Open source OSS

Last week, two new open source groups focusing on management and orchestration (MANO) of network functions virtualization (NFV) announced their existence: the Open Source Management (OSM) group hosted by ETSI, and Open-O hosted by the Linux Foundation.
At the press conference announcing Open-O, Yang Zhiqiang, deputy general manager of the China Mobile Research Institute, said the operation support system (OSS) will lead to open source software (OSS)
Linda Hardesty

Open source software (the other OSS) conjures up vastly different views in our industry doesn’t it?

Some believe that open source will take over OSS. Others believe that their mission critical networks can’t possibly have open source tools running them. There is a perception that the risk, especially security risk, is too high,

My perspective lies somewhere in the middle.

With so much brainpower being directed to open-source collaboration projects like OpenStack it is inevitable that many of the advanced, mission-critical networks of the future will have open-source in their toolboxes. Even the ever-cautious utilities companies are likely to start considering open-source in their OSS if there is the right support wrapper around it.

Not quite so inevitable is the replacement of the entire OSS stack with open-source. Whilst there are open-source projects in ticketing, workforce management, GIS, inventory management, etc the challenge will be building enough sophistication to usurp the customised solutions that customers already have in place.

The interesting one will be the VNFs (Virtual Network Functions) that sit on virtualised networks to deliver switching, routing, network security, etc. Will open-source VNFs ever go mainstream? Will open-source VNFs reach the level of capability of proprietary vendors? The vendors have a big head-start due to having an existing code-base that was tied to their proprietary hardware.

I think that it’s also inevitable that open source VNFs will find their way into mission-critical operational networks of utilities, emergency services, etc eventually. Will they also be managed by open-source OSS? Yes…with the right support models.

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