PARIS -- MPLS, SDN and NFV World Congress -- The open source ONAP initiative is set to release code to the public in the next few weeks, according to Oliver Spatscheck, an AT&T Fellow and director of inventive science.
The plans were revealed at this week's MPLS, SDN and NFV World Congress in Paris, where Spatscheck told attendees that open source activities should help to speed up the deployment of NFV technology.
Formed in late February, ONAP comprises both AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s open source ECOMP project as well as the Open Orchestrator (or OPEN-O) initiative pioneered by China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) and China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA) -- two of China's three national carriers. (See MANO Marriage: ECOMP, OPEN-O Converge as ONAP and Will ECOMP Be the Alpha MANO? )
That tie-up seemed to address some of the fragmentation that had bedeviled open source MANO (management and network orchestration) efforts, although the Open Source MANO (OSM) initiative led by Spain's Telefónica remains a separate entity (for now).
In early February, AT&T released its ECOMP code into the open source community through a partnership with the Linux Foundation, but that code has until now been available only to ONAP's platinum members, according to Spatscheck.
Besides AT&T, those members include BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) (NYSE/Toronto: BCE) and Orange (NYSE: FTE), which previously threw their hats into the ECOMP ring, as well as the Chinese service providers formerly involved with OPEN-O. While not involved with that initiative, China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE: CHU), the country's other national player, is also a member of ONAP.
On the vendor side, platinum members include Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Tech Mahindra Ltd. , VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763).
"The code is available to all platform partners and will be released to the public in a short amount of time," said Spatscheck. "My expectation is that it will become available to everyone in a couple of weeks."
The ONAP push could help the telco industry to overcome some of the hurdles it has encountered in the MANO space.
Addressing attendees at the Paris event earlier today, Spatscheck said the ultimate purpose of "open sourcing" was to reduce the number of steps it takes to onboard a virtual network function (VNF).
"If we want to onboard a VNF right now we have to go through this cycle of developing vendor guidelines, testing, finding bugs and then going back and eventually deploying [the VNF]," he said. "The motivation is to get to a shorter cycle, whereby a vendor builds and tests a VNF for ONAP before it is validated and then deployed."
"This is about cutting down the time and cost of getting VNFs into the network -- that is what is driving it," he emphasized.
Amdocs, which was closely involved with ECOMP before joining ONAP, gave an even stronger endorsement of open source efforts at today's show.
"NFV cannot really be justified without open source -- without it the benefits are questionable," said Eyal Felstaine, who heads up the NFV orchestration group for the Israeli vendor.
ECOMP is already being used as production code in AT&T's network, while Orange has been carrying out ECOMP trials in Poland focused on the deployment of virtual customer premises equipment for residential customers.
In the meantime, the goal for ONAP will be to attract more service provider partners -- something AT&T was eager to do when ECOMP was a separate initiative.
During a December webinar organized by Telco Transformation, Light Reading's sister site, Chris Rice, a senior vice president at AT&T Labs, said that since March 2016, AT&T had been in discussions with "more than 20 service providers large and small… from around the world" about the ECOMP initiative. (See Orange to Focus Polish ECOMP Trials on Residential vCPE .)
— Iain Morris, , News Editor, Light Reading