The clue is in the name. At Openet we’ve always been open. Our solutions have always been designed to be interoperable and truly open. Not just open in terms of technology but open is terms of a willingness to work with others. It’s often the latter point that derail innovation in the telecoms industry. Some of the mega-vendors work deals to keep service providers in the shackles of vendor lock-In. At the same time we see the PR smiles for the camera and the soundbites that they want to live in an open ecosystem where a service provider can implement best of breed functions into a truly open ecosystem.
As a medium sized vendor Openet needs to deliver innovative solutions that deliver real business value to our customers. That’s what drives us. Increasingly part of these solutions is being made up of proven Open Source software. In order to deliver value to our customers, we’ll use Open Source where it makes sense to do so. Given the economic pressure on the telecoms industry, it’s important that we provide solutions in the most cost effective way possible for our customers. I think that Open Source will increasingly play a larger role in telecoms software. Back in 2007 I tried to convince some of our main customers to use Linux. No chance. Back then it was pretty much Unix or nothing. Fast forward 2 years and Linux was the operating system of the day. Why should a customer pay for Unix when Linux did as good a job?
But at the same time, Open Source is not the nirvana for everything and everybody. The solutions we deliver must be able to deliver competitive advantages to our customers. If everyone is using the same Open Source software does this diminish competitive advantage? From our perspective the core software code in our solutions in still proprietary Openet code. But clever software is just an enabler. It’s how people use the systems to drive their businesses forward that makes the difference.
That’s why at Openet we’ve increased our investment in our consultancy division and our Solution Consultants team. Telecoms service providers are increasingly working with vendors to come up with new ideas to fix problems and rapidly take advantage of new opportunities and enable new business models. Our expertise in telecoms business and IT enables is seeing us working with clients to build new solutions. Using DevOps and our catalog of microservices software components we’re able to quickly turn the ideas from our customer and our consultants into solutions.
As mentioned above part of these solutions involves proven Open Source software. Openet has recently joined ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform) which is managed by the Linux Foundation.
Service providers continue to transition existing legacy networks (built using physical hardware and offering limited flexibility and automation) to software centric networking. Using virtualization and cloud technologies to help deliver intelligent programmable networks that can rapidly automatically scale and adapt to changing needs. But the pace of change has been slower than originally anticipated and a significant challenge is the ability to deploy and manage the functional components of a software centric network.
Solving this challenge is simply too important to be entrusted to proprietary vendor lead solutions and must be an open and collaborative effort involving users and vendors.
As a long-time advocate and promotor of open systems and avoidance of vendor lock in, Openet is delighted to be a member of ONAP. The growing ONAP community will of course strive to improve the software and address bugs and other code vulnerabilities. The need for communication service providers to cotinine to deliver the quality of experience and fine nines reliability remain. In fact the focus on seamless and instant experience is only going to increase. This is why software quality must be paramount. Software quality still needs qualified people testing, integrating and deploying it. Openet has a proven ‘carrier grade’ software track record. It doesn’t matter is software is Open Source, or comes with a licence fee. It must deliver real benefits to customers.
There are some very high profile telecoms companies involved in ONAP and Openet is looking forward to working with some of the most innovative service providers, and indeed, other vendors in this area.
Our goal, as always, is to deliver innovative solutions that deliver business value to our customers. If these solutions use Open Source software such as Linux, Hadoop or ONAP then this is what we will provide. The value of software is in the results that it can enable. In the current and future telecoms market that means that being truly open is a basic foundation of any software development.