About 10 years ago, mobile networks began experiencing massive increases in demand with the launch of the iPhone and the introduction of other smart phones. In a keynote at the Open Networking Summit, Andre Fuetsch, President AT&T Labs and CTO, AT&T says that the demand increased over 250,000% in the past 10 years. What AT&T quickly realized was the hardware-centric approach they’d been taking for decades wasn’t going to be enough, and they believed that shifting to software was their best bet to meet this accelerating demand. However, individual companies working alone tend to build similar solutions and duplicate effort, so AT&T isn’t doing this alone. They are collaborating together with other companies in a consolidated effort around ONAP, Open Network Automation Platform.
So far, AT&T has shifted more than 30 percent of their network functions to Software Defined Networking (SDN) with the goal of reaching over 55 percent this year, according to John Donovan, Chief Strategy Officer and Group President – AT&T Technology and Operations. He went on to point out that reaching this goal of becoming more software-defined than not, means that they need to figure out how to capitalize on this new software-defined network. What they’re architecting today is an abstraction layer, Indigo, designed to evolve and accelerate over time as part of what they are calling Network 3.0, a data-powered network.
When they began down this journey of shifting to SDN, there wasn’t any existing software that met their needs, so Fuetsch says that they decided to build ECOMP, a modular, scalable, and secure network operating system for SDN automation that has been in production for over two and a half years. However, over the past year, they realized that there is an opportunity to align the industry on a single consolidated effort by open sourcing ECOMP and combining it with the OPEN-O project to create ONAP, a Linux Foundation project. ”ONAP will become the global standard for service providers to introduce and operate and manage SDN,” Fuetsch predicts.
He closed by pointing out that “networking is really going to change the world. It’s more than just making SDN better. This is about connecting lives, creating new opportunities, and helping make life easier and happier around the world.”
Watch the video of this Open Networking Summit keynote to get more details about AT&T’s approach to using software and hardware to evolve their network:
Interested in open source SDN? The “Software Defined Networking Fundamentals” training course from The Linux Foundation provides system and network administrators and engineers with the skills to maintain an SDN deployment in a virtual networking environment. Download the sample chapter today!
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