The Linux Foundation today announced that OPEN-O and ECOMP are merging into the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP).
Both OPEN-O (the Open Orchestrator Project) and ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management & Policy) aimed to guide the creation, deployment, management and other issues related to open source virtual network functions. OPEN-O was announced at Mobile World Congress a year ago today by the Linux Foundation. ECOMP was an AT&T project until it was transitioned to open source under the Linux Foundation at the beginning of the month.
Specifically, OPEN-O, ECOMP and ETSI's OSM were seen as competitive or overlapping solutions in the NFV Management and Orchestration (MANO) sector, but combining OPEN-O and ECOMP could lead to more service provider adoption for both as well as a clearer path for vendors.
While Orange (NYSE: FTE) and BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) (NYSE/Toronto: BCE) joined the ECOMP roster, OPEN-O was backed by Chinese vendors and service providers, including Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) and China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA).
The rationale behind OPEN-O, ECOMP and, now, ONAP is that open source virtual network functions created with universal buy-in will both ease carriers’ internal operations and enable structures to evolve to that are common to all carriers, vendors and their ecosystems.
The category could be severely hampered if such a structure doesn’t materialize.
“The most important thing is that harmonization is critical for mass adoption in the carrier network space,” Arpit Joshipura, general manager for networking and orchestration for the Linux Foundation, told Telco Transformation. “The next most important thing about the announcement is that the top operators and vendors globally are coming together.”
The merger will overlap its two antecedents without being duplicative, according to Joshipura.
“As we will operate under the Linux Foundation governance, we believe it is a question of building on top of the architecture jointly versus choosing an approach,” Joshipura wrote in an email to Telco Transformation. “Remember, OPEN-O covers orchestration but ECOMP covers control, management, policies, analytics, design and other topics.”
This universality is important today and will grow more vital as emerging technologies create demand for services that freely cross carrier, national and geographic boundaries.
“It is an enabler of the IoT and 5G,” Joshipura said. “When 5G comes along there are going to be billions of connected devices, which inherently requires network automation. This is the framework that will allow carriers to do this globally.”
Speaking as a guest on a Telco Transformation radio show
Thursday morning, James Crawshaw, senior analyst of OSS/BSS Transformation at Heavy Reading, said he was somewhat surprised by the merger of OPEN-O and ECOMP, but also remarked that it was a positive step forward for the industry.
The support the ONAP initiative is generating is another sign that corporate bets are being placed on the Linux Foundation. Founding "platinum" companies participating in ONAP include; AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)
, BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) (NYSE/Toronto: BCE)
, China Mobile, China Telecom, Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX)
, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), GigaSpaces Technologies Ltd. , Huawei, IBM, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) , Nokia, Orange, Tech Mahindra Ltd. , VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763).
Timeline information for ONAP will be released at the Open Networking Summit in early April in Santa Clara, Calif.
— Carl Weinschenk, Contributing Writer Telco Transformation