Light Reading
Operators agree on value of open source, but take different approaches to how it's going to be used.

Telcos Pay Lip Service to Open Source

Carol Wilson
6/3/2014
50%
50%

NICE, France -- TM Forum Live! -- Telecom service providers may acknowledge the value of open source technology, particularly as they adopt virtualization, but they are not entirely ready to embrace it warmly, a panel discussion here revealed.

Five large service providers -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Orange (NYSE: FTE), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), and Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI) -- were represented on a single panel as part of a pre-conference NFV workshop, and while they agreed on a lot, open source technology didn't get a consensus vote.

At a time when multiple groups are developing open source approaches to key technologies such as SDN, the telecom operators' willingness to adopt the work of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and OpenDaylight could indicate the pace at which change will happen. The recent decision by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV Industry Specifications Group to propose an open platform for NFV also reflects shifting attitudes.

But the candid comments by the operator panelists show there is no universal view when it comes to open source.

Jenny Huang, OSS/BSS standards strategist at AT&T, struck the practical view, noting that telecom operators have traditionally equated open source with instability and the inability to scale, but that is changing with the move to cloud-based technologies, which the hosting company can control. Huang credits open source groups with pushing virtualization capabilities forward and enabling the operators to keep vendors moving at a faster pace than they might otherwise have done.

Sprint's Fred Feisullin, senior network architect in the CTO's office, took the "radical" stance, pointing to how open source technologies are enabling over-the-top competitors such as Vine and Instagram to bring services to market quickly.

"Service providers need to become comfortable with open source -- there is too much value that is not being mined," he said. "We have to be more mature in our development of software."

To that end, he said, Sprint is hiring Ph.D. candidates as summer workers to develop software in what he called "the next workforce." Open source software is likely to be embedded in whatever lies down the road, Feisullin noted, even if the ultimate services aren't totally open source based.

Massimo Banzi, senior technical project manager at Telecom Italia, was much more circumspect, pointing to licensing and management problems that invariably crop up where use of open source software in commercial products is concerned.

His comments highlighted the willingness -- or lack of same -- of service providers to make their own contributions to the ongoing development of open source software in the way other participants do. Feisullin urged operators to join in by contributing to the open source community any extensions of the software that aren't core to the company's intellectual property.

But even Banzi admitted there are open source components that are well known and strong and are embedded in his company's solutions.

Nektarios Georgalas, director at the BT-Intel Co-Lab, views open source software as important for enabling faster-to-market delivery of new capabilities and the testing of new ideas more quickly.

"I think a hybrid approach ultimately wins out -- with both free open source software, and paid support of some functions as well," he said. "If we are able to build a business case with 70% cost savings using open source, why not use it?"

Ultimately, it will be a commercial decision, agreed Tayeb Ben Meriem, senior manager at Orange (NYSE: FTE): "We need to assess the system ability of open source with regard to commercial deployment, " he said.

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

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
smkinoshita
50%
50%
smkinoshita,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/3/2014 | 5:45:01 PM
Re: No Real Surprises
High career cost for sure, and I find that ironic considering we all know better by now.  First, people tend not to get burned twice.  Secondly, there's people like Steve Jobs who did fail... but he came back quite well, didn't he?

It'd be a little different if we looked for one big failure as a sign of learning and only took multiple, similar failures as a sign of poor judgement.
FakeMitchWagner
50%
50%
FakeMitchWagner,
User Rank: Lightning
6/3/2014 | 5:37:58 PM
Re: No Real Surprises
There's a high career cost to failing implementing pioneer technology. Maybe higher than the benefit of succeeding. 
smkinoshita
50%
50%
smkinoshita,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/3/2014 | 4:47:43 PM
Re: No Real Surprises
@FakeMitchWagner:  It's still not all that different.  In my experience, companies that try Open Source and fail become examples and make others leary.  Making the switch isn't cheap if it doesn't work, so once burned twice scarred.  

It's still a matter of a lack of positive examples.  I'm pretty sure if a company was able to implement open source in a way that worked for them, the rest would want to know exactly what their situation was and how they implemented it.  I feel that way about most technology, actually -- it never catches on until someone does something amazing with it.
FakeMitchWagner
50%
50%
FakeMitchWagner,
User Rank: Lightning
6/3/2014 | 3:50:06 PM
Re: No Real Surprises
smkinoshita - The issue of licensing and management are different from what you describe. These aren't companies with a knee-jerk rejection of open source. These are companies that tried it and found it didn't work for them. 

 
smkinoshita
50%
50%
smkinoshita,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/3/2014 | 2:21:56 PM
No Real Surprises
Sounds like similar conversations that were going on all across various businesses several years ago.  Whether it was for replacing Microsoft Office or entire networks, the points were the same -- Open Source was economical but nobody had experience using it in a business environment, so everyone was very cautious.

Same conversations still carrying on today.  It's just in more industustries now.
Flash Poll
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of Integrated Solutions on SoftCOM & NFV Monetization

8|26|14   |   4.43   |   (0) comments


Libin Dai, Director of Integrated Solutions, Carrier Business Group, discusses Huawei's SoftCOM and NFV monetization. Huawei believes that NFV monetization should be service-driven rather than network-driven, and that operators should have network transformation, service transformation and a compatible and collaborative ecosystem in place in order to deploy NFV.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of US NFV Lab on CloudEdge & the Future of NFV

8|26|14   |   4.06   |   (0) comments


Sean Chen, Director of US NFV Lab at Huawei, discusses Huawei's new approach to NFV in open collaboration. Huawei believes that through Proof of Concept tests, it could help operators learn and communicate with the industry more effectively. Sean believes that successful implementation of NFV should have its values reaching to end users and discusses how Huawei's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Highlights @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   3.34   |   (0) comments


At the Big Telecom Event in Chicago Huawei showcases its high-level strategy, the SoftCOM architecture, which helps operators reduce the cost of ownership of their network infrastructure and generate additional revenue in the ICT service environment. Huawei showcases over 30 pilot programs from across the globe, focusing on the industry-leading commercial ...
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX – Live from the Show

8|21|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


An overview of VeEX Test and Measurement solutions including TX300S multi-service test set with VeExpress cloud-based management system, UX400 universal modular platform supporting 100G testing, and the redesigned RXT modular platform.
LRTV Custom TV
Transitioning CE 2.0 Networks Into the SDN & NFV Era With Telco Systems

8|19|14   |   5:19   |   (0) comments


Telco Systems' Ariel Efrati (CEO) and Moshe Shimon (VP of Product Management) discuss virtualization and how the company's new Open Metro Edge solution utilizes the SDN and NFV concepts to accelerate and orchestrate service delivery through its innovative product portfolio and software applications.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Myths: Is NFV Still Several Years Away?

8|11|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


Some say that NFV (network functions virtualization) is still several years away from being implemented on mobile operator networks. This isn't the case. Operators can get started on their paths to NFV now, as this short video from Skyfire shows.
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Hot Topics
Rogers, Shaw Take Aim at Netflix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/26/2014
Utilities to Pump $11.2B Into Smart Grid – Study
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 8/26/2014
Verizon Launches QR Code Security Solution
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/26/2014
Fiber Revival at Deutsche Telekom
Iain Morris, 8/25/2014
M2M's In Fashion: Wearables Play the US Open
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/25/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed