BARCELONA, Spain — AT&T now has more than 80 zones in its AT&T Integrated Cloud (AIC), according to Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs and chief technology officer. AIC, which runs on OpenStack, forms the foundation for its network virtualization efforts.
“AIC zones are the physical locations around the world where we run virtual network functions,” writes Fuetsch in an AT&T corporate blog. “AIC is how we’re bringing the network to the cloud. We have more than 80 AIC zones now, and we plan to have over 100 by the end of the year.”
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AT&T did beat its 30 percent virtualization goal for 2016, reaching 34 percent. Its 2017 goal is to virtualize 55 percent of its network.
AT&T just last week announced that its Enhanced Control, Orchestration, and Management Platform (ECOMP) was merging with the Open-O project, bringing the two open source projects together under the new name Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP).
ONAP’s work aims to create a comprehensive framework for software automation of virtual network functions (VNFs). In addition to AT&T, other major carriers that belong to ONAP include China Mobile and China Telecom.
“In fact, at its inception, ONAP carriers serve up to an estimated 40 percent of global mobile subscribers,” writes Fuetsch.
During a meeting with journalists at Mobile World Congress today, a panel of AT&T executives were asked if they had any qualms about open sourcing their ECOMP code (now part of ONAP) given that their competitors can now use that code.
Chris Rice, SVP of AT&T Labs’ Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design, said, “We did open source the complete framework.” However, the carrier did not open source certain things that are specific to its relationship with customers. “We didn’t open source AT&T policies; we didn’t release certain algorithms for key metrics; we didn’t release what we put in our catalog,” said Rice.
AT&T Chief Strategy Officer John Donovan added, “We have to innovate faster than others can copy. We accept that challenge.”
Reiterating what other AT&T executives said a couple of weeks ago, Donovan said AT&T decided to open source ECOMP because it needs to take advantage of the rich talent of open source coders from around the world. “The whole industry needs to move,” he said. “It’s too big an ecosystem to move in a proprietary fashion. This industry needs to know how open source works. We needed all the ecosystem support partners and integrators.”
Donovan said ONAP is the largest open source project the Linux Foundation has ever undertaken, and it also will probably be among the fastest projects it’s ever hosted.