companies transformed my architectural vision into something real.  On January 13 we demonstrated a functional, running, NFV implementation with features that go even beyond the scope of the ETSI activity.  The open design and tutorial material was posted on the CloudNFV website and on my own YouTube and SlideShare channels.  Insights on implementation have been fed back to the NFV ISG and to the TMF, whose GB922 and GB942 models formed the basis for my high-level architecture.  This works.  I’m proud of my role as the Chief Architect for CloudNFV and proud of the work that the other parking-lot founders (6WIND, Dell, EnterpriseWeb, Overture, and Qosmos) and the new integration partners (Metaswitch, Mellanox, and Shenick) have done.

Time marches on, and CloudNFV is now entering a new phase.  We’ve been encouraged by both the CloudNFV members and the network operators to productize CloudNFV.  This has generated a whole new level of activity, and a new objective for CloudNFV.  I’m sure everyone realizes how much of my time has gone into the “project” phase of CloudNFV, and I can’t sustain that much less expand it as CloudNFV productizes.  Such a role is inconsistent with my position as an independent consultant and industry analyst, and it’s a role I never considered playing.

I’ve accomplished what I set out to do here, proved that NFV can be implemented in a way that’s integrated with the cloud, with SDN, and with current infrastructure and operations.  It’s time for others to provide that next level of commitment and leadership.  So, I am stepping down from my role as Chief Architect for CloudNFV effective today and CIMI Corporation will no longer be directly involved in CloudNFV and its activities.  I may still, from time to time and subject to my normal business terms, undertake consulting work on NFV and CloudNFV with individual members of the team.

The remainder of the group have selected Wenjing Chu of Dell to lead the project forward.   Wenjing has been the sparkplug for all of the hosting, testing, and integration work in CloudNFV so far, with the skills and commitment needed to take it to the next level.  Wenjing will be assisted by Dave Duggal of EnterpriseWeb and Ramesh Nagarajan of Overture Network, the members who have provided the central Active Virtualization implementation and the OpenStack Service Model Handler, respectively.

This is a strong transition.  Remember, the team that actually implemented my design and made this happen is the team that remains; I never wrote a line of code here or struggled with hardware connections and software versions.  This team can carry on, and develop CloudNFV to become what they believe it can be, must be.  I wish them the very best in this effort and I ask you all to continue to follow and support this initiative.

Leave a Reply