Light Reading

Can ZOOM See Daylight?

Carol Wilson

NICE, France – TM Forum Live! -- For most of my time at the show this week I have been participating in sessions devoted to NFV and, in most of those, there is discussion of Project ZOOM, the TM Forum 's initiative to reshape back office processes and architectures to enable virtualization. (See TM Forum Tries ZOOMing to NFV.)

Almost all of those sessions also, at some point, address open source software, and its growing impact in the telecom realm, and the constant intersection of these two things leads me to this thought: What if the Forum ran ZOOM as a true open source project, similar to Open Daylight?

As it is, the Forum is constantly seeking input and asking for participation in ZOOM from all assembled as it tries to crowd-source the process. As Jenny Huang, OSS/BSS standards strategist at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and a co-chair of ZOOM, explained on Monday, the Forum has been collecting "user stories" from a wide swathe of its own members as well as those of groups such as Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) . Those are informing what ZOOM -- which stands for Zero-touch, Orchestration, Operations, and Management -- plans to deliver.

But that's not the same thing as running an open source project, to which companies contribute code, and which produces more than specifications.

Given all the competitive forces in play, it may be unrealistic to think that the telecom industry can do open source in the same way that the IT industry has but there are a few factors I think it's worth considering:

  • Telecom is embracing open source and realizing its ability to move technology forward much faster, as well as recognizing its traditional standardization process is hopelessly slow and outdated. In an NFV panel on Tuesday afternoon, Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT)'s Axel Clauberg noted that telecom operators are raising their voices more in trying to influence the development of OpenStack, the open source cloud software, indicating greater willingness to participate in this process. (See Telcos Pay Lip Service to Open Source.)

  • There is already a model for open source software in the SDN arena in the OpenDaylight project, being managed by the Linux Foundation . Open Daylight succeeded in getting multiple competing vendors to contribute code to its open source SDN controller, even as those same vendors were often developing their own controllers and SDN portfolios. (See OpenDaylight Unveils Open-Source SDN Controller.)

  • There are indications we are entering a new period of collaboration and cooperation by the major telecom operators. For most of the last 15 years or more, the big guys have eyed each other warily as global competitors unwilling to share anything that might sacrifice a competitive advantage. But as Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) CTO Ulf Ewaldsson told me yesterday, the greater threat posed by Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), and other Internet players has prompted telecom players to pull together a bit more. This would be the time for collaboration on telecom-specific open source projects.

Add to all of that the need to move forward and figure out how to orchestrate and manage networks in the transition to NFV so that transition can happen quickly and get telecom operators to the point where they can roll out new services quickly. I think that gets you to the point where a change in process can be the answer.

The notion of converting ZOOM to a full open-source project may be a goofy one but it seems to my journalist brain (i.e. not an engineer's) that it's worth discussing.

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

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
6/5/2014 | 4:29:33 PM
Cooperation among competitors
It makes sense for companies who are otherwise competitors to cooperate on technology and business processes that don't provide strategic business value. 
Carol Wilson
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
6/4/2014 | 5:06:39 PM
Re: Open collaboration is the future

My response is coming post-dinner in Nice. We are happy to host the debate over whether ZOOM should be an open-source project or not. I appreciate the Forum's approach and its understanding of the necessary changes in the standards process. I'm just wondering if an even more radical step is needed.
User Rank: Light Beer
6/4/2014 | 12:51:37 PM
Open collaboration is the future
Hi Carol, between the TM Forum Live! conference and a dinner, I wanted to add that yes indeed, the NFV/ZOOM program will provide open interfaces/models and best practise. And yes, the Forum as a whole is moving in this direction, we have taken the first steps and will take additional steps in this direction over the months to come.

One of the things that have become increasingly more clear is that time spent on standardizing things for years, delivering it to the industry to later discover that it doesn't solve real world problems in a good way, is over. It takes far too long with a risk of delivering the wrong results. The new model is much more agile (as in fail fast and correct what didn't work) and focused on understanding the issues, identifying the design pattern, develop the frameworks and best practise, and when this is proven by being adopted have it become a standard.

One of many things I have noted this week in Nice, is that decision makers both within service providers and software vendors are embracing this model. 

Exactly how to move ZOOM forward, is an area where we welcome a debate!
More Blogs from Rewired
AT&T has invested more in the US than any other firm in the past four years, but is its capex shrinking? Yes, no, maybe, for many reasons.
So North America is out of IPv4 addresses – that's incredibly anti-climactic. Unless it isn't, in which case you're in trouble.
As Masergy discovered, even working aggressively to make the business case for NFV in virtual CPE doesn't mean it's the answer everywhere.
AT&T, Verizon, NTT, Telefónica, CableLabs, Cox and Masergy are all bringing a real-world view of their NFV deployments to date to Dallas next week.
When even social service benefits require online access, 365 Data Centers is helping one Bay Area agency keep its clients connected.
From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Interviews
Top Tips for FTTH Operators

10|8|15   |   02:26   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Ventura Team co-founder Richard Jones talks about some of the key business case considerations for FTTH network operators.
LRTV Interviews
M-net Calls for FTTx Unity

10|8|15   |   03:45   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe event, Jörn Schoof from M-net, the Munich city network operator, calls for industry collaboration on fiber broadband access rollouts.
LRTV Documentaries
The Business Case Challenge for NFV

10|7|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Virtual CPE is one of the early success stories for network functions virtualization, as service providers are finding flexible, programmable CPE solves a lot of logistics problems and reduces their cost. But even here, Masergy Communications faced a business case challenge, says CTO Tim Naramore.
LRTV Interviews
JT Offers Some Gigabit Lessons

10|7|15   |   4:08   |   (1) comment

Barna Kutvolgyi, managing director, Global Consumer, at JT, the incumbent operator on the island of Jersey, talks about how other service providers can learn from his company's gigabit broadband rollout experiences.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Network Security in a Gigabit World

10|6|15   |   05:52   |   (0) comments

Masergy's James Harrison talks about some of the network security and data center issues network operators need to consider as they expand their broadband services portfolios.
LRTV Documentaries
Telefónica: In Search of Virtual Simplicity

10|5|15   |   07:30   |   (0) comments

Francisco-Javier Ramon Salguero, head of Telefónica's NFV initiative, admits virtualization initially means greater complexity, but with the right abstraction layer, it is possible to create a services-driven network architecture. He explains how Telefónica's current trials and initiatives are aimed at doing that, and what his company and other carriers need to ...
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe Takeaways

10|5|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Participants from the inaugural Gigabit Europe event in Munich share their key takeaways from the conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Urges Women to Take Advantage of Their Seat at the Table

10|5|15   |   4:27   |   (1) comment

Have inclusive and constructive conversations, attach a bigger meaning to your work and get involved in the cause, Intel's Monique Hayward advises women in comms.
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Sonus Shakes Up SD-WAN

10|2|15   |   7:22   |   (0) comments

Sonus CTO Kevin Riley sat down with Light Reading to discuss the trajectory of the company, its SDN ambitions and why Sonus is taking a market-disruptive approve to SD-WAN.
LRTV Interviews
CityFibre's Gigabit Vision

10|1|15   |   03:18   |   (1) comment

Mark Collins, director of Strategy & Public Affairs at competitive UK city network operator CityFibre, talks about his company's plans to help build Gigabit Cities.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Network appliances have a strong value proposition in today's networks and will continue to do so in the NFV and SDN-enabled networks of tomorrow.
Hot Topics
Eurobites: Dunroamin'
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 10/2/2015
M&A Speculation Swirls Around Juniper
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/6/2015
Cisco's Chambers Rules Out Political Bid
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/6/2015
Infinera Fleshes Out Its Metro 100G Story
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/7/2015
AT&T Gets Green Light for VoWiFi
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/7/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
"What?! I'm on with Finisar about their stock price tanking" Click Here