Altera joins Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) to add FPGA expertise

July 06, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Altera has joined the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), a community-led, industry-supported, open-source reference platform for network function virtualisation (NFV).

“FPGAs can be used to ‘super-charge’ virtual machine applications while saving on power, making them an excellent fit for the NFV industry,” said Francis Chow, vice president and general manager of the Communications Business Unit at Altera. “At the same time, FPGAs can reduce capital and operational expenditures, speed service and improve product introduction times for NFV applications, providing a more efficient solution.”

NPV uses IT virtualisation technologies to virtualise entire classes of network node functions into building blocks that may be connected, or chained, to create communication services. Altera will join working groups inside the OPNFV to enable expand the use of FPGA accelerators in virtual machines running different software and processes on top of industry-standard, high-volume servers, storage and cloud computing infrastructure.

FPGAs act as accelerators by offloading compute workloads, using less power than general-purpose graphics processing units (GPGPUs) and central processor units (CPUs) —which helps data centres reduce energy usage. FPGA- and SoC-based solutions are already accelerating servers in the data centre in search and convolutional neural networks applications.

“OPNFV is about collaboration from a diverse group of players from across the industry to craft an open platform that we can all use to accelerate NFV” said Heather Kirksey, director, OPNFV.

Initial interest in working with the OPNFV (the projects adds) has come from the network service provider community, including OPNFV founding members AT&T, China Mobile, NTT DOCOMO, Telecom Italia and Vodafone, among others. In addition, other industries such as the financial services industry, large enterprises and cloud service providers are showing interest as their needs for NFV.

Open Platform for NFV is a carrier-grade, integrated, open source reference platform intended to accelerate the introduction of new products and services using NFV;