Amdocs Claims ONAP First-Mover Status

Carol Wilson

In a move that should surprise no one, Amdocs today announced an NFV software and services portfolio based on ONAP.

The software giant is hoping to get a first-mover advantage, leveraging its role as co-developer with AT&T of the software underlying much of the new open source effort. (See Amdocs Unveils NFV Portfolio Based on ONAP and Amdocs CMO: We're Gonna Mint It in MANO.)

By offering a commercially hardened approach to the lifecycle management of virtual services, building on Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) , Amdocs wants to capitalize on the years of software development work its done with AT&T and its Enhanced Control Orchestration Management and Policy (ECOMP) platform, which combined with the Open-O effort to create ONAP. The company has already worked with two of the other ONAP adopters -- Orange and BCE -- and as that effort adds service providers, stands to pick up more business as well. (See MANO Marriage: ECOMP, OPEN-O Converge as ONAP.)

The focus is on service acceleration, says Ann Hatchell, vice president of open network marketing at ONAP. As ONAP gains momentum -- and today it added Vodafone as a member -- more operators are trying to move forward faster to get services such as SD-WAN deployed in a way that makes sense in the long run. (See Vodafone Joins ONAP and Will ECOMP Be the Alpha MANO? )

"At the end of the day, everybody's trying to launch new services," she says. "They're trying to do it faster. They want to leverage virtualization where they can, but it can't be a standalone capability. It has to be fully integrated with their plans, their strategies and, basically, their environment."

And to attract the largest chunk of that business, the Amdocs Network Function Virtualization (NFV) powered by Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) includes a modular set of capabilities that draws on its previous expertise with things such as Active Inventory, as well as services to enable the integration into existing backend systems and more, and a hosted development and test environment.

"It focuses on the lifecycle management of a virtual service, right through from how you design it to how you instantiate it, fulfill it, orchestrate it and then how you operate it in the network," Hatchell says. "It has the added benefit of now being powered by an open source foundation, which is ONAP."

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The modular capabilities include things such as Amdocs Service Design and Create and Amdocs Active Inventory, which are commercial versions of contributions the company has made to ONAP. The test environment allows for what Amdocs terms "easy deployment of ONAP" and a cloud hosting environment, along with pre-defined kits for deploying popular options such as SD-WAN acceleration, and tools that enable faster development of proofs of concepts and faster verification of use cases.

The idea, says Hatchell, is to offer whatever a given service provider needs, whether it's a soup-to-nuts deployment strategy of ONAP and full integration to their existing back-end services or a set of specific capabilities that matches their service strategy.

"Most of the big guys have their NFV strategy laid out," she notes. "So, you have service providers who want to just basically develop on top of ONAP themselves. They're building up development teams. They're going to do it themselves and integrate it, so they need services. They need co-development capabilities. We can provide those."

Amdocs can also provide "a more hardened version of ONAP within the construct of a kind of a larger service lifecycle management portfolio," Hatchell adds. "That's where we also come in with the software and also services, if they so desire. And then, you have the guys that are really just getting started, and this is where the accelerator, the development environment, the hosted environment comes in."

As part of the initial release, Amdocs is offering an SD-WAN accelerator kit, which Hatchell says will be the first of many. So in addition to making ONAP easier to install overall, these kits will include specific business flows and more for configuring a given service, in this case SD-WAN.

"You basically go in and assign the different ports to where your SD-WAN controllers are, and then you're able to do that very quickly" she explains. "And we're focusing more on SD-WAN because that's where the demand is and that's where a lot of the complexity in the market is. That really gets everybody started on the same level playing field and then you can start to customize the flows to meet your own business needs."

The idea, Hatchell says, is to help network operators quickly get into a market, such as SD-WAN, in the way they choose to, using the specific SD-WAN vendors and market approach they prefer, and then enabling them to differentiate their services more quickly to address market needs.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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9/14/2017 | 4:48:28 AM
Can Amdocs exploit it's first mover advantage?
Amdocs recent announcements shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone in the industry.  As AT&T co-development partner for some of the key ECOMP components, which now form part of ONAP, the company has been given considerable first mover advantage.  

No other organization taking the ONAP open source software can have the insight and knowledge that Amdocs has in the Service Design & Create and Active & Available Inventory modules. These two modules are arguably the most valuable modules as the support a DevOps style service design and testing capability and the ability to monitor, allocate resources and adapt the virtual network in real-time.

The challenge for Amdocs is whether it is able to turn this first mover advantage into a sustainable competitive advantage or whether newer members of ONAP such as Accenture and Infosys plan to take the open source software and "eat Amdocs lunch!"

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