Known as Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management, and Policy (ECOMP), the platform was announced by AT&T in March, with an accompanying white paper providing details. AT&T said at the time that it might make the code available on an open source basis, but only if the community showed interest in contributing.
“We need to know that you’re willing to collaborate with us,” AT&T chief strategy officer John Donovan said at the time.
The move sets up ECOMP as a candidate for a de facto SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) standard, if the open source project catches on. The carrier appears to be serious about sharing ECOMP with other carriers; in the blog posting, Donovan even mentions that AT&T is tapping a third-party integrator for ECOMP, implying that anybody using ECOMP won’t be beholden to AT&T for support.
Plenty of other open source groups are trying to speed the adoption of SDN and NFV — the OpenDaylight Project and OPNFV being two examples. But AT&T considers them too narrow in scope, whereas ECOMP represents a completed SDN/NFV implementation.
ECOMP is the centerpiece of AT&T’s grand SDN/NFV design, in which the company expects to virtualize 75 percent of its network by 2020. Key to the platform is the ability to add features quickly and reduce operational costs.
AT&T has been uncharacteristically forthright about ECOMP. Without sharing the 8 million lines of code, the carrier has revealed a lot of detail about what makes its SDN platform tick. That’s not the kind of openness typically associated with big carriers and signals a change in the way AT&T wants to work with other companies and with developers.