SANTA CLARA -- Open Networking Summit -- ONAP took a final curtain call at the Open Networking Summit Thursday morning when AT&T's Chris Rice and Yang Zhiqiang, the deputy general manager of the China Mobile Research Institute, took to the stage for the conference's final keynote.
It has been a busy week here in Santa Clara for the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) with the announcement of its governing board, a date set for its first release and new member announcements from companies including Ciena, Reliance Jio, Microsoft, Ciena, New H3C Technologies, Wind River and the Department of Energy (DoE). (See ONAP Announces Code Release, Officers, New Members and ONAP Takes Center Stage at ONS.)
The DoE is just kicking the tires on ONAP for possible use on the electric grid, according to Chris Rice, the senior vice president of AT&T Labs and chairman of the ONAP governing board.
But the fact that the DoE has reached out to the Linux Foundation about the possibility of using ONAP speaks to the platform's versatility and unforeseen uses, Rice said during an interview with Telco Transformation Wednesday afternoon.
While AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has been vocal about its development and use of ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management & Policy) -- which was earlier this year combined with the separate OPEN-O initiative, backed by China Mobile, to create Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) -- OPEN-O hasn't gotten as much virtual ink. (See Linux Foundation Welds OPEN-O, ECOMP Into ONAP and OPEN-O: Cracking the OSS Quandary.)
With more than 800 million mobile subscribers, the largest 4G network in the world and 5G on the horizon, China Mobile knew it needed to come up with a new network blueprint. Yang said China Mobile's NovoNetwork, which is akin to AT&T's Domain 2.0 initiative, was her company's vision of a future network. AT&T, meanwhile, started building ECOMP in response to increased bandwidth demands on its mobile network.
Using SDN and NFV as the two main technologies, NovoNetwork has three main buckets: new network architecture, new network operation and new network service.
The first step included codifying the infrastructure and replacing the central offices with cloudified data centers in the core telco integrated cloud (TIC). The second step was separating the control and user plane, adding centralized control in core TICs as well as offloading the data traffic at the edge of network. The final phase was building up a powerful controller to achieve intelligent routing and automatic configuration.
Yang, who is president of the ONAP board, said one of China Mobile's frustrations was proprietary OSS, which was very difficult to implement with the new network architecture. One of OPEN-O's claims to fame is end-to-end orchestration. With OPEN-O, the new OSS capabilities, which include end-to-end distributed resource management and unified integration, were included with orchestration.
OPEN-O's first release, called Sun, came out in November of last year and China Mobile is currently testing new services and functions in four cities. Even as the ONAP technical steering committee works on developing its action plan, which includes a first release in the fourth quarter of this year, OPEN-O will have its second release later this year.
"We believe that ONAP will have a great influence on industry development," Yang said. "Our hope is that the new open source orchestrator will be the industry standard of the next generation of OSS. In particular we are expecting ONAP will provide some key new features including on-boarding for VNFs and automating deployments for network services on demand."
— Mike Robuck, Editor, Telco Transformation