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LFN Member Spotlight: Samsung Electronics

September 16, 2019 - LF Networking member interview

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. 

SAMSUNG logo image

Name: Sohyong Chong
Title
: Vice President, Head of Network Automation 
Organization: R&D, Networks Business unit at Samsung Electronics (Samsung Networks)

Can you tell us a little about your organization?

Samsung Electronics has been researching and investing in 5G technology since 2009, exploring the potential of this innovative next-generation technology. From that point forward, our competency in network technologies – ranging from semiconductors to software and to devices – has enabled us to not only be the first-to-market with 5G, but more importantly, deliver some of the most efficient 5G solutions.

There are multiple organizations in Samsung Electronics that are actively involved in LFN projects: Networks Business Unit (Samsung Networks) as the main body, and Samsung Research (SR) Open Source Group.

Samsung Networks (Networks Business) plays a key role in developing and providing commercial products such as RF chipsets, RAN, Core, network automation solutions for LTE and 5G mobile networks.

Functioning as an open source program office for Samsung Electronics, the Samsung Research (SR) Open Source Group coordinates activities of various business units within Samsung Electronics among open source communities, including code contributions, architecture and design contributions, and participation in test and integration efforts.

Why is your organization adopting an open source approach?

Samsung believes that innovation-enabling open source plays a key role in moving the industry forward. That said, there are many reasons we are adopting open source:

  • First, using an open source approach reduces development costs and accelerates the time-to-market.
  • Second, being involved in open source projects keeps us up-to-date with current trends and developments within the technology.
  • Lastly, open source communities like LFN provide a vibrant forum where our potential customers actively express their needs and requirements.

Making open source a part of our culture has proven to be useful in meeting our customers' demands on time, and on target.

Why did you join LFN and what sort of impact do you think LFN has on the networking industry?

Samsung Electronics is a long-time board member of the Linux Foundation, and prior to the launch of the LFN umbrella, Samsung Electronics had been a member of communities such as ONAP and OPNFV, which are now projects under LFN.

We have been very active in ONAP in particular and have become a top-3 contributor for 2019.  We think that network automation is an important piece in mobile networks with increased importance in 5G, and we view ONAP as an important open source project with a strong open source platform solution and a large ecosystem.

What do you see as the top benefits of being part of the LFN community?

The opportunity to directly collaborate with potential customers and other contributors is unparalleled. We can get immediate community feedback on our ideas, helping us to constantly shape improve them in real time. We find ourselves collaborating with other contributors to LFN projects, and have learned that we can still differentiate and have competitive advantage on the solutions we deliver to our customers.

What sorts of contributions has your team made to the community, ecosystem through LFN participation?

We identified several areas within LFN projects where we have expertise that could benefit the community and address some existing gaps.  One example is the security hardening efforts in ONAP; we led the activity to perform penetration tests on the software and shared the findings with the community. As a result, security hardening has become one of the key goals of the current ONAP release (El-Alto). Another example of our contribution is the adaptation of ONAP provisioning tools to fit production network deployments without having access to external networks. 

There are numerous other contributions in areas where we identify gaps and have the expertise to address them. In fact, these efforts combined helped Samsung to become a top-3 contributor to ONAP.Samsung is also involved in board and committee positions within the LFN, so contributions are not limited to source code, but also include strategy guidance, architecture direction, and overall subject matter expertise.

What do you think sets LFN apart from other industry alliances?

Being primarily an open source project drives the LFN to a pragmatic approach. Having a tight release cadence for all the projects serves as a catalyst to enable "good enough" working solutions, over the unattainable "perfect" solutions often seem in other groups.

What makes LFN especially stand out is that it takes an additional step by producing working software that goes above and beyond just delivering a specification.

How will LFN help your business?

As mentioned before, actively participating in the community helps us to get a better connection with our customers and to be ready to address their needs with the right solutions.

Being a member of the community opens opportunities for collaboration with the LFN ecosystem. That may come in the form of new customers, new use cases, or even new markets for our products.

What advice would you give to someone considering joining LFN?

There is only limited visibility you get from the outside looking in. The true value of the various software projects comes by active community participation.  

In addition, don't expect to see change overnight.  Progress takes time. Take some time to observe and understand the projects and work being done. Start by making small contributions to get yourself comfortable in the community, and to let the community get acquainted with your organization. The community always appreciates new members, who can bring new perspectives!