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Opening up ECOMP: Our Network Operating System for SDN

By Chris Rice, SVP of AT&T Labs

February 2, 2017

Today at our AT&T Innovation Summit in San Francisco, we announced our AT&T ECOMP code is transitioning into the Linux Foundation for placement into open source. 

And we’re not just releasing the code.  Information like documentation, educational videos and 2 sample use cases (1 on virtual firewall and 1 on virtual DNS) will go on a public cloud for users to access.  The code is built in a CI/CD environment.  It consists of 11 different modules, all set up as separate virtual machines filled with code in 1 or more containers. 

ECOMP, or Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy, provides the necessary automation platform that enabled us to achieve aggressive virtualization goals across enterprise, infrastructure, mobility and consumer use cases. 

We achieved the necessary performance, capital spending reductions and efficiency we expected as we moved to a software-defined network. With more than 2 years of production experience, this unique software is ready for external real-world applications.  That success drove the creation of this Linux Foundation project and community, leading to the availability of an open source platform derived from ECOMP. 

Like ECOMP, the goal of this project with the Linux Foundation is to deliver the capabilities for the design, creation, orchestration, monitoring and life-cycle management of Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) in a software-defined networking environment.

We hope others who join this project will greatly benefit from our work—on an even faster timeline.

While ECOMP provides complete automation of the entire lifecycle of a VNF within an SDN environment, it’s simpler to think of ECOMP as the operating system for developers to build network apps around. This Linux Foundation project aims to speed developers’ innovation efforts by giving them access to a stable, next-generation software network automation platform.  One that is production ready.

The difference is the result goes beyond simple app building.  What you create will set the stage for future network applications and services. Jim Zemlin recently spoke at the Consumer Electronics show a few weeks ago about the opportunities that the open sourcing of ECOMP will afford to developers. 

So, what’s next?

This Linux Foundation project and its ecosystem are critical to the platform’s success.  This open source initiative under the Linux Foundation aims to create and foster a dynamic community.  That means, you, the members and developers, and the collaboration you drive, will play a very critical role.

Our vision for this project is grand. 

It includes acceptance as the global, industry platform for SDN and NFV. Currently, the Linux Foundation is reviewing the code and making it ready for suppliers and developers in open source.  The project will be covered by the Apache 2.0 license.  The Linux Foundation will share more information in the weeks to come. 

Harmonizing SDN and NFV technologies benefits all communications industry members.  It takes unnecessary friction out of the system.  It gives service providers more control of their network services.  It also enables both developers and operators to create effective services at speeds never before possible.

The goal of this project is to allow software-defined networks to adapt, scale and predict, making connected experiences more seamless and valuable.

Check out the video for more information on the ECOMP platform.

 

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