Hammerhead Cries XML
The company's latest announcement stems from work on using the extensible markup language (XML) and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to communicate between its routers and an OSS (see Hammerhead Offers SOA).
With the announcement, Hammerhead is hoping to establish itself as an early expert at TMF 854, a TMF standard for a telecom-specific XML/SOAP stack. Part of the TeleManagement Forum's Multi-Technology Operations Systems Interface (MTOSI) efforts, TMF 854 is expected to reach a final draft late this month, says Pam Dodge, Hammerhead's director of technical marketing (see TMF Unveils New OSS Standard).
"A lot of our competition hasn't developed an XML/SOAP northbound interface. They're still using things like Corba [Common Object Request Broker Architecture]," Dodge says.
Hammerhead's technology, dubbed Pegador SOA, is set to be available in October.
Hammerhead officials stress that Pegador SOA was in development all along and doesn't represent a change in strategy. Even so, the company has now taken three swipes at the buzzword of the moment. Its HSX 6000 was launched at a time when multiservice edge routers were all the rage. Then, Hammerhead refocused to concentrate on Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and pseudowire standards, trying to become a leader in what it calls "Layer 2.5" routing (see Hammerhead Strikes at the Edge and Hammerhead Retools MPLS Approach).
Now Hammerhead is putting extra effort into marketing its XML know-how. One reason could be that XML and SOAs are making big news, with launching its Application-Oriented Networking (AON) initiative in June and recently nabbing XML chip startup Sarvega Inc. (see Cisco Speaks Applications and Juniper Takes Two: Peribit & Redline).
But, to be fair, the service provider world seems interested in the technology. "Carriers we've talked to have said, 'Do not even think of using Corba. I hope you're using XML,' " Dodge says.
Carriers like the idea of having a standard XML interface, as they've often had to work with different interfaces when using multiple vendors' equipment in a network, Dodge says. XML also offers the possibility of easily creating Web interfaces for submitting, say, QOS requirements, she adds.
Other vendors have noticed this, too, of course. A Cisco spokeswoman says the company is working in this direction. And has XML northbound interfaces on recent products such as the 5620 Service Aware Manager, a cog in the company's IP/MPLS offerings, and it's involved with the TMF's MTOSI work as well as a similar 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) effort.
"I don't know of any company on the market building a next generation IP router that does not advocate XML as the interface to integrate to a provider's back office systems," writes Chad Holliday, a member of Alcatel's Managed Communication Solutions marketing team, in an email to Light Reading.
Among the areas where XML interfaces will help first are service provisioning and subscriber profile management, Holliday adds.
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading