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The LFN community is comprised of a diverse set of member organizations that work collaboratively across software and projects to provide platforms and building blocks for Network Infrastructure and Services across Service Providers, Cloud Providers, Enterprises, Vendors, and System Integrators that enable rapid interoperability, deployment, and adoption. This blog series highlights LFN members and the role they play in contributing to open source networking that will benefit the entire ecosystem.


Name: George Cray
Title: SVP – Products
Organization: iconectiv

Can you tell us a little about your organization?
It is important that businesses and their customers access and exchange information simply, seamlessly and securely. iconectiv’s extensive experience in information services and its unmatched numbering intelligence helps them do just that. In fact, more than 2 billion people count on our platforms each day to keep their networks, devices and applications connected. Our cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions span network and operations management, numbering, trusted communications and fraud prevention. This includes our TruOps Virtual solution that provides service providers with a simple, seamless and secure way to streamline the compliance, validation and performance testing for Network Function Virtualization (NFV) onboarding.

Why is your organization adopting an open source approach? 
We believe leveraging open source assets, including ONAP and OPNFV, will play an important role in improving the onboarding of Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), which will be crucial to the way 5G and other advanced software-defined networks will be managed and commissioned. For instance, virtualization will transform the traditional vertical network architecture, where instead of the service providers working with a single vendor, they will move to a horizontal architecture working across multiple vendors with varying degrees of interoperability. This can create significant complexity. We believe that automating and standardizing the onboarding process is one way to solve this challenge. We also believe that the harmonization of standards activities with open source initiatives is an important step toward achieving this goal.

Why did you join LFN and what sort of impact do you think LFN has on the networking industry?
The Linux Foundation’s unique platform increases collaboration and operational excellence across multiple networking projects, bringing together experts focused on all aspects of the network stack. Combined with iconectiv’s extensive knowledge of interconnection and network operations management, this interoperability enables companies across the ecosystem to solve the challenges of NFV orchestration. 

What do you see as the top benefits of being part of the LFN community?
From networking and enterprise vendors to system integrators and cloud providers, LFN’s initiative brings together more than 100 member organizations from around the globe. These organizations work across nine of the top 10 open-source networking projects focusing on all aspects of the network stack—a massive cross-collaborative effort. 

As we approach the next generation of network technology, this work will prove to be especially important. For instance, in order to make NFV work and shed its “Wild West” persona, the industry needs to find a way to successfully integrate physical and virtual network assets. We believe the best way to do that is to bring together the architects and service providers, which LFN provides. 

What contributions has your team made to the community/ecosystem through LFN participation?
iconectiv made a key contribution to the ONAP Dublin release that included delivering open-source APIs for a new VNF information service, TruOps Virtual. This information service combines industry-and service provider-specific verification criteria to help streamline and speed up compliance, validation and performance testing for VNF onboarding. Essentially, it helps different VNFs—from multiple vendors—speak the same language. In turn, TruOps Virtual helps to speed up and simplify virtual network deployments, which saves costs, accelerates revenue generation, improves customer satisfaction and delivers a faster return on investment. TruOps Virtual was showcased in a proof-of-concept demonstration alongside a leading service provider and network infrastructure vendors at The Linux Foundation’s 2019 Open Networking Summit (ONS) in North America. 

What do you think sets LFN apart from other industry alliances?
LFN’s ability to leverage the open-source community to address operator problems, allows for the creation of standards in potentially less time than in the past.

How will LFN help your business?
iconectiv participates in LFN events to brainstorm ideas, gain insight into business models and learn from industry peers. The networking opportunities LFN provides allows iconectiv to gather key feedback from telco leaders on highly complex service provider strategies and challenges. iconectiv has also established relationships that offer valuable information for the development of the open-source ecosystem. 

What advice would you give to someone considering joining LFN?
Take advantage of the networking opportunities an organization like LFN provides. Being together with key leaders in the industry to discuss feedback on product strategies, explore unique opportunities and facilitate a structured approach to problem-solving is helpful for the entire product organization and could help reduce the development costs for all involved.