& 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
Either we perform a complete 'factory reset' on the way the telecom industry creates and deploys virtualization, or we face the consequences.
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 Custom TV
Infinera Introduces Instant Network

4|20|17   |     |   (1) comment


Mike Capuano, vice president of marketing at Infinera, discusses the advancement from Instant Bandwidth to new Instant Network capabilities, which include Bandwidth License Pools, Moveable Licenses and Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE).
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Vodafone's Eubank on Sponsors, Mentors & Moving On Up

4|19|17   |   4:25   |   (0) comments


Vodafone America's Head of Operations Kimberly Eubank breaks down the difference between a sponsor and a mentor and shares why both made a big difference in her career.
LRTV Custom TV
NYC Auto Show: Are We Smart Yet?

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


The auto industry is facing some big transformations as electric vehicles, autonomous technology and connected cars are seen as the future of the industry. During the much-anticipated NY international auto show, there was an emergence of new technology and mobility service on the show floor. Aside from performance, brands like Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes and ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Impact of Video

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Mercer from Strategy Analytics discusses the impact of video on current strategies.
LRTV Custom TV
Pardeep Kohli Discusses Network Transformation & the Market Opportunity for the 'New' Mavenir Systems

4|13|17   |     |   (0) comments


In a brief discussion at MWC 2017, Heavy Reading analyst Adi Kishore talks to Pardeep Kohli, CEO, Mavenir Systems about the creation of the 'new Mavenir' and some of the key challenges facing operators in today's market. A key theme of the discussion centers around operator need for software-only, virtualized solutions and how they will need to adapt to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Tech Maverick Shares Her Tips for Gender Inclusivity

4|12|17   |   7:28   |   (0) comments


Wendy Hall Bohling, a corporate escapee, author and gender exclusivity consultant, tells her story of sexism, bias and progress along the road to gender equality in the workforce.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at MWC 2017

4|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress 2017, the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year, Huawei showcased its new innovations and solutions with the theme "Open Road," which focuses on cloud, 5G, operation transformation, videos and consumer-oriented products. Its campaign has been recognized by three awards given by GSMA.
LRTV Custom TV
China Telecom NFV Infrastructure on RSD

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Lynn Comp, senior director of market development of Intel, is joined by Chong Zhang, storage engineer at Inspur and Ou Li Yan, architect for technology strategies of China Telecom on what NFV brings.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's IMPACT Software Demo

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Khamis Abulgubein of IoT market development at Nokia demonstrates IMPACT (intelligent management platform for all connected things), a software solution with a horizontal approach to managing any device on any application.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia Introduces Virtual Service Router for More Rapid Service

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


James Cumming, product line manager for virtualized service routers at Nokia, demonstrates how the virtual router based off the Nokia ecosystem changes the network function experience.
LRTV Custom TV
The Keys to SD-WAN Success

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa Networks CEO Kelly Ahuja talks about the key requirements for service provider-managed SD-WANs.
LRTV Custom TV
Intel & Cisco on Joint 5G Solutions

4|5|17   |     |   (0) comments


Dave Ward, SVP and CTO of Cisco, is joined by Sandra Rivera, corporate VP and general manager of network platforms group of Intel, on the revolutionary 5G technology that changes networking and computing fundamentally.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Brazos Hall - 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
Time for a Telecom Reboot
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 4/19/2017
Comcast Ready for Clash With Hulu
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/18/2017
Unlicensed: It's What's Next for US Mobile Operators
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/19/2017
First Year TIPs the Scale Toward Success
Denise Culver, 4/24/2017
Verizon's Fiber Spend Won't End With Corning
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/19/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
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 ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Animals with Phones
Now That's an Ad Campaign Click Here
Meerkats to the rescue!
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.