AT&T takes up membership in the Linux Foundation, furthers open source efforts

AT&T has become a Platinum member in the Linux Foundation, a move that reflects the telco’s ongoing effort to implement open source and open networks not only in its own networks but also to drive broader industry collaboration.

One example of this is AT&T's Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy (ECOMP) architecture.

In February, AT&T contributed several million lines of ECOMP code to The Linux Foundation, as well as the new Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Project based on production-ready code from AT&T and OPEN-O contributors.

For AT&T, ECOMP is being applied in its Open ROADM project for its optical network. By creating the Open ROADM project, AT&T is looking to accomplish two main goals: software control of ROADMs and open hardware.

Specifically, by implementing software control of the ROADMs AT&T has in the field, the devices will be able to automatically detect and adjust bandwidth. As a result, the ROADMs move traffic to different lanes as needed.

A number of service providers are taking interest in ECOMP. Orange and Bell Canada have begun testing AT&T’s ECOMP platform, for example.

Chris Rice, SVP of Domain 2.0 architecture and design at AT&T Labs, told FierceTelecom in a previous interview that it is engaged with several other Tier 1 telcos and systems integrators about ECOMP.

“Think of what you have seen so far as the tip of the iceberg,” Rice said.

RELATED: Linux Foundation merges Open Source ECOMP, OPEN-O, further harmonizes virtualization group efforts

As part of the new relationship with the Linux Foundation, Rice joins The Linux Foundation Board of Directors. He was also recently selected as the ONAP chairman.

Rice said in a release that while the company's transition to a software-driven network has a number of benefits for its own operations and how it delivers services, the company’s work can have a benefit to the broader telecom and IT industry.

“SDN is helping us meet performance, capital spending and efficiency goals and we expect continued benefits,” Rice said. “But more so, we recognize that the open source community accelerates innovation.”

Besides AT&T, Linux Foundation Platinum members include Cisco, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, Oracle, Qualcomm and Samsung.

AT&T has a long history of collaborating with open source communities. These include OPNFV, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Open Container Initiative, OpenStack, ON.Lab, Open Networking Foundation and the OpenDaylight End User Advisory Board. The company also manages more than 70 GitHub projects.

The open networking industry is in a rapid time of transition.

Earlier this year, Open source ECOMP and the Open Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O) merged to create the ONAP Project.

In aligning the two projects, the groups said they will create a harmonized framework for real-time, policy-driven software automation of virtual network functions that will enable software, network, IT, and cloud providers and developers to rapidly create new services.