This week at The New IP news desk, data models, IoT, NFV and open source "Cookie Lickers" caught our eye for the weekly news roundup.
Yes, it's true. Data models, which used to be droll or down in the weeds, have suddenly made a comeback as they are going to be key in keeping all the moving parts of a New IP network moving like a well-oiled virtual machine.
Carol Wilson, Light Reading editor at large, writes today: "A debate is raging over whether solving the management and orchestration challenge of virtualization requires a common information model -- or whether the effort to create such a thing will actually hinder process." (See Can Telecom Unite on Info Models for NFV?)
To fuel the argument, today on The New IP, Mark Cummings, CTO of Orchestral Networks, takes the approach that existing data models are not enough and instead an über-model is needed to allow carriers to truly benefit from network functions virtualization (NFV). Who takes responsibility for the über-model development, though, is up for grabs. (See The Quest for the NFV Über-Model.)
In other big news, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) have decided to partner to win New IP business and get ahead of the stiff competition. The partnership includes joint 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), software-defined networking (SDN) and NFV and cloud R&D collaboration in emerging markets and resale and licensing agreements. (See Cisco + Ericsson: From Soup to Nuts.)
On the Internet of Things (IoT) front, Light Reading Mobile Editor Dan Jones reported that IoT network provider Ingenu is aiming to cover up to 30 US cities with its low-power wide area networks (LPWAN) by the end of 2016. The company plans to start with Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, and Phoenix, Ariz., and then expand to nine cities in the South in the first quarter of the year. Ingenu's rival Sigfox recently announced it has partnered with The City of San Francisco for its first US IoT network and will expand from there. (See Ingenu Races Sigfox for US IoT Network Firsts and Sigfox Motors West .)
Also in IoT, Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) has started using a virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC) developed by Affirmed Networks Inc. to support IoT services on its commercial network. Writes Light Reading News Editor Iain Morris: "That an emerging-markets operator is already using NFV to support live traffic is perhaps compelling enough, but STC's use of a vEPC is actually enabling it to make a profit on IoT services that would otherwise have been too costly to offer competitively." (See NFV Made IoT Profitable for STC, Says Affirmed.)
NFV is also making sense for cable business services according to Alan Breznick, cable/video practice leader, Heavy Reading : "The implementation of NFV should enable MSOs to launch new business services faster, easier and with less expense because virtualization would eliminate, or at least reduce, the need to install new, purpose-built equipment at the customer location. Instead, operators could use, or re-use, existing standard hardware to deliver new cloud-based and managed services." (See Why NFV Makes Sense for Cable Business Services.)
In other NFV news, startup Versa Networks is shipping a software platform designed for networking agility between branches and in multi-tenant environments. Writes Mitch Wagner, West Coast bureau chief, Light Reading: "The Versa Networks software, announced Tuesday, combines an SDN-WAN management platform with an infrastructure that lets service providers deploy VNFs in the cloud or on customer premises -- whatever configurations makes sense for the enterprise customer." (See Startup Versa Announces 'Carrier-Grade' Multi-Tenant NFV Platform.)
And finally, Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. held its OPNFV Summit this week. Wagner was on site in Burlingame, Calif., for the event and reported on all the news, but a few sound bites stood out as key takeaways for New IP readers.
First, Wagner reported that Margaret Chiosi, distinguished network architect, AT&T Inc. Labs, said on a panel Wednesday that service providers have to "take back the development," because trusted vendors that support essential networking technology might not be around in a few years -- and service providers might be better off adopting open source, and getting involved in the development community.
Whereas AT&T once outsourced development, the company is now bringing development in-house. "Because of the original Bell Systems days, we actually have a good strong base," Chiosi said. (See Carriers Need to 'Take Back Development'.)
However, when it comes to open source, developers themselves need to beware of the troublemakers, or "Cookie Lickers," who can send projects off in the wrong direction, according to Wagner who reported on Red Hat's Dave Neary presentation at the OPNFV Summit where Neary outlined problems and how to fix them. "Some people with the best of intentions engage in behaviors that harm the community," said Neary. (See Cookie Lickers, Headless Chickens & Other Open Source Troublemakers.)
On that note, perhaps I'll refrain from biting in half all the chocolates in the mixed-flavor chocolate box -- and then putting back the ones I don't like -- from here on out.
Deploying New IP networks and services requires not only a new way of thinking but also a new way of building platforms and services, and getting there is not easy, especially when it comes to orchestration.