Less than nine months after AT&T and the Linux Foundation merged their open source projects to become the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), the group today rolled out its first code release, Amsterdam.
The highly anticipated release, which integrates AT&T’s ECOMP and the Linux Foundation’s Open-O code bases into a common open source orchestration platform, aims to automate the virtualization of network services.
“Some of the components originated from OpenECOMP, some came from Open-O; we removed code that was inefficient, and we’ve added new code,” said Mazin Gilbert, ONAP technical steering committee chair and VP of advanced technology at AT&T Labs. This includes new lifecycle management and multi-cloud interface features, as well as new closed-loop automation management code called CLAMP.
Amsterdam is modular, meaning “The platform can be taken as is — a full set of integrated components — or as module components where the community can build projects out of it,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking and orchestration with the Linux Foundation.
ONAP has about 57 members, and more than 55 percent of global, mobile subscribers are represented by member carriers, the organization claims. And a handful of major service providers are already using pieces of Amsterdam code or are planning deployments in upcoming months, Joshipura added.
Not surprisingly, this includes AT&T along with China Mobile, which was a founding member of Open-O. Before the open source groups merged, Bell Canada and Orange had already started working with AT&T’s ECOMP. At last week’s MEF17 event, Orange, also working with AT&T, demonstrated an automated, real-time ordering, and provisioning of software-defined networking (SDN)-based services, which includes Amsterdam code, Joshipura said. Additionally, Bell has said it plans to deploy the entire platform “later this year.”
The release also includes verified blueprints for two initial use cases: VoLTE (Voice Over LTE), which allows voice to be unified onto IP networks. By virtualizing the core network, the open source code is used to design, deploy, monitor, and manage the lifecycle of an end-to-end VoLTE service.
The second use case is residential vCPE. All services are provided in-network, which means service providers can add new services rapidly and on-demand to their residential customers to create new revenue streams to counter competitors.
“Focusing on these two use cases is a fine starting point for being able to provide something of value to the members, and at the same time acknowledge you can’t validate and deliver all at once,” said Tim Doiron, an analyst at ACG Research.
Amsterdam also shows that the project — merging AT&T and the Linux Foundation’s open source code with contributions from nearly 300 authors — wasn’t too big and too messy to produce a unified release.
“Amsterdam is modularized to a point where people can indeed leverage the pieces appropriate for their network at their point in time,” Doiron said. “People will use the components that they see as appropriate and a priority for the services they are trying to deliver.”
Enterprise Data Centers Up Next
ONAP plans to develop and test additional use cases in future releases. The second one, dubbed Beijing, is scheduled for release in summer 2018. It will include “S3P” (scale, stability, security, and performance) improvements, along with 5G features and others geared toward enterprises.
“The focus is on getting SD-WAN [software-defined wide-area network] type cases in the next release but also packaging the platform for enterprise data centers,” Joshipura said in an email. “Basically if you replace VNF [virtual network functions] with workloads (and we have seen interest already e.g. running Microsoft Exchange on ONAP), then you get a fully automated and a closed loop control platform for data center. Note that ONAP is already implemented in Docker containers, and there is a project to include Kubernetes as well that helps with enterprise data centers.”