AT&T (NYSE: T) today announced it will release its Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy (ECOMP) platform to the wider telecom industry as an open source offering managed by the Linux Foundation. The goal, the company said, is to make ECOMP the telecom industry's standard automation platform for managing virtual network functions and other software-centric network capabilities.
According to AT&T's John Donovan, that's exactly what appears to be on the horizon. "We want to build a community -- where people contribute to the code base and advance the platform. And, we want this to help align the global industry," Donovan said in an AT&T release. "We've engaged a third-party company to be the integrator and provide support in the industry for the ECOMP platform. And we've received positive feedback from major global telecom companies. We're excited to share more on that front very soon."
AT&T promised in June that it would release all 8.5 million lines of code for ECOMP -- a platform the company developed internally over the past few years -- to the open source community. Today the company followed through on that promise via the Linux Foundation.
Donovan explained that ECOMP is a key element of AT&T's efforts to virtualize its network operations as the carrier moves into a software-defined network (SDN) architecture. According to AT&T, ECOMP enables the automation of service delivery, service assurance, performance management, fault management and SDN tasks. What's more, ECOMP is designed to work with OpenStack but can be extended to other cloud and compute environments.
"Over the last few years, AT&T invented what we believe to be the most sophisticated, comprehensive and scalable software-centric network in the world," Donovan said in the company's release. "Today, we're letting anyone use and build upon our millions of lines of software code by committing to releasing it into the open source community."
ECOMP is an element of AT&T's wider goal of virtualizing 75 percent of its network by 2020. The company made progress toward that goal last year by virtualizing 5.7 percent of its network, and this year the company hopes to migrate 30 percent of its applications into a private cloud by the end of 2016.
As Current Analysis' Peter Jarich pointed out earlier this year, ECOMP highlights a noteworthy trend among the world's top operators: The push to develop their own platforms internally, without aid from outside vendors. "It points to yet another service provider taking network innovation into its own hands," Jarich wrote of ECOMP and similar efforts. "We see the goal of driving innovation in ways that vendors aren't -- or aren't doing fast enough. Ultimately, we get a clear signal of network innovations that service providers want, but aren't getting from their vendor partners."
- see this AT&T release
AT&T's Donovan: 2016 is a critical year in virtualizing our network
AT&T's Donovan: We'll migrate 80% of our apps into the cloud by end of 2016
Jarich: Open vs. Closed. Fast vs. Slow. -- Why are operators giving up on vendor-led innovation?