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Recollections by Don Clarke

I've put up some pictures from the OPNFV inception meeting hosted at CableLabs in June 2014 - some of the folks present as well as flip chart scribblings. A bit blurry, sorry.

Origins of OPNFV

I'd like to acknowledge that the idea for OPNFV originated with Ash Young. I wrote it up in a memoir, here is the extract, and I'll attach Ash's original "Yunify" PPT slides.

It was during the autumn of 2013 that I was approached by Ash Young then at Huawei, with an interesting proposal to create a new open source community to progress NFV. He said there were upwards of 200 developers he could persuade to get involved and he sent me a proposal which he called “Yunify” (a Mandarin expression that I don’t recall the meaning of). I arranged a call with Uwe Michel, Margaret Chiosi, Prodip Sen and myself for Ash to explain the concept. It was a late-night call in the UK and I remember it well because it was the moment when we realized that we could both encourage open source and validate that open source could support telco-grade NFV solutions by creating a new open source integration project. This project became OPNFV.

Yunify proposal from Ash Young is in the attachment folder.

The Leak Panic

I hosted the inception meeting for OPNFV at CableLabs’ Sunnyvale offices in June 2014, just a few weeks after I joined CableLabs. It was chaired by the Linux Foundation and attended by operators and vendors who had indicated they would become Platinum founders.

The morning of the OPNFV inception meeting, I got a call from my boss (Chris Donley) to say that the CEO (Phil McKinney) had received an alert that the word "leak" had been associated with CableLabs in a Light Reading post, and that I needed to explain it ASAP.

Thinking I was about to be fired and I'd only been there a few weeks, I scrambled to identify the source. Thankfully, Light Reading had got hold of a draft of the OPNFV team briefing document that I'd been managing and which had been widely circulated outside of CableLabs for comment. It had somehow found its way into the hands of a Light Reading journalist, who had held it back so that he could create a headline around it on the day of the meeting. When this was explained to the CEO, and that it wasn't a confidential document, that it hadn't been leaked by anyone at CableLabs, and it was harmless and had the side effect of the media being accurate in their description of the initiative, I was off the hook. Here is a link to the offending article:

CableLabs Announcement

CableLabs blog post announcing CableLabs founding member: 


Recollections from Heather

I joined OPNFV coming off of a stint at Mongo DB and a previous (via multiple acquisitions) 12 year total term at Alcatel-Lucent. Telecom (for better or worse) had settled itself deep into my soul and my bones. As someone who'd spent a large chunk of her career in standards, I'd realized that global, multi-company collaboration was at the heart of what we did, and I'd always wanted to see it push further. That's what open source always meant to me – the taking of standards and pushing it into implementation, implementation that could be used by everyone on this planet. To be completely blunt, I had no fucking clue what I was doing when I became the ED of OPNFV. All I knew was that the work we were trying to do was important and that we could only do it if we felt that we were one integrated community that spanned the globe, our employers, and our culture. It spurred me to learn more about every single country that we travelled to, every single country that contributed people into our crazy mix. I remember walking through snow in Prague, re-igniting my lower back injury walking through the Fira in Bareclona at MWC, receiving a live mobile Doctor-based call from Ildiko Vancsa during OpenStack Summit. Ryota and Ashiq were such a part of making that happen.  Neela, remember when everyone thought that you and I should be in competition and we were like yeah, no? Don, you are the most thoughtful and intelligent gentleman ever. I remember Dirk Kirshner insisting on seeing me home through the dark streets of Taiwan; I remember talking to Uli in the hotel bar in Geneva and thinking about the future. I remember looking at Prodip and Margaret with awe and asking them what the precise moment they realized that this thing was going to change the world. I expect Tetsuya in his new role at AWS will help us keep pushing forward. I remember Sandra holding me to account and also inspiring me when it came to our Summits. I remember the night that Ash ordered a shockingly large number of shots during our plugfest in New Hampshire – Lincoln, I thought you would have been the adult that night. Why did you allow some of our community to pass out in your hometown bar? ;-p I will never forget Brandon and Jill and Ray and David and Jim keeping me grounded and focused. I will always treasure being part of the "Chris Price and Heather show." I will recall Fatih and Sofia teaching the fundamental importance of CI/CD and Docs. Morgan and Jose....when you sang the Hallelujah song the first time it brought me to tears, and it still does. Tim Irnich...dude...I have had so many conversations about how to look at strategy and execution married to each other......I'll always have a whiskey poured out for you. Georg: Dovetail might have often been a shitshow, but compliance and verification is what our Board thinks is most important. Randy, I hope that cable will finally learn from all the work you've done. Chris Donley: yeah, you were right, compliance and verification is what is most important to our membership. Eric Dubeau saying "It's just JSON.....seriously operators, get yourselves together and contribute." were always the quiet kind voice that helped us get through tough times. Ash....dude, you know what you did to help my continued presence here when some there was a move to harm me professionally and personally, and I will always be grateful – look after my  hometown. Other things I can't forget: Fu Qiao is not only competent, but has some of the best fashion sense of our community. Having lunch in Beijing with Jonne, Tapio, Timo, and the Nokia team – I promise to always look at your  shoes when I'm talking to you. Roz, Caroline, Carol Wilson – the women journalists and analysts of telecom – your writing.......Carlos, Manuel, Jose, Cristina: your late night drinks with me and your young energy kept me going....and yeah your code is pretty awesome, too. Dave Lenrowe, I hope that hangover from Dusseldorf has passed – mine might still be here, but the conversations we had that night were so meaningful.   (smile) Dave Neary, "Upstream First" is still our motto going into Anuket. Tom Nadeau, we often wrangled, but it was because you cared. Al, you've steered this ship into its new beginning.....not easy but very important, and my respect for you is immense. Emma, you've kept doing Barometer work taking on from Mariam, and it's one of the most amazingly quietly important projects that we've had .Brady, the TEAL BOX  has not forgotten you, and someday it will find you. I will never forget the smells and sounds and tastes of all the places we've been. I don't want anyone I failed  to mention (a failure completely on my part) to feel that they're not close to my heart: I'm just honestly overwhelmed with emotion right now and need to close. The level of gratitude and love that I feel around me with this community, the responsibility I feel toward its future, the full on enjoyment and friendships that are a part of my existence thanks to every one who has been here.......I cannot thank you enough. You've given me hope and you have shown me the importance of what we do. I am proud to have played for OPNFV!

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  1. I have so many fond memories of this period, and what I believe really kicked off a whole new industry for collaborative efforts. I still remember that very first meeting, before we actually launched OPNFV. Folks thought Don and I didn't like each other, when the truth was really the opposite. We were just very passionate about the effort and that passion probably came out a bit strongly. I remember the teal box, too. I'd like to have a side by side between it and my orange box. What made OPNFV so much for me was the camaraderie. We were really trying accomplish something that hadn't been done before. Cheers!!! ~ Ash Young

    1. Ash - see my comment about Yunify... Funny how people can get the wrong end of the stick. You and I had/have a great relationship. When I'm convinced of a direction, I admit that I will often go over the top to push it.  If I change my mind with new information, I am known to pivot to another direction equally strongly. I haven't worked out whether this is a character flaw or an asset. My wife definitely has an opinion, no points for guessing what that is.

  2. I have some pictures from some events, shall I create a new page for it with different folders so that  everyone can add pictures?

  3. Let's get started, shall we? (wink)

    Ps. Permission was granted by certain individual to share the photo...

    1. I have so much to say here but whatever happened in Durham stays in Durham 

      1. A dog, a burger, the fishbowl!

        The best of all was the egg with fingerprints!

  4. How about this one? Always has been a very multi-talented team...VID_20170509_114626.mp4

    1. Featuring commentary by Jack Morgan.

  5. I remember meeting Mark Beierl for the first time when we did booth duty in neighbouring booths at the summit in Berlin. That was my first time at an OPNFV event, and meeting the community, and everyone was so welcoming and friendly and helped me feel less lost and confused amid all the new information and the crowds. This is the general feeling I continued to feel at OPNFV events over the following years. The community made me feel so welcome!

    1. I loved that box!!! It inspired me to think smaller. This one that I call Bento runs an 8-node cluster and full EPC. It's now being paired with radios to allow farmers to become their own service providers in rural parts of the country where they simply cannot get service. 

      1. I'm not sure if you remember coming to OPNFV booth during OpenStack Summit Tokyo while I was manning it and you asked me to do an OPNFV demo. But the switch in tealbox was broken and Stefan Berg was trying to fix it from Sweden remotely.

        We ended up running slideshow on that 10 node cluster during entire summit.

        I stopped doing booth duty after that experience...

        1. That's too funny, Fatih!!! 

  6. While the cool guy is speaking to the audience, the poor engineer is struggling with the Teal Box on a big screen but only 5º angle of vision...  

    1. It was in Casey Cain's basement last time I checked.

      1. Still is!  (smile)
        I'll bring it up to the office for the meetup.  

  7. Nothing but highly trained, professional and telco-grade booth staff.

    1. Perfect definition of hard work (big grin) 

  8. The very Functest meetup, defining the direction of the project at the very beginning. OPNFV mini-summit at ODL Summit in July 2015 (San Francisco), Arno-Brahmaputra times... 

  9. I started working at the LF and on OPNFV in March 2016, just days before ONS.  Heather Kirksey wanted me to attend ONS to meet community members and start learning about the project.  I attended an OPNFV session with about 75 people that was led by Christopher Price.  Chris introduced me, said that we needed to conduct a retrospective of Brahmaputra, said that as the release manager, I should lead it, and handed me the microphone.!?!?!

    1. typical from Chris... xD

  10. Some pictures from Beijing' Summit in June 2017.

  11. I recall leaders from several operators cornering me at an ETSI NFV ISG meeting and asking (telling?) me "You guys are joining (OPNFV), right?" at the announcement of its creation. How could I refuse? (smile) I was at different company back then. I enjoyed the comradery, the enthusiasm, the great people and the entrepreneurial spirit of delving into collaborative  open source development. It was super exciting and rewarding to a part of those embryonic days. I will never forget buying a used server rack on Craigslist ($100) and creating printed labels for partner servers we installed to run a "barely-hanging-together" demo of the Arno release at an NFV show at the Red Lion hotel in San Jose (Maybe it was the Doubletree by then). 

  12. So many memories especially in the evenings where we all had a chance to bond and share some good laughs.

    The first couple of photos are from the first OPNFV Summit in Burlingame featuring the megaphone that was awarded to Dave Neary for being an "Open Source Cheerleader & Coach". Not long after these photos, the megaphone was confiscated as apparently, we were disturbing the other customers (tongue)

    How can I not follow-up on Fatih Degirmenciand Sofia Wallinmention of the Durham fishbowl?

    1. Not true! We put it away before we got thrown out! I still have the bullhorn!

      1. It was definitely confiscated, but they gave it back to you when you were done for the night and left the bar (smile) 

  13. I remember a few key meetings and some interesting adventures.

    My outing with Christopher Price to a San Jose speakeasy with Ricardo Noriega and someone else from Ericsson (who I've forgotten!) was a memorable one (at least most of it was memorable!)...

    I remember being slightly amused at OPNFV speakers struggling to pronounce Brahmaputra after the name was chosen (smile) And also by Christopher Price's pronunciation of Danube to sound like "da noob".

    Did we ever give Frank Brockners  an award as best dressed community member?

    I have fond memories of the first meeting with all of the TSC folks during the initial kick-off meeting in Santa Rosa when we argued over the boxes. Remember the red box, the blue box, and the green box? That was the meeting where we sketched out the software stack and initial focus for the project.

    I remember being very emotional the first time I saw the OPNFV salmon on the back of a hoodie! That was after my "Upstream first" presentation at an OPNFV side-event (In Santa Rosa at a Collaboration Summit). Very proud to have seen OPNFV embrace that as a mantra!

    I just came across this presentation I thought had been lost! "The NFV Revolution must be Open" - combining my love of history and open source:

    Heather Kirksey introduced me both to the 1980 USA hockey team and  the movie Miracle in Berlin - "the name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the name on the back". Another goosebumps moment! "I play for OPNFV!"

    The football game in Berlin was awesome!

    1. Ah, yes the pick-up game in Tiergarten. I remember being barely awake (around 7 am?) and our team was getting pummeled but once in a while I'd get a glimpse of the Siegessäule ( and thinking that was one of the most memorable settings for a game!

  14. Heather Kirksey 's vision of Play4NFV realized in song...

  15. Here's the OPNFV Montage Video. About 3 minutes long. We will always have OPNFV! OPNFV_Retrospective_720p.mp4

  16. Keep your memories of OPNFV alive with this OPNFV Bundle available in the OPNFV Store!

    Free of charge, just pay the shipping!Use Code: OPNFV20Bundle

  17. Thanks to everyone who made the call today. Really impressive! 

  18. The first event I joined OPNFV was the OPNFV Plugfest 2016 at IOL UNH. Really glad to meet so many talented engineers there.