Open Source vs. Standardization
There’s a debate going on about how much we should let standards bodies specify NFV versus how much we should just rely on de facto standards. I think there’s a recognition that things move much faster if you allow de facto standards to emerge.
It’s not like there are lots of competing de facto standards anyway. We’re all agreed that we’re talking about a small number of pieces of fundamental software here like, for example, KVM, OpenStack or Linux, and clearly they’re not the only ones. There’s not a lot of obvious competition to these.
There are debates around the edges, however, regarding whether you should become overly dependent on x86 architecture versus whether you should abstract to where the differences are between x86 and other architectures, like ARM, in order to ensure some portability. That’s certainly an interesting debate, but I think it's one that’s best played out in the market, rather than through heavy-handed deliberations, which are inevitably infected by politics in the standards bodies.
Editor's note: Martin Taylor's most recent white paper is free to download below and discusses the importance of NFV.
Martin Taylor is chief technical officer of Metaswitch Networks. He joined the company in 2004, and headed up product management prior to becoming CTO. Previous roles have included founding CTO at CopperCom, a pioneer in Voice over DSL, where he led the ATM Forum standards initiative in Loop Emulation; VP of Network Architecture at Madge Networks, where he led the company’s successful strategy in Token Ring switching; and business general manager at GEC-Marconi, where he introduced key innovations in Passive Optical Networking. Martin has a degree in Engineering from the University of Cambridge. In January 2014, Martin was recognized by Light Reading as one of the top five industry “movers and shakers” in Network Functions Virtualization.