& cplSiteName &

What's So Great About Open-Source IMS?

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
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading founder Steve Saunders grills Cisco's Roland Acra on how he's bringing automation to life inside the data center.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
February 26-28, 2018, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
SmartNICs aren't just about achieving scale. They also have a major impact in reducing CAPEX and OPEX requirements.
Hot Topics
Project AirGig Goes Down to Georgia
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/13/2017
Here's Pai in Your Eye
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 12/11/2017
Verizon's New Fios TV Is No More
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 12/12/2017
Ericsson & Samsung to Supply Verizon With Fixed 5G Gear
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/11/2017
Juniper Turns Contrail Into a Platform for Multicloud
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, 12/12/2017
Animals with Phones
Don't Fall Asleep on the Job! Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed