Margaret Chiosi, vice president of Open Ecosystems in the US with Huawei, says she was "never into open source just for open source's sake." Instead she says for her the value lies in solving problems for the industry -- but service providers and vendors have different perspectives on the value and also different concerns.
In the first of two articles, Chiosi, an influential voice in the open source world who retired from a distinguished career at AT&T in the middle of 2016 and then joined
Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. this past December, opened up on her views of open source and more during an interview with Telco Transformation at the Open Networking Summit. (See also Chiosi: Open Source Necessary, Not Sufficient and Ex-AT&T Bigwig Margaret Chiosi Joins Huawei.)
Check back later in the week for Part 2, when she talks about ONAP and MANO.
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Telco Transformation: You were a strong open source proponent at
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) How has your perspective changed since joining the vendor community?
Margaret Chiosi: My perspective hasn't changed moving to Huawei. I was never into open source for just open source's sake. It was more [a matter] of creating open source to solve problems in the industry, which we were all solving over and over again for different vendor products and different service providers using closed systems with little IP differentiating value. The challenge is [differentiating between] which areas [have] no more IP value and which still have IP value? For example, is there really IP value in EMS, collecting data, storing data, provisioning a system?
TT: How do concerns differ between service providers and vendors?
MC: As a service provider, the concern is: Realizing the open source component into the services -- is it better than what we already have? Or even in the future? Do we implement it ourselves? Do we purchase systems integrator services or vendor support of the component?
As a vendor, the concern is: Still realizing the open component but into a product -- is it better than what we already have? Or even in the future? Obviously, we lean towards implementing it ourselves.
I would say just participating in the open source telco industry is what is changing my opinion on how to approach this. To re-emphasize my keynote this morning, the telco industry is learning how to participate and grow open source. It isn't obvious we have figured this out. Until the customers roll these components into production, put it in their RFPs, and vendors truly contribute back into the ecosystem, will this be successful.
There is concern even in the IT space that full contribution back into the ecosystem isn't truly happening and therefore there's concern that the IT ecosystem is fragile. Look how far ahead they are in that system compared to telco. [Open source] licensing that says if you consume, then any changes you make must be contributed back.
TT: What needs to happen to increase collaboration across the industry?
MC: Users committed to deploying the different open source components and being willing to pay for the true value of that "product," versus assuming since it is open source -- and there is very little development needed -- therefore only support needs to be paid for. This ecosystem is not as well developed as Linux. So therefore, a lot of vendor enhancements will occur due to the nascent nature of the different open source components. And of course, due to the churn in the ecosystem, there will be churn in the vendor products. I personally realized this even as I worked for a service provider.
More realistic revenues in this area will allow vendors to participate in the community. In the end, nothing is for free -- you gain what you put in. Very little money causes very little to be put in, and therefore slows the innovation in the ecosystem and we go back to just closed systems.
Users also need to truly participate beyond providing use cases and requirements. They need to also have developers willing to realize the use cases and features in the community
TT: What do you see as the biggest challenges or threats to open source adoption within telecom sector now?
MC: Slow maturity of the components and the lack of willingness to be patient. Also, taking the closed systems and enhancing the open components until the open components are complete. We all need to make money and solve real business requirements -- so we have no choice but to enhance the open with specific closed pieces while the open systems are maturing. Due to the immaturity, the investment now has to straddle two worlds: closed and open.
— Mike Robuck, Editor, Telco Transformation
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