& 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
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
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.
LRTV Documentaries
YouTube Takes on Facebook Live-Streaming

2|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Popular 'YouTubers' will be the first to get the new service on their smartphones. You have been warned.
LRTV Custom TV
Open Source NFV/SDN Automation

2|17|17   |   05:54   |   (0) comments


AT&T ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) code is transitioning into the Linux Foundation for placement into open source. In this video, Carol Wilson provides an update on the maturation of open source ECOMP and meets with industry leaders from AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Linux Foundation and Amdocs to discuss what this means for the ...
LRTV Documentaries
Uber & NASA Collaborate on Flying Car Project

2|16|17   |     |   (0) comments


Is Uber for real? Well, it's hired NASA engineer Mark Moore to lead the project, and he wouldn't come cheap.
LRTV Documentaries
Zuckerberg Tries Out the Oculus Rift VR Glove

2|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Facebook CEO shows off a new way to interact with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset: an Oculus glove.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Digital Transformation Forum 2017

2|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Here's a preview of the upcoming Huawei Digital Transformation Forum taking place in Barcelona with trending telecom topics like cloud, IoT, 5G and much more!
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Dan Sahar of Qwilt on Open Edge Cloud Platform

2|8|17   |   08:38   |   (0) comments


Dan Sahar, Qwilt's co-founder, sits down with Steve Saunders of Light Reading for a conversation about Qwilt's Open Edge Cloud platform and the new role of service providers in application and content delivery.
LRTV Documentaries
ZeroStack's 'Self-Driving Cloud'

2|7|17   |   01:09   |   (0) comments


Its Z-Brain tech automates day-to-day management and long-term planning for hybrid clouds.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum's Craig Sprosts on DNS & Cybersecurity Trends

2|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


Nominum's Craig Sprosts talks about the fast-changing landscape of cybersecurity with Steve Saunders of Light Reading. Sprosts touches on the trend of the rise of ransomwares, rivals of IoT base attacks, and mobile network security. He also discusses the realization of the importance of IoT security after a recent cyber attack that paralyzed several major ...
LRTV Documentaries
China Moves Towards Mixed Ownership of Telcos

2|1|17   |   01:10   |   (0) comments


Chinese authorities are promoting new ownership models in order to raise capital.
Shades of Ray
What to Expect at MWC 2017

1|31|17   |     |   (0) comments


5G is set to dominate as the key buzz term at this year's Mobile World Congress but there are other pressing 4G matters to address.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa: A Lot More Than SD-WAN

1|31|17   |     |   (0) comments


Kelly Ahuja, the new CEO of Versa Networks, speaks with Steve Saunders of Light Reading about how Versa offers much more than just SD-WAN, and its plan to grow market adoption in 2017.
LRTV Documentaries
Facebook Gets Physical With Its Security Strategy

1|31|17   |   00:48   |   (0) comments


Facebook has introduced new measures that will enable users to secure access to their accounts using a physical 'key' application.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
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
T-Mobile CEO: M&A Coming but Not Quite Yet
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/14/2017
Is the Time Right for a Cisco/Ericsson Wedding?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/17/2017
Nice to See at Least One CSP Taking My Advice
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 2/17/2017
Time to Invest in Virtual Reality?
P. Tracy Currie, CEO and Co-Founder, Capto Consulting, 2/13/2017
Charter Launches 5G Field Trials
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/16/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
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.