& cplSiteName &

Standards Lose Steam as Software Dominates

Carol Wilson
2/5/2014
50%
50%

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Open Daylight Summit — As software ascends in importance throughout telecom, the emphasis on standards is going to wane, according to much of the discussion here this week.

Multiple speakers have actually emphasized the dangers of rushing to harden standards too early, saying service providers and enterprises are better served by using open-source software and systems and maintaining their flexibility to support whatever applications come down the pipe. The traditional standards process involving consensus and compromise among competing interests can do a disservice to innovation, or so the thinking here goes.

In particular, the much-discussed northbound interface of software-defined networking (SDN) is something no one seems to be in a rush to establish.

Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation , told a standing-room only keynote crowd that his organization was being pushed to create an NBI standard two-and-a-half years ago, and if they'd given into that pressure, "we'd have gotten it wrong."

An entire panel devoted to the northbound interface spent a lively 50 minutes disagreeing on just about everything except the need to keep the interface from being set in stone.

In general, the networking industry needs to let go of what Guru Parulkar of Stanford University and the Open Networking Lab called its "obsession" with standards, and allow the ultimate choices to be determined by what works in the real world.

"We need to standardize as little as possible," he said. "You can't keep the same standards process in place once you become more software-based."

In his keynote, Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s Erik Ekudden, VP and head of technology strategies, offered a somewhat less strident position, saying that traditional standards and de facto standards each serve their purpose and can be complementary.

What will become important, he stressed, is for the telecom industry to be able to offer other industries an easy way to access the network resources they need, and simply offering an applications programing interface (API) may not be enough, especially for businesses that aren't already working in the cloud and don't have on-board IT expertise.

Pitt reminded the crowd that his board is comprised of major telecom operators, and what they are focusing on is the art of the possible, not elegant approaches to building plug and play networks.

"We have to match what is needed with what is possible," he said. "We are working at solutions that succeed because the ultimate goal is commercial success."

The work of organizations such as OpenDaylight becomes more important to help match open-source solutions with what enterprises are looking for, added Nick Lippis of the Open Networking User Group.

And even on the service provider side, the open-source approach means everyone has the ability to reach out for help from the open-source community, said Christos Kolias, senior research scientist at Orange (NYSE: FTE) Silicon Valley.

"We can find out who has a solution, and pick the best one, without waiting for a committee to make up its mind," allowing for greater flexibility and more nimble networks, two of the primary goals of SDN and network functions virtualization, he said.

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

(21)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
2/13/2014 | 7:03:15 PM
Re: The Age of Software isn't the Age of Standards
Carol Wilson - Well if every vendor uses open source, everything will just magically work together without standards, right?

I believe a statement like that requires delivery accompanied by jazz hands. 
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/7/2014 | 9:11:52 AM
Re: Open community efforts
 

Actually, people who want to take control of their Linux do LFS (like me) Linux From Scratch.  Buying another's distribution means you probably can't track kernel panics.

seven

 
TomNolle
50%
50%
TomNolle,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/7/2014 | 8:08:33 AM
Re: Open community efforts
The market will tell the tale, eventually.
t.bogataj
50%
50%
t.bogataj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/7/2014 | 5:26:32 AM
Re: Open community efforts
@Tom ("Everyone who uses Linux networking tools or OVS comes to mind.")

Not correct. Vendors who look for support and controlability of their solutions and processes will not go for any open source -- they will take Linux from Wind River or the likes.

Using your terms: domination means control, while public means chaos.

T.
TomNolle
50%
50%
TomNolle,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/6/2014 | 3:22:44 PM
Re: Open community efforts
Everyone who uses Linux networking tools or OVS comes to mind.
njmodi
50%
50%
njmodi,
User Rank: Moderator
2/6/2014 | 3:16:02 PM
There is no utopia...

A lot of good points have been brought up in the discussion so far. History has shown us that neither standardization nor Open Source guarantees flexibility and interoperability. For example, even IETF RFCs leave a number of implementation options for vendors that can and have repeatedly led to interoperability issues, and Open Source code is very often customized/hardened by vendors or third-parties - so at that point, is it really Open Source?

In the end, flexibility and openness can only be achieved if the constituent parties (vendors, operators) are willing to make that happen. The shift away from standardization towards Open Source is driven by telcos wanting to break vendor lock-in and the potential of SDN and NFV to enable this transformation.

What is really interesting is that with focus on SDN and NFV, vendors are actively collaborating without the requisite push from a telco operator that would have been the norm in the past. To that end, multi-vendor PoCs are highly encouraged by the ETSI NFV, and quite representative of the collaboration operators want to see going forward between vendors.

 

chechaco
50%
50%
chechaco,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/6/2014 | 2:43:16 PM
Re: Open community efforts
Power to the masses? Simple majority rulez? That will be the end, very painful agony of any technical enterprise, organization or forum.

Show me an organization, a business that is willing to put into production network code whose ownership is, put it mildly, ambiguous, support has no escalation process.
TomNolle
50%
50%
TomNolle,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/6/2014 | 1:45:42 PM
Re: Open community efforts
The basic problem is that all "open" or "standard" or "public" activities tend to be dominated by those who can afford to dominate them!  What can make open source different is that once it's out there and open it's hard for anyone to really exercise control because the source code is there to evolve.
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
2/6/2014 | 1:13:01 PM
Open community efforts
This might have already been expressed in another way above, but efforts like OpenDaylight would seem to have as much potential to be dominated by big vendors like Cisco, etc. as any standards group where the smaller guys feel like their voices aren't heard. I think Big Switch might feel its voice wasn't entirely heard in OpenDaylight, for example, though they have been fairly quiet abouit this since their initial complaints surfaced last summer.
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/5/2014 | 9:30:46 PM
Re: The Age of Software isn't the Age of Standards
@TomNolle and others...one seems to confuse Open Source with extremely well defined - read defacto standardized - interfaces.  The only reason that OpenSource works is because the interfaces are defacto standards and everybody agrees to use them.  APIs can and will be proprietary to each and every manufacturers software even if they declare them to be "Open".  The reason that the internet, telecommunication, TV, etc work is because of those terrible, useless, truly hateful standards (tongue semi-in-cheek). 

I agree with Carol, at this type of meeting nobody would really want standards but as a customer everybody should want them so that they can get interoperability and some plug and play - even with software.  Anybody remember the day when you had to write your own drivers for everything?  Well defacto standards helped remove that problem along with a super well defined API.  Let's not assume that everything will work like Android, Linux, etc.  because it won't.
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
From The Founder
The time has come for a telecom app store to save the industry.
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
Service Provider Panel: Partnering in the Digital Era

5|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Coopetition has always been part of telecom, but the ecosphere now includes data centers, vendors, apps developers, cloud service providers and Internet content providers. This BCE 2017 panel explores the new attitudes among network operators as to the value and variety of ...
LRTV Interviews
Site Demo: AT&T's IoT Flow Platform

5|19|17   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


At AT&T's R&D center in Tel Aviv, Israel, project leader Eyal Segev talks about the operator's Flow platform and how it helps to prototype IoT applications.
LRTV Documentaries
Agent of Change: A Q&A With AT&T's John Donovan

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson talks with the man leading AT&T's transformation efforts about the challenge of change.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE Service Provider Panel: The New Business Realities

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


For virtualization to happen, the telecom industry first has to grapple with key functional aspects of SDN and NFV that need to be universal, such as onboarding of virtualized network functions and federation of software-defined networks.
LRTV Interviews
BCE Service Provider Keynote: CenturyLink

5|16|17   |   22:32   |   (0) comments


Aamir Hussain leads the Product Development and Technology organization at CenturyLink, which includes the company's information technology function. He is an experienced senior technology executive with more than 25 years of proven success in the implementation of global technology operations, operationalization of complex technology, infrastructures and business ...
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink CTO on Transformation

5|16|17   |   7:43   |   (0) comments


The 50-year-old telco has already gone through several transformations, including every time it made an acquisition, but its purchase of Level 3 coupled with changes in technology and customer expectations necessitates its biggest transformation yet.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2017

5|15|17   |   5:05   |   (1) comment


Find out who made it into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Interviews
Site Visit: AT&T's Tel Aviv R&D Center

5|15|17   |   09:58   |   (1) comment


Nir Shalom, general manager and VP of application development at AT&T Israel, talks about the key service developments undertaken at the AT&T R&D facility in Tel Aviv and how the team there has adopted new ways of working.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Act on Your Intelligence With Amdocs aia!

5|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Amdocs CMO Gary Miles explains how communications service providers can seize the AI opportunity with Amdocs real-time digital intelligence platform.
LRTV Interviews
Logtel CEO: Making Sense of IoT

5|15|17   |   09:48   |   (0) comments


Jacques Bensimon, founder and CEO of Tel Aviv-based training and consultancy Logtel, talks about the need to make IoT more than just a buzzword.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Challenges of Mobile Banking Implementation

5|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Kamal Quadir of bKash Limited explains the challenges and needs of implementing mobile banking in the Bangladesh market.
LRTV Interviews
Tel Aviv: A Hub of Innovation

5|10|17   |   07:58   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre and Dan Allen discuss the technology innovation, food and amazing sights they witnessed during a recent trip to Israel.
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
AT&T's Donovan: Women Adapt Faster Than Men
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 5/18/2017
Verizon on M&A: Who Needs a Cableco?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/17/2017
Standardization Needs Room for Innovation
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 5/17/2017
Fright Wigs & Cocktails: BCE 2017 in Pics
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 5/19/2017
Comcast Appears to Soft Launch First 4K DVR
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/19/2017
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
What Brogrammers Look Like to the Rest of Us Click Here
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.