February 8, 2023

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LF Europe’s Sylva project wants to build an open-source telco cloud stack • TechCrunch

The Linux Foundation Europe (LF Europe) – the recently formed European arm 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 telecom companies and operators . This is the first project hosted by LF Europe and a good example of what the organization is trying to achieve.

The project aims to create a production-ready, open-source telco cloud stack and a common framework and reference implementation to “reduce cloud infrastructure layer fragmentation for telecom and edge services.” Five network operators ( Telefonica, Telecom Italia, Orange, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom) and two providers ( Ericsson and Nokia ) are currently working on the project.

“There are already a number of Linux Foundation networking projects that have propelled telecommunications into the open source era,” Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking, edge, and IoT at the Linux Foundation, told me. “All of these projects fall under what is referred to as that [LF] Networking Foundation. […] Whatever work is done by the telecom providers, Sylva will leverage and build on these European providers to meet EU specific requirements. These are security, power, federated computing, edge and data trust.”

The core of Sylva is a framework for a computing platform that can be independent of whether a workload runs on the telecom access network, edge, or in the core. The project aims to create a reference implementation that leverages all the work already being done by LF Networking, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (home of 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, privacy and energy management goals, but while the project has this EU focus, the overall goal is broader and goes well beyond the European Union. Many of these regulations will eventually make it to other markets.

“Linux Foundation, Europe allows us to focus more on specific regional needs but without those silos and fragmentation that encourage this techno-nationalism, if you want to call it that, by really being able to do local collaboration promote and then push those things upstream gives us this amazing opportunity to push boundaries,” said Gabriele Columbro, general manager of the Linux Foundation Europe.

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 between different platforms.

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