TM Forum members are taking the next step to create an industry-wide software Open Standard, where CSPs can easily procure Lego-like IT components from their vendors that can then be plugged into their operations environments and managed autonomously.
ODA blog series: The creation of industry wide Open Standard for a “plug and play” ecosystem
As we discussed in the last blog, Open APIs provide a great starting point for communications service providers (CSPs) and vendors to close the “interoperability mismatch”, but this really is not enough to overcome all the legacy issues and stop the build-up of new technical debt created by the ongoing operational complexity. If every CSP has its own cloud-based initiative and forces every vendor to deploy their software using that operator’s bespoke requirements, then very soon each operator will have the same tangled bespoke mess they tried to avoid in the first place.
That is why TM Forum and its members have taken the next step to create an industry-wide, industry-led software Open Standard, where CSPs can easily procure Lego-like IT components from their vendors that can then be plugged into their operations environments and managed autonomously.
The telecoms industry is seeing the power and business benefits of adopting TM Forum’s ODA enabling CSPs and vendors to simplify and speed up the interoperability and integration of software within their operations environments.
To make this happen, leading CSPs and vendors from around the world are collaborating together to create a new ODA concept of components and canvas that will introduce an industry standard for the management and operation of IT and network software.
The ODA offers a new, catalog-driven approach to OSS/BSS where the industry defines some of the open interoperability standards through:
“The goal of the Canvas is to make some decisions about what standards we want to adopt as an industry,” says Dr. Lester Thomas, Chief IT Systems Architect at Vodafone Group. “The ODA Manifesto talks about this as being ‘an open source canvas’, and what we’re saying is that there are some open standards that we should all be adopting.”
This initiative is designed to drive real procurement and operational benefits for both CSP and vendor alike, it will speed up innovation and service creation, improve customer experience, and reduce operating costs. To find out more read our latest ebook Build for the Future ODA.
Already 40 software vendors are demonstrating their alignment to the ODA by including their products into a prototype ODA Components Directory, which aims to help CSPs find ODA conformant software. These companies have mapped their software products to the ODA Components – the cloud native software building blocks of future telecoms IT and networks.
The ODA initiative is not only about vendors complying to make interoperability work CSPs also need to have a standardized operational environment for the vendors to deploy their ODA components into.
“The whole industry must migrate, not only the vendors, in order to achieve the plug-and-play interoperability that will unlock growth, enhance customer experience and reduce operating costs,” said Nik Willetts, TM Forum CEO. "In the last 12 months, 850 professionals from 230 organizations, including 100 CSPs, have been involved in our collaborative work on ODA, demonstrating the whole industry’s belief and commitment to open standards.”
At the same time, leading CSPs are not only designing and defining the ODA but have also implemented its core principles and practices. To recognize this, and to highlight to the industry how ODA can unleash the power of open standards, TM Forum has awarded “Running on ODA” status to Vodafone, Reliance Jio and Axiata Group, based on assessments undertaken by these CSPs together with TM Forum’s CTO Office.
Over the last few years, two technologies that are core to the future of the communications industry have been reaching maturity – 5G and cloud computing. Both are now being widely deployed – and taking advantage of the strengths of each is key to our industry’s future success. Next in this ODA blog series, we will focus on the management and operations of cloud native network functions (CNFs). By applying the ODA approach to the management of the network, the transition to the cloud for CSPs will truly realize the power and benefits of 5G and cloud native networks.
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