Open source use case: Pick and choose

May 1, 2018
For tier 2 and tier 3 cable operators, network modernization can be difficult from both a bandwidth and resources perspective. Yet, the demands on their content delivery networks (CDNs) are increasing. Virtualization ...

For tier 2 and tier 3 cable operators, network modernization can be difficult from both a bandwidth and resources perspective. Yet, the demands on their content delivery networks (CDNs) are increasing. Virtualization can help by bringing content closer to the customer, but it can involve heavy-duty traffic engineering. Open source software code, however, is allowing for a purpose-built, use-case approach that can be cost-effective.

"Many of the tier 2 and 3 operators are interested in figuring out which open source projects are ready to be used to be part of their strategy," said John Zannos, CRO and GM, of Inocybe. "These carriers have a prioritization from an ROI perspective that tend to be use-case specific."

While the largest of operators have the ability to be active in multiple open source projects, the tier 2 and 3 companies may not have the latitude to be market drivers. Cablevision Argentina, for example, was interested in an open daylight controller to help with a traffic engineering problem in the CDN. Inocybe is helping the operator with the project.

"They are driven by the desire to be more efficient in how they operate the network and improve the customer's experience," Zannos said. "What we found is that they were able to move much more quickly in this engineering proof of concept exercise by being focused on a narrow use case. (We) built the software stack and (used) the right elements of open daylight and stripped apart the parts that weren't relevant."

The open source orchestration project - ONAP, a.k.a. the Open Network Automation Platform - is a large undertaking. The tier 2 and 3 carriers are trying to determine what parts are available and ready for consumption and how they can simplify it. The move is toward disaggregation and beyond to automation, data analytics, machine learning and an intelligent automated network.

"That is where everyone is trying to work to. They (are figuring out) the right path while balancing technical and non-technical challenges," Zannos said.

Inocybe offers lifecycle management of open source projects. The use case delineates how the platform picks the appropriate packages from different open source projects.

"The purpose is to understand the use case and carve away unnecessary packages of open source. The mechanism is to add custom or proprietary code and weave it together with the open source," Zannos said.

Management over the lifecycle of the project involves keeping current and very close to the open source trunk code. Every time the open course code is updated, Inocybe works with the customer to confirm what has changed and test to keep everything working as it should.

"We design with the specific objective of avoiding - and helping customers avoid - forks of the open source code. Our goal is to keep current and upstream everything. If (they) choose not to upstream, we assure (everything) works extremely well with the open source code," Zannos said.

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