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Altera Joins Open Source Platform to Bring the Value of FPGAs to Network Function Virtualization

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Altera has announced the company has joined the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), a carrier-grade, integrated, open source flexible platform intended to accelerate the introduction of new products and services using network function virtualization (NFV). As an open source project, OPNFV is positioned to bring together the work of standards bodies, open source communities and commercial suppliers to deliver a de facto standard open source NFV platform for the industry.

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. It brings together service providers, vendors and users to collaborate in an open forum on advancing the state-of-the-art in NFV.

NFV uses IT virtualization technologies to virtualize 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 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 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 for 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.”

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 centers run cooler. FPGA- and SoC-based solutions are already accelerating servers in the data center in search and convolutional neural networks applications.

Initial interest in working with the OPNFV 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 in exploiting the NFV benefits.

OPNFV is a Collaborative Project at The Linux Foundation. Linux Foundation Collaborative Projects are independently funded software projects that harness the power of collaborative development to fuel innovation across industries and ecosystems.