Open source is changing the way telecom standards are made and there is no clearer proof of that than today's second software release from ONAP, known as Beijing.
ONAP's Beijing release incorporates TM Forum Open APIs carrying MEF-defined payloads as the northbound interfaces into operating and billing support systems, so that orders and be placed and quality of service monitored. Perhaps more importantly, this effort represents a new way of working for those groups, notes Ken Dilbeck, vice president of collaboration R&D at the Forum, in an interview with Broadband World News.
The participating groups have overlap in membership and all serve the same basic constituency of global service providers, but in the past, their cooperation would have consisted of sharing information periodically, either in meetings or on paper. In today's world, Dilbeck notes, that's not enough.
"Now, while we are in parallel working through our process and incorporating what they [ONAP] do in our Catalyst program and actively supporting them in our development process, we are also adapting our process to accommodate the open source timelines and trying to work hand-in-hand with them to meet their timing demands," the veteran telecom exec says.
And that includes sharing code whenever it's appropriate, which can be multiple times a week, Dilbeck notes.
The Catalyst projects, which are real-world demonstrations involving one or more service providers, were presented to the TM Forum community at the organization's Digital Transformation World event in Nice in May. Multiple implementation projects were able to provide early feedback into the ONAP process to allow fast adjustment and innovation, he says. (See Unknown Document 743855.)
"What it's done is heightened the awareness of members participating in both sides to drive the requirements of changes that are desired into both organizations at the same time," Dilbeck says. "There is now an awareness at the Forum that we need to be moving at the pace of the industry. It's a cultural change, the awareness they are working to a much faster timeline, and we need to process things at a different speed. Everything is very pragmatic and practically oriented."
As part of this process, a wider swath of TM Forum's membership is exposed to ONAP's work, and Dilbeck sees more of them getting engaged with that effort. The impact on TM Forum is also notable: The Forum now makes its Open APIs consumable via Apache licenses, the preferred method of the open source community, he adds. (See TM Forum Brings Open APIs to Linux Partnership.)
"The TM Forum as an SDO, we are actively reaching out to the open source community because we know cooperation between the two is absolutely critical and it is the way the industry is moving, and we need to facilitate that," he says. "We need to take all the active steps we can to reduce the friction points -- not just this work but other work. I think there is that recognition across the industry that we need to work at the level they are working which is a code level and we need to work at that level very quickly."
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