Looks like AT&T is getting serious with what it calls “Domain 2.0,” its new software-defined architecture for deploying new hardware, software and services. Today it announced its first list of vendors for Domain 2.0 which include Affirmed Networks Inc, Ericsson, Tail-F Systems, and Metaswitch Networks.
What’s remarkable about the list is who’s not on it as much as who’s on it. Big names like Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco Systems aren’t there. The announcement is a big win for smaller companies such as Affirmed, Tail-F, and Metaswitch who are constantly battling the telecom supplier giants such as Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, and Ericsson.
Domain 2.0 is AT&T’s new framework for buying and installing network gear to reduce time to market, accelerate service deployment, and yes — reduce costs. Although this announcement does not impact AT&T’s short-term capital expenditure plans, the service provider goliath says the goal over the long term is to reduce capital spending.
“AT&T is not revising its previously announced capital expenditure guidance as a result of this announcement,” says AT&T’s release. “However, in the next five years, AT&T expects its Domain 2.0 program to reflect a downward bias toward capital spending.”
John Donovan, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President, technology and operations, was speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, talking about some of AT&T’s goals on the SDN front: “So, what is our network of the future? It’s a multi-service, multi-tenant platform where equipment is more flexible and able to perform many functions,” writes Donovan. “And, it will be open, simple and scalable.”
Some details of Donovan’s mission statement are here. In short, Donovan said AT&T’s drive is to open up the network with a new Software Defined Network-driven cloud-based platform. This will create a more user-driven network. He also said it will result in a more open and flexible procurement program, whereby more innovative vendors might be able to crack into the AT&T network.
While this is an announcement is not a surprise — a lot of attention has already been focused on AT&T’s Domain 2.0 — I am surprised by the aggressive nature of the marketing verbiage and the rollout. It confirms what most of us already believe — that we’re moving more rapidly to a a more open and flexible network that’s not as nailed down into the proprietary systems of the traditional telco-supplier giants.