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AT&T getting ready to release its virtualisation automation software

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July 14, 2016

Without making too much noise, engineers and its technical staff at AT&T have been very busy in the last six months.

Earlier today, AT&T said it's getting ready to release its virtualisation automation software, amounting to more than eight million lines of code.

Dubbed ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy platform), the software will soon land at the Linux Foundation, and some have been anticipating its arrival with interest.

The wireless and landline carrier says the platform is the basis for its target to virtualise up to 75 percent of its network by 2020, something chief strategy officer John Donovan says is necessary to respond to huge and unpredictable traffic growth on its system.

The promise to set ECOMP free was first made in March, with AT&T saying the release would include software defined networking (SDN), WAN optimisation tools, virtual machine management and cloud service management.

An as-yet-unnamed third party has been engaged to provide overall support for the platform, and Donovan says other carriers have responded positively to ECOMP.

ECOMP's role is virtual network function (VNF) automation, and it sits in the same segment as existing management and orchestration (MANO) efforts like ETSI's Open Source MANO and the yet-to-go-live Open Orchestrator project.

Naturally, ECOMP also runs similar operations to proprietary systems from the vendors that already supply the carrier market-– Cisco has its Elastic Services Controller, Ericsson has Cloud Manager, Juniper has Contrail Cloud, etc.

That might make ECOMP look like a threat to the other major carriers but in talking to us, Donovan said there's been no push-back, and he was calm when he said that. He sounded assured and confident.

And that's not surprising to us, since in a network as large as AT&T's, multivendor architectures will be an eternal reality.

It's more problematic for the other open source efforts, since AT&T says what it will be publishing is a mature and field-hardened code base. We'll keep you informed on these and other developments.

Source: AT&T.

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