& cplSiteName &

6 Degrees of Separation: SPs Define 'Open'

Carol Wilson
1/23/2014
50%
50%

With the potential impact of software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) now influencing decision-making processes at every major carrier in the world, never has it been more important for communications network operators to get to grips with the term "open" and what it means for every aspect of their operations and culture.

There's probably no other important concept in telecom networking that is so often cited, yet just as often misunderstood, as that of being open.

Openness is often called out as a primary goal of virtualization, as telecom network operators try to move away from proprietary, purpose-built systems (which lock them into specific vendors) and towards more flexible open hardware that lets them mix and match best-of-breed technologies.

There are a number of initiatives based on openness -- OpenStack, OpenFlow, and OpenDaylight, to name a few.

But is there one definition of open for communications network operators? To find out, we asked several major service providers to share their definitions of open, particularly as it relates to SDN and NFV.

Six operators responded. While the answers have some similarities, each is actually quite different. Clearly, "open" is in the eye of the beholder.

One reason for that, as noted by Diego Lopez, senior technology expert at Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF)'s research division, Telefónica I+D, is that the term open is overused, especially in discussing virtualization. "It seems like you'll have to add the 'open' prefix to whatever you do," he says.

The operator responses clearly show that openness retains its importance, however. The answers, which came via email, showed thoughtfulness, even though some were short and to the point and others much more detailed.

Some of the differences can be attributed to the individual who fielded our email. For example, we queried John Considine, the CTO of Verizon Terremark, the cloud organization, while choosing to ask research executives or virtualization specialists from other carriers. Only one company, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), declined to provide a response, although you can get some idea of its view of openness from comments made by Margaret Chiosi, distinguished network architect, in October of 2013. (See ESDN: AT&T Calls for SDN APIs Now.)

The executives who responded are (in alphabetical order):

The responses highlighted a number of key themes, which are explored in the following pages of this feature:

  • Interoperability
  • Practical functionality
  • Interchangeability
  • Not all industry initiatives are made equal

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

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/11/2014 | 7:24:04 PM
Open is what it usually means... a wider pool of developers
Software tools that are "open" have multiple benefits over their proprietary counterparts (eg. more eyes watching for security flaws and bugs, more developers to contribute niche functionality, etc). Carriers will adopt "open" standards and software when the benefits outweigh switching costs or when there's a competitive advantage to doing so.

The debates over "open vs closed" software are largely pointless now, and the winner is pragmatic implementation -- open tools will be adopted when the situation calls for it, and sometimes open tools are forked to become proprietary and closed (as licenses may allow).

As organizations like the Open Compute Project expand to hardware and networking, nearly every aspect of the IT and telecom industry will be subject to the "open" trend -- which can only be a good thing for innovation as more developers have access to building new tools and functionality. http://www.opencompute.org/blog/up-next-for-the-open-compute-project-the-network/

The problem may become how to deal with multiple open standards.
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
2/1/2014 | 11:10:17 AM
Money
Probably will hear more about this coming out of the OpenDaylight Summit next week. Will OpenDaylight progress give more SPs more reason to act on their definitions of openness, whatever they might be.
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/29/2014 | 10:44:20 AM
Re: No OpenFlow fan
Hi James,

I guess I was kind of using a shorthand when I said you were not impressed with OpenFlow--nor did I mean to imply that you were opposed to OpenFlow. I did read the full piece on SDNCentral and appreciate the fact that you were saying that there other ways to get to open and SDN.

BTW, I think I should point out that I recently wrote a blog where I referenced what you said on SDNCentral on this same issue. You'll find that blog at:

http://www.serviceprovideritreport.com/author.asp?section_id=3081&doc_id=562459&

 

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my earlier comment here on LR.

 

 

 

 
jfeger77
50%
50%
jfeger77,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/28/2014 | 6:32:31 PM
Re: No OpenFlow fan
Hi Sam,

It's not that I am not impressed.  What I was trying to communicate in the blog post was mostly related to the idea that there are many ways to solve this "thing" we call 'Open' & 'SDN'.  I'm actually impressed that we have made it this far without more fragmentation.  Given where we are in the lifecycle and evolution, its a bit interesting to predict a long-term position for any of this today.  However, the focus remains the same.  We need to understand the "can" and "can not" aspects, try to predict the future of those items, and where to use them appropriately.

Thanks,

James

 
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/27/2014 | 2:20:44 PM
No OpenFlow fan
Thought you might find it interesting that one of the respondents, James Feger, VP of CenturyLink, apparently is not impressed by OpenFlow. Here's the link:

http://www.sdncentral.com/companies/service-provider-realism-sdn/2014/01/
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
1/26/2014 | 12:26:44 PM
Interop standards
It's interesting to see people at a high level from carriers offer a definition of open interoperability with "standards" being one of the first words out of their mouths. I know it's obviously not an anti-standards statement, but still seems like an acknowledgment of a broader definition.
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Mavenir on RCS Cloud Platform & Multi-ID

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guillaume Le Mener, head of marketing and corporate development at Mavenir, discussed RCS and the recent launch of Multi-ID, which supports T-Mobile's DIGITS, the revolutionary new technology that breaks down the limitation of one number per phone and one phone per number.
LRTV Custom TV
ADTRAN Executive Outlines Trends in Next-Generation 10-Gigabit Cable Networks

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Hossam Salib, VP of Cable and Wireless Strategy at ADTRAN, outlines key trends as MSOs begin to deploy next-generation Gigabit and 10-Gigabit cable networks. In the interview, Hossam outlines the advantages of a Fiber Deep architecture, FTTH options including EPON and RFoG, and the importance of SDN and NFV in building next-generation high-bandwidth cable networks.
LRTV Interviews
Global Capacity: Bandwidth Demand Driving Ethernet Growth

7|6|17   |   6:37   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, Global Capacity's VP of Marketing Mary Stanhope talks about how the demand for bandwidth is changing the way service providers deliver broadband services.
LRTV Interviews
Colt's Services Chief on Digital Delivery

7|5|17   |   16:12   |   (0) comments


Rogier Bronsgeest, the chief customer experience officer (chief CEO!) at Colt, discusses the way in which the service provider interacts with its customers these days and his aggressive net promoter score (NPS) targets.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
BT VP: Women Should Fill Security Talent Gap

7|5|17   |   6:00   |   (2) comments


By 2020 there will be six security jobs for every qualified worker, and Kate Kuehn, vice president of Security for BT in the Americas, says BT wants to encourage women to fill the shortage in jobs.
LRTV Interviews
Colt Sales Exec on Services Trends

7|4|17   |   12:59   |   (0) comments


Colt's sales director for enterprise, James Kershaw, sheds some light on the services currently in demand and how network upgrades are influencing customer demand.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Mobile to Power Online Video Consumption – Zenith
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 7/19/2017
Can Mushroom Sprout in Crowded SD-WAN Field?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/18/2017
AI Will Be Ubiquitous in 2020 but Overhyped in 2017 – Gartner
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 7/18/2017
Facing the Facebook Video Threat
Gary Miles, Chief Marketing Officer, Amdocs, 7/17/2017
Brocade, Broadcom Merger in Doubt
Iain Morris, News Editor, 7/19/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Fuzzy Quick Fix Click Here
If you can't access it, is it really broken?
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.