AT&T’s Networking Automation Project Is Now Open Source

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AT&T’s ECOMP Software

AT&T’s ECOMP software will serve as the foundation to the open source group in network virtualization. This has prompted the Linux Foundation to launch an open networking automation initiative to support AT&T’s open source project.

ECOMP stands for “enhanced control, orchestration and policy.” This software serves as the key structure for the open networking automation project to provide real time, policy-driven software automation of network virtual functions. According to a statement by Linux Foundation, “ECOMP represents one of [AT&T’s] most important open source contributions to create a fully open network automation platform.”

AT&T states that the primary use of ECOMP is to influence various cloud technologies, while also offering network virtualization to provide new network services. This framework will also aid in expanding the operational automation of the networks.

ECOMP has numerous advantages mainly being its ability in handling various workloads. The platform can control the capabilities of the cloud like the real time installation of virtual machines on commercial hardware. The dynamic assignment of applications and workloads into different VMs on servers located at different datacenters is also possible. Accurate control of computing, memory, and storage resources utilized by applications is also possible through this method.

AT&T’s primary goals regarding this network virtualization is the transformation of the network appliances into software applications. Many other companies are collaborating along with AT&T in the successful implementation of this project by signing up for the open network automation effort, including Ericsson, Intel, IBM, Bell Canada, Huawei, Brocade, Orange, Amdocs, and Amdocs. The program runs under the cover of the Apache 2.0 license, with contributions from the Linux Foundation in facilitating the code scans.

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Open Networking Automation

AT&T engineers explain about the network infrastructure, “We expect network elements and services to be instantiated by customers and providers in a significantly dynamic process with real-time response to actionable events.” They also defined the significance of this network automation platform as, “optimized to deliver an open management platform for defining, operating and managing products and services based upon virtualized network and infrastructure resources and software applications.”

Previous efforts like the Open Compute Project have covered such networking limitations. Their approaches were different as they relied on open network switch interfaces to transferring this software defined networking into datacenters. However, this latest open source effort by AT&T is aimed at addressing such network restrictions by automating the network virtualization.