Verizon's participation solidifies ONAP as a service automation standard, says analyst

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Verizon has solidified ONAP as the next-gen automation standard. (iStockPhoto)

Verizon’s recent move to join the Linux Foundation’s Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) project as a Platinum member firmly establishes the specification as a common automation standard the industry can follow as companies virtualize functions in their networks.  

Tom Nolle, principal of Cimi Corp, told FierceTelecom in an e-mail that Verizon’s adoption of ONAP could drive other large Tier 1 service providers to follow a similar path.

“This probably cements ONAP as the go-to solution for service automation,” Nolle said. “Most operators are likely to follow along.”

RELATED: Verizon joins the Linux Foundation's ONAP project

This is quite a change of heart for Verizon, which had previously not openly embraced ONAP. At FierceWireless' “Telecom Transformation” event last October, Verizon said that its approach to SDN, NVF and service virtualization has largely followed ETSI’s specifications for MANO.

The service provider has made some of its own tweaks to the platform, which it has then pushed on to its vendors and partners so they can support it. However, Verizon more recently told FierceTelecom that as it has begun to implement more virtual functions in its network, it saw a lack of commonality among vendor platforms.

“The vendors have to customize that for our own environment and for other ONAP members and customers and the negative of that is slowness in delivering new features,” said Srini Kalapala, VP of global technology and supplier strategy for Verizon. 

Kalapala added that in joining ONAP, Verizon “could influence the vendor community and others to create an open source-based counter and put some scale behind it.”

ONAP, which was effectively founded by AT&T with ECOMP and then put into the Open Source community, continues to gain carrier interest. Besides Verizon, several Tier 1 telcos and even cable operators such Bell Canada, Orange, Vodafone, Windstream and Comcast have joined ONAP.

Like Verizon, Bell Canada also sees ONAP as a key to automating more of its network. With a focus on automating its data center tenant network provisioning process, the service provider said it will provide its operations teams with a new tool to improve efficiency and time to market.