Showdown at the OpenStack Corral
Conventional wisdom says telecom network operators hesitate when it comes to deploying OpenStack as their cloud platform for virtualization. On panel discussions, including many I've moderated, they openly wince at its mention, worried that it simply isn't carrier-grade stuff.
Some folks even talk out loud -- for attribution -- about their fears that OpenStack isn't ready for prime time in carrier networks. (See BT Says OpenStack Still Not Up to Spec.)
Yet we now have Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) vying for the title of biggest OpenStack champion. On the heels of last week's announcement by Verizon and three of its vendors that it had turned up a production virtualization network built on OpenStack that it called "the world's largest," AT&T used a blog, which you can read here, to celebrate its selection as an OpenStack Super User in what it insists is the largest deployment to date.
Bragging about using OpenStack? What is the carrier world coming to?
Well, it's clearly coming around to open source, for one thing -- not that this particular transition has been a rapid or easy one. In addition to the carrier activity, there has been considerable effort on the part of vendors, including the ones Verizon mentioned in its announcement, (Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT), Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL), Big Switch Networks ) and companies such as Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Metaswitch Networks , which have been pushing the ball forward as well. (See Verizon NFV Plan Pushes OpenStack Forward, The State of OpenStack & NFV and Nokia Counts on CloudBand Boost.)
Both AT&T and Verizon are clearly heavily engaged, agreeing to discuss what are arguably riskier positions than "staid" telecom companies are used to taking on what Verizon's Chris Emmons even calls "the bleeding edge" of technology development. And both companies are stressing their determination to keep feeding what they find and develop back into the open-source community to keep the ball rolling forward. No forking here, folks. (See OpenStack, Open Source Key to Verizon Virtualization.)
At the OpenStack Summit, Sorabh Saxena, SVP-Software Development & Engineering for AT&T Services Inc. described the company's OpenStack journey in a video you can see here.
That's not to disparage efforts by other global operators or to say that US-based firms are dominating the OpenStack discussion. I expect to hear a lot more about this when we gather in Austin on May 24 and 25 for our Big Communications Event, and as one of the moderators, I'm even hoping to provoke some debate on the topic.
Clearly everyone is welcome at this particular showdown. Just don't be bringing any knives to this gunfight, such as anything that smacks of a proprietary solution.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading