Communication service providers believe open source technology will play an important role in software-defined networking. But how the freely distributed tools will change their relationship with traditional vendors is unclear.
Service providers are confident that open SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) will become the foundations of their networks. “When it comes to SDN and NFV, we are all in,” Andre Fuetsch, head of IT at AT&T, said this week during a keynote panel discussion at the Open Networking Summit (ONS) in Silicon Valley. The panel also included executives from SK Telecom and NTT Communications.
Carriers believe SDN will eventually reduce costs and create networks that can be reconfigured faster to improve or launch new services for business customers. Service providers are testing a variety of SDN-related open technology, including OpenFlow, OpenStack and the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV).
They are also testing whether open source alternatives could replace the intelligence in proprietary switches from network vendors. Carriers that can run the software on commodity x86 hardware powered by an SDN operating system could have more bargaining power in negotiating deals with vendors like Cisco, Juniper Networks and Ericsson.