Amdocs is expecting to see a number of telecom network operators embrace ECOMP as their orchestration and network management platform in the coming weeks, as it formally moves into open source, a top executive tells Light Reading. The comments by Anthony Goonetilleke, president of the Amdocs Product Business Group, come in the wake of Amdocs' engagement by Orange Polska to be integrator for its trial deployment of the AT&T-developed software platform.
"I think you will see that the announcements coming out in the next four to six weeks will be a change of pace," he tells Light Reading. "I think you will see that you will have many more folks joining onto the platform."
Of course, ECOMP -- which stands for Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy -- is one of a handful of open source orchestration projects hoping to garner service provider support in the coming year.
What distinguishes ECOMP is not just its proven status with AT&T's network, Goonetilleke says, but the fact that it was designed from the ground up to be deployable in smaller operators' networks as well, such as the individual operating units of larger companies like European-based Orange and Vodafone. Amdocs has been engaged with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) on ECOMP as its systems integrator, and he says that's one of the core values his company brought to the table. (See AT&T Taps Amdocs as ECOMP Integration Partner and Amdocs Aids Linux Foundation in Open Source ECOMP.)
"This was one of the initial design parameters," Goonetilleke comments. "It is not just run in the big high-end enterprise galaxies like AT&T but also in the small operators. When you look at the Vodafones and Oranges of the world, where they are globally is at similar levels or higher [in total customers] than AT&T or Verizon, but if you drill down, their makeup is broken into different operators across Europe."
ECOMP is designed to function well within a smaller operator, Goonetilleke says, and match the tighter operating margins many of them face because "that is something that we thought of organically, as opposed to coming to the end of the design phase and saying, we need to make it run like this."
In Orange Polska's case, the initial applications will be residential virtual CPE use cases, which will be tested with Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX) in support of new innovative residential services. The intent is to deploy a significant segment of the vCPE in a cloud environment managed by the ECOMP platform, and use that test to validate further use of ECOMP across Orange.
Amdocs was "on board from the beginning" with AT&T on taking ECOMP into the open source arena, and had done its own open source work separate of this effort, Goonetilleke notes. In addition to demonstrating multi-vendor Network Functions Virtualization at the 2016 Mobile World Congress with Vodafone, Amdocs funded the Matrix Project, a team of developers creating open source reference client and server implementations. (See Vodafone Live NFV Use Cases Powered by Amdocs .)
It is a brave new world for a company accustomed to making its money selling software to embrace the open source world and agree to upstream any new versions, capabilities or functions into an open source group. As Goonetilleke points out, it's a necessary step if ECOMP is to be widely embraced and attract the largest possible number of virtual network functions.
"As we look at ECOMP, there will be a set of key services around enterprise-grade security, around making sure the product is functioning in the own ecosystem, as you can imagine," he says. Amdocs is already in many of the global service providers as a billing systems provider and is familiar with the hundreds of interfaces that exist within network operators, and therefore well positioned to help them deliver integration services that knit together the legacy world with the coming world of virtualization.
Amdocs is hardly assured of being the systems integrator for every ECOMP deployment -- that would defy the intent of ending vendor lock-in with open source platforms -- but the company's experience with AT&T and now Orange gives it a leg up.
Goonetilleke believes AT&T's three years of experience with ECOMP, and the 8 million lines of code it is contributing to open source, are a primary attraction for service providers trying to choose an open source MANO approach.
"This is not a homegrown garage product someone is putting out there saying, 'Hey, this is a new project, try it out,' this is basically a proven solution that a company with 160 million customers is backing their entire transformation on," he says.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading
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