Vodafone Pushes ONAP Over Key Threshold

Carol Wilson

ONAP's addition of Vodafone to its platinum member roster not only adds the voice of one of the largest global carriers and earliest implementers of NFV-SDN to the open source project, but also means ONAP now represents more than half of global telecom subscribers. (See Vodafone Joins ONAP.)

"The total number of subscribers served by ONAP members globally has now crossed the 50% threshold, to 55%," Arpit Joshipura, general manager of the Linux Foundation, tells Light Reading today in an interview. The Linux Foundation is home to the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP). Crossing that threshold is a significant reflection of the project's momentum, he says.

As importantly, perhaps, Vodafone's Fran Heeran, group head of network virtualization, joins the ONAP board and brings the experience of running Project Ocean and being among those pushing hardest for automation as part of the virtualization transition.

"Fran Heeran brings a lot of credibility to the governing board," Joshipura says. "Given the global nature of the carrier, where you have a centralized CTO team with one vision and one architecture but completely distributed local implementations, that's different. That scale of implementation drives some very innovative use cases and the project can learn a lot from their participation."

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ONAP is in active discussions with almost all of the top 50 global network operators, he adds, but each company faces its own timetable for moving forward on automation. In some cases, those who started earlier -- ahead of ONAP's existence -- have to determine a way to make their existing efforts fit with where ONAP is going.

"We are trying to work with them to make sure what they already have doesn’t have to go away," he notes.

In addition, Joshipura says, those without mobile operations (hello, CenturyLink?) are focused on business services and those will be the focus of ONAP's Beijing release, tentatively scheduled for summer of 2018. The first release was more focused on mobile operations, in advance of 5G.

Vodafone is the 18th company to join ONAP and the seventh network operator to be a platinum member. Seven other operators are silver members. ONAP was formally launched in March, as the combination of AT&T's Enhanced Control Orchestration Management Policy platform with Open-Orchestration. The group's next meeting is Sept. 25-27 in Paris.

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

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