Orange First to Test AT&T's ECOMP

France's Orange announced today it will be the first network operator to test AT&T's ECOMP network management and orchestration platform. The announcement gives extra momentum to ECOMP as it moves into open source, under the auspices of the Linux Foundation. (See Orange to Test AT&T's ECOMP and AT&T Offers 'Mature' ECOMP as Open Source MANO.)

Orange (NYSE: FTE) has already invested significant time in exploring ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), including intensive workshops and work in the Orange Labs, and is now ready to test ECOMP with a specific use case in one of Orange's European operations, said Laurent Leboucher, vice-president of APIs and digital ecosystems at Orange.

"We believe we share with AT&T in terms of a vision and we believe it is a good time to put hands on," he said. "We will do that in a very Agile mode and if it is successful, we will go through a field trial, and if it is successful, we go beyond. We go step by step."

Orange and AT&T have already taken steps to come together, announcing collaboration efforts on open source and standardization initiatives intended to speed up development of NFV and SDN standards. (See AT&T, Orange Unite to Press for SDN, NFV Standards.)

Leboucher says Orange is already pushing ahead on NFV and SDN using "other solutions," which he declined to name, but which apparently are mostly point solutions. He described ECOMP as "the most comprehensive" approach to management and network orchestration (MANO) Orange has seen and called it "very compelling." That is fueling Orange's decision to test it on specific use cases.

"What solutions like ECOMP can provide is full complete methodology that will enforce and create agility in a DevOps way, including all the cycle from design, engineering and operations," he tells Light Reading in an interview. At the same time, he adds, Orange isn't holding back on its NFV/SDN deployments by waiting for one single solution to MANO issues, but has been pushing ahead on the virtualization front.

Want to know more about NFV and open source strategies? Check out our dedicated NFV content channel here on Light Reading.

AT&T is in the process of working through the details of releasing the 8.5 million lines of code that comprise ECOMP into open source, working through the Linux Foundation, and being able to announce another carrier's involvement is a major step forward, says Chris Rice, senior vice president of Domain 2.0 architecture and design for AT&T.

"Orange has been very thorough, is still being very thorough, in their evaluation," he says.

AT&T is doing outreach with other service providers and with vendors, as well, to help build the community that ECOMP will need as an open source project. Both Leboucher and Rice state the importance of having a community to support ECOMP as an open source project for things to work out going forward.

Rice says AT&T is still doing through its due diligence with the Linux Foundation on making ECOMP open source, and working on that business case. He expects things to be finalized in early 2017.

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

inkstainedwretch 9/15/2016 | 5:11:53 PM
Next step Would one of the next steps be devising a set of common VNFs?

--Brian Santo
cnwedit 9/15/2016 | 10:08:58 AM
Re: Bold move! Ray,

I agree this once would have happened behind closed doors...if at all I think it's a positive indication that these large operators are embracing the reality of open source and not just using it as a wrapper to pretty-up their projects.

Working out in the open is a potential risk but clearly for these folks the potential rewards are greater. The community is crucial to ECOMP's success as an open source project and that means we'll need to see more announcements like this from other operators and other vendors. 
[email protected] 9/15/2016 | 9:50:19 AM
Bold move! It's very interesting that this has been made public - and positive.

Because what happens next? Orange and AT&T have alreadyt taken a number of steps that has taken them this far -- very encouraging.

But what if there isn't a next step? IN the past, I think that would have been a problem. But surely AT&T is seeking feedback and input from Orange in this process: Even if Orange doesn't take ECOMP to a commercial conclusion, both companies will gain from this process and end up being wiser.

IN the past I suspect this would all have happened behind closed doors -- it's good this is happeneing out in public and acting as a catalyst for the indyustry.


re Orange and MANO -- in its initial NFV-based services offering for SMEs it was using Activiti for orchestration and UBIqube as the VNF manager. 

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