Light Reading
Focus shifts to open-source answers to common problems, rather than hidebound standards, say speakers at OpenDaylight Summit.

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
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: Light Beer
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   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Virtual CPE

1|27|15   |   01:38   |   (5) comments


As NFV strategies evolve from tests and trials to production telco networks, expect to hear a lot about virtual CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts during 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Google Continues Gigabit Expansion
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/27/2015
Comcast Apologizes to 'A**hole' Brown
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/29/2015
US Ops Spend $32.5M to Bring 4G to Chicago's Subways
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 1/30/2015
Cablevision's New WiFi Try – Freewheeling Enough?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/26/2015
Overture Builds on NFV Foundation
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Weekly Executive Interview
Join us live for Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he has to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.