Big Names Board the ONAP Express

Ray Le Maistre

More big networking industry names, including Juniper, PCCW and Red Hat, have stuck their flags in the ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform) ground and come out in support of the open source MANO (management and orchestration) initiative that was formed earlier this year.

The Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) project, announced in February with a host of major founding members, comprises code from AT&T's ECOMP (Enhanced Control Orchestration, Management and Policy) MANO development and the Open Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O). The formal code release was announced in early April, when further supporters were announced. (See MANO Marriage: ECOMP, OPEN-O Converge as ONAP and ONAP Makes Splashy ONS Debut.)

The aim of ONAP, which exists under the auspices of the Linux Foundation , is to develop a software platform that enables network operators to "automate, design, orchestrate, and manage services and virtual functions." The hope is that the networking industry (communications service providers, cloud providers and major enterprises) will adopt ONAP as the de facto standard for MANO and help to curb the fragmentation that virtualization and the adoption of hybrid network strategies (combination of physical and virtual elements) has created.

Now Accenture, CertusNet, Coriant, Juniper Networks, Mavenir, Mirantis, PCCW Global, Red Hat, VEON (formerly Vimpelcom) and Windstream have joined and, like their fellow members, plan to contribute to the ONAP open source code base. (See VimpelCom to Pioneer 'Multivendor' NFV; Downbeat on 5G.)

Developers representing the members met last month and have identified project definitions and use cases (including vCPE and VoLTE). An architecture release that fully unifies ECOMP and OPEN-O is due later this year.

ONAP now has more than 35 members, with Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking at The Linux Foundation, boasting that ONAP is now "an integral part of all major vendors in [the] networking community."

Want to know more about the companies, people and organizations driving developments in the virtualization sector? Check out Virtuapedia, the most comprehensive online resource covering the virtualization industry.

But while those 35 might include many major and influential names, including (but not limited to) Amdocs, ARM, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Ciena, Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Orange, VMware and ZTE as well as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), it's a long way off being representative of the industry.

And, of course, it's not the only open source MANO game in town. The Open Source MANO Community (OSM) initiative, hosted by European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) , currently has 70 participants, including 33 ETSI members such as Telefónica, BT, Sprint, Telenor, Bell Mobility, ADVA, Intel, Netscout and Red Hat, and a further 37 companies that are not currently ETSI members, including Dell, Netcracker, VMware and SK Telecom. (Note how there are a number of companies that are hedging their bets and are involved in both ONAP and OSM.)

OSM recently issued its second software release and, according to Francisco Javier Ramón Salguero, head of network virtualization at Telefónica , is now heading towards "production readiness." (See ETSI OSM Issues Software Release Two.)

Speaking at the recent Network Virtualization Europe event in Madrid, Salguero made it very clear that OSM will be the orchestration solution deployed by the Spanish giant as part of its UNICA virtualization strategy and that multiple new features -- including a "one-click installer" plus support for multiple SDN controllers and multiple virtual infrastructure managers (VIMs) -- was making OSM a strong candidate for consideration by multiple operators.

Key to OSM's attraction, according to observers at the Madrid event, is that OSM's code base can be measured in the hundreds of thousands, considered relatively "light" for such a significant solution. ONAP, meanwhile, has a much "heavier" code base, building upon more than 5 million lines of code from AT&T's ECOMP development plus hundreds of thousands of lines from OPEN-O.

There has been talk of further consolidation in the years ahead, with ONAP and OSM potentially aligning. Just now, though, it looks like there's a race to attract the most industry support and remain relevant as major networking companies decide which MANO platform best suits their needs. (See NFV's Major Movements.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, International Group Editor, Light Reading for TechX365.

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