LF Networking expands compliance program to include VNFs

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Open Networking Summit North America — The Linux Foundation is seeking to spur the development of commercially available VNFs through a new compliance and testing program.

The goal of the first iteration of the VNF compliance program, which is called OVP, is to address industry challenges and ensure commercial NFV and VNF products are ready for the market in a timely manner.

Prior to the formation of LF Networking early last year, the OPNFV handled testing, interoperability and compliance, but the VNF testing program, which includes working with VNFs through LFN's ONAP initiative, is now called OPNFV Verification Program (OVP.)

The expanded program now covers interoperability with ONAP-based on-boarding requirements based on both Heat and TOSCA validation packages. ​OVP combines automated compliance and verification testing for multiple parts of the NFV stack and provides testing of commercial products built on top of requirements established by ONAP, OPNFV, standards development organizations (SDOs), such as ETSI and GSMA, and the LF Networking End User Advisory Group (EUAG).

Heather Kirksey, vice president, community and ecosystem development, the Linux Foundation, said that today's OVP news marked the first step towards defining interoperability of other testing and compliance elements in network virtualized functions infrastructure NFVi. That roadmap will be further defined this week by LFN and the other entities.

"NFV is great idea, but as things have been developing and deployments are becoming real, the interoperability challenge has been growing as well," Kirksey said in an interview with FierceTelecom. "What are the expectations? What should the expectations on commercial products coming into your network be? From an operator perspective, they're having to build up all of those internal testing capabilities and test resources and that slows down their time to get to new services to market.

"It slows down the vendors' time to get deployed. Vendors are getting different requirements from every service provider. For them it's 'I've got all these requirements, which do I tackle first in my product development?' It's all sort of slowing down time to market on the NFV promise."

The goal of OVP is to marry the confornments and the validation testing that other industry organizations have, such as MEF, for the LFN projects and the industry at large.

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A panel today at ONS will discuss how to pare down the various NFVi implementations into a more manageable ecosystem, which will be the next step after today's VNF compliance testing news.

"I think that its two-fold," Kirksey said when asked what was on the roadmap. "One is continuing to deepen the amount of testing that we're doing on the VNF compliance. This was our first iteration based on activity that began a year ago. There is obviously more VNF compliance testing that we can do.

"The other is based on those NFVi definitions, getting alignment there so that we can start building out what I call the validation testing with that sort of more constrained number of NFVis. And then from that, beginning to build up a validation test, a program, and also evolving the NFVi program to be in alignment with those requirements."

The second phase of today's announcement is adding third-party verified labs into the mix. The labs will allow telcos or vendors to conduct their tests in-house on a level playing field as the rest of the industry.

The benefits of working with a verified lab include access to testing subject matter experts, additional test infrastructure, and enablement of ecosystem-wide scaling as the number of VNFs entering the market increases.​ ​Like the other OVP categories, the program is overseen by the LFN Compliance and Verification Committee and passing labs receive a badge.

The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) is the first lab to receive the OVP Verified Lab badge.