Sprint’s participation is noteworthy in that the company has been particularly coy about its plans regarding software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). The Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD) Project appears to be the first major open source group — looking specifically at networks — that Sprint has ever joined.
“Through the contribution of our own open source code for CUPS and SDN, we appreciate the power of the community-driven co-development process and encourage its rapid adoption throughout the mobile industry,” said Ron Marquardt, vice president of technology at Sprint, in a statement.
CUPS refers to control and user plane separation, and in this context, likely refers to the CUPS being applied to the evolved packet core (EPC) nodes. SDxCentral could not find a previous instance of Sprint discussing CUPS and, at deadline, Sprint had not responded to a request for more details.
Deutsche Telekom, in contrast, has been an overt advocate of open source technology, including OpenStack, one of the open source elements adopted by the CORD Project.
Other members of the CORD Project include AT&T, China Unicom, Comcast, Google, SK Telecom, and Verizon, as well as vendors such as Cisco, Fujitsu, Intel, NEC, and Samsung.
ONF’s CORD Summit
The announcement was made as the Open Networking Summit (ONS) is about to open in Santa Clara, California. Part of the festivities will be a set of demonstrations running during a CORD-themed “mini-summit” that include:
“Central Office in a Day,” which will showcase how a complete CORD-based carrier central office can be constructed and begin offering services within a few hours, a feat that would typically take months using legacy technologies.
“Rapid Service Enablement,” which will exhibit the ease of crafting new services and the power of the micro-service architecture enabled as part of CORD’s use of the XOS project (XaaS Operating System).
“M-CORD: Open Reference Implementation to Enable 5G,” which will present the first end-to-end open reference solution for mobile CORD that will support 5G networks.
“E-CORD: SD-WAN Done Right,” which will show zero-touch provisioning of enterprise WAN networks, with built-in analytics and service level agreements.
CORD is gradually gaining traction. ON.Lab manages the project, which is integrating a set of open source projects with the aim of creating a platform that network operators can adopt quickly and easily to move network resources closer to their customers. The proximity should help improve customer service.
Designed to leverage DevOps application development methodologies, CORD should not only facilitate the delivery of existing services, but it also will constitute an open, programmable, agile platform for service creation.
The trend over the last 20 years or so has been to simplify the network edge, in part by moving resources to centralized network operations centers. That included offloading resources to centralized data centers, more frequently operated by third parties. Even as recently as five years ago, restructuring the network edge to add complexity on the level of a data center would not only have been counter to prevailing trends, it would have been entirely impractical.
CORD remains a radical notion, but the advent of SDN and NFV, enabled by investment in open source technologies, makes CORD appear feasible.
“Over the last year, CORD has continued to evolve at record speed,” said Guru Parulkar, executive director of ONF, ON.Lab, and Stanford Platform Lab. “Much of the success of CORD has been driven by the various pre-integrated releases based on CORD to deliver solutions for various operator use cases.”