Why Did AT&T Propose Two New OPNFV Projects?

AT&T proposed two new OPNFV projects yesterday: Armada and CORD. Here's my assessment of why they did so.

Armada is a new OPNFV installer. There are 4 installers already: Fuel (Mirantis), Apex (RedHat), JOID (Canonical) and Compass (Huawei). Plus there is another one in incubation -- Daisy (ZTE). So why would anybody want to propose yet another installer? Actually there is a really good reason. The future of OpenStack lifecycle management seems to be in the direction of containerizing all OpenStack services, and then orchestrating them through a COE (container orchestration engine) such as Kubernetes. Day 1 management i.e. initial install gets dramatically simpler and more flexible and Day 2 management i.e. post deployment changes such as configuration changes, functionality additions, capacity expansion, architecture changes, updates, upgrades, rollbacks become possible without huge amounts of manual effort. Moreover, over time updates and upgrades can be totally eliminated in favor of a CI/ CD pipeline. As an added bonus, one also gets access to modern monitoring tools such as Prometheus and fluentd. Armada uses Kubernetes, containerized OpenStack services and Helm (a package manager project for Kubernetes). Armada is also independent of any particular vendor. The other installers discussed above all have affiliations with vendors. Net-net Armada is the future, and none of the existing projects offer what it's shooting for. Daisy goes part of the way by using OpenStack Kolla, but falls short.

OpenCORD is another (other than OPNFV) open source NFV project. The core of OpenCORD uses OpenStack as the VIM, ONOS as the SDN Controller, XOS as the VNFM and OCP servers and bare metal switches. Since OpenCORD is prescriptive, it could be considered an OPNFV scenario and tested as such. OpenCORD focuses on development, and again there's good synergy with OPNFV where a lot of effort is spent on integration and testing. However, to date OpenCORD was operating separately and independently from OPNFV. That's the gap the OPNFV CORD project fills -- it introduces OpenCORD as an OPNFV scenario. OpenCORD actually has three profiles: Enterprise, Residential, Mobile all of which use the same core technology (called a POD not to be confused with a Pharos POD) but add different VNFs and access connectivity. Over time, these different flavors can be tested as part of the OPNFV CORD project as well. In summary, this project makes great sense since it increases collaboration between open source projects and reduces duplication of effort.

The timeline for both projects is the Euphrates release i.e. this fall. Exciting times!

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