LF Europe’s Project Sylva aims to create an open source telco cloud stack

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The Linux Foundation Europe (LF Europe) – the recently launched European offshoot of the open source Linux Foundation – today announced the launch of Project Sylva, which aims to create an open source telco cloud framework for European telcos and suppliers. This is the first project organized by LF Europe and is a good example of what the organization is trying to achieve.

The project aims to create a production-grade open source telco cloud stack and common framework and reference implementation to “reduce fragmentation of the cloud infrastructure layer for telecommunications and edge services.” Currently, five providers (Telefonica, Telecom Italia, Orange, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom) and two suppliers (Ericsson and Nokia) are working on the project.

“There are already a slew of networking projects from the Linux Foundation that have brought telecommunications into the open source era,” said Arpit Joshipura, the general manager for Networking, Edge and IoT at the Linux Foundation, told me. “All those projects fall under the so-called [LF] Foundation Networks. […] So whatever that work is being done by the telcos, Sylva is going to take advantage of it and build on it with these European suppliers to meet EU specific requirements. Those are security, energy, federated computing, edge and data trust.”

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The core of Sylva is a compute platform framework that can be independent of whether a workload is running on the telco access network, edge or core. The project aims to build a reference implementation, leveraging all the work already being done by LF Networking, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (home to Kubernetes and other cloud-native infrastructure projects), LF Energy, and others.

All of this is of course done with a focus on the EU’s security, data privacy and energy management goals, but while the project has this EU focus, its overall ambition is broader and extends well beyond the European Union. After all, much of this regulation will also end up in other markets.

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“Linux Foundation, Europe allows us to focus more on specific regional requirements, but without those silos and fragmentation that foster that techno-nationalism, if you want to call it that, by really being able to foster local collaboration and then pushing that stuff upstream gives us this great channel to go beyond borders,” explains Gabriele Columbro, the managing director of the Linux Foundation Europe.

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The vendors joining the project all argue they are doing this to reduce fragmentation as the industry moves to a cloud-centric model and to enable interoperability across platforms.

“Today’s Telco Cloud ecosystem is fragmented and is slowing the transformation of our operating model. Despite a transition to cloud-native technologies, true interoperability between workloads and platforms remains a challenge,” said Laurent Leboucher, group CTO and SVP, Orange Innovation Networks. “Operators indeed have to deal with many vertical solutions that are different for each supplier, leading to operational complexity, lack of scalability and high costs. Sylva, by providing a homogeneous telco cloud framework for the entire industry, should help the entire ecosystem to use a common technology, which will be interoperable, flexible and easy to operate.

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