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.
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