Light Reading

What's So Great About Open-Source IMS?

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
5/8/2013
50%
50%

Many people, when they hear "open source," think "oh boy, free software." But making software available under open-source terms sometimes opens up a more powerful possibility: the chance to blow up existing models and rebuild them, piece by piece.

That's what makes Metaswitch Networks' Project Clearwater -- an open-source effort for Internet Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) software, which launches Wednesday -- so promising, says Tom Nolle, principal analyst with CIMI Corp.

As Light Reading reported last week, Clearwater is an attempt to make core IMS software available under open-source licensing, the wrinkle being that this version of IMS will be tailored toward cloud-hosted services. (See IMS Gets Some Open-Source Love.)

Metaswitch is providing the initial code, which is available at projectclearwater.org, and naturally, the vendor is inviting the rest of the industry to get involved. Metaswitch's release does not mention what kind of open-source licensing Project Clearwater will use.

Part of Metaswitch's bet is that the cloud is different enough to warrant building a better IMS from scratch.

In his press-release statements Wednesday, Metaswitch CTO Martin Taylor refers to the chance to "accelerate the promise of the new software telco," breaking free from the "expensive and exceedingly vendor-centric" IMS approaches on the market.

This approach also happens to give Metaswitch an angle against bigger IMS competitors such as Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson AB.

To Nolle, the bigger possibility coming out of Clearwater, and really out of virtualization (the dissolving of hardware-based functions into software components) in general is to redefine certain network functions, "to rework those workflows," he says.

That seems reasonable when adapting networking functions to the cloud, where the basic concept of location -- where is my application running? -- stops being fixed or even predictable.

Nolle sees other avenues where open-source IMS code could be useful, too. The nature of "4G" wireless networking seems likely to change over time, and IMS will have to change accordingly. "It's easier to do that if we've got a componentized IMS that we can diddle with," Nolle says.

His point is that it's good to see a fresh approach germinating. "I think the operators believe a lot of the componentization being done today is just taking devices and mapping them one-to-one to virtual devices," Nolle says.

The idea has been kicked around before; Nolle says he's heard Alcatel-Lucent discuss plans for virtualizing IMS, for instance.

But Nolle likes Project Clearwater because it's not based on existing products. It's starting from the ground up, as if IMS never happened in hardware and can now be crafted for the "best of all possible scenarios."

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(7)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Telco
50%
50%
Telco,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/9/2013 | 2:16:51 PM
re: What's So Great About Open-Source IMS?
There are three areas to reconcile for the developers in addition to Phil's point of GNU 1) BlackDuck for Code Licensing violations 2) Linux Foundation CGL for submission and support 3) SCOPE/QUEST for new drivers into carrier support -- Of course BrookSeven has also pointed out that the whole existing customer base has an issue with this required divergence to expand scope of MetaSwitch into UCC/OTT channels of advanced telecommunication service providers currently led by Cellular deployment of IMS while legacy wireline and cable are going with SOA.
philharvey
50%
50%
philharvey,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/8/2013 | 5:02:49 PM
re: What's So Great About Open-Source IMS?
On the licensing issue, Project Clearwater is offered under the latest version of the GNU General Public License (GPL) -- http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gp...
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/8/2013 | 3:34:00 PM
re: What's So Great About Open-Source IMS?
Well, one would have to see how this impacts the RUS firms and their monetization of the networks. LOTS of rules and regulations about switch miles and such.

seven
Kevin Mitchell
50%
50%
Kevin Mitchell,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/8/2013 | 3:16:33 PM
re: What's So Great About Open-Source IMS?
The Alianza solution is optimized for tier 2/3 service providers - telco, mobile, cable, WISP, satellite. The uses cases include: greenfield deployment (non-voice provider), initial VoIP migration, and VoIP 1.0 replacement (due to EoL gear, business case, eroding margins, etc.)
Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/8/2013 | 2:03:09 PM
re: What's So Great About Open-Source IMS?
I think I like parts of that argument. Is there a "sweet-spot" as to the the type and size of carrier, and type of use-case or end-users, where this makes sense?

Doesn't Broadsoft already do this for smaller and medium enterprise?
Kevin Mitchell
50%
50%
Kevin Mitchell,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/8/2013 | 1:23:27 PM
re: What's So Great About Open-Source IMS?
Indeed Gabriel. That is where complete outsourcing to a cloud-based voice platform has merit. Don't build a voice network -- in your data center or that of Amazon's -- use one that is built and pay by the seat.
Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/8/2013 | 11:45:11 AM
re: What's So Great About Open-Source IMS?
A reasonable argument. But who can afford the legions of software architects and developers you need? Not carriers, in the main
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
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
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
What if the Comcast Merger Fails?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/20/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Comcast Merger May Hinge on Hulu
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/22/2015
Google Ready to Release Thousands of Loons
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 4/20/2015
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment