TM Forum boosting open source presence

Bill Boyle
Published on:

The TM Forum is going back to its roots with a series of Catalyst projects at the upcoming Nice event

The TM Forum held an ‘Action Day’ in Kista, Stockholm, recently on interoperable open source for hybrid network management platforms. Service providers supporting this workshop included AT&T, China Mobile, Orange, Telecom Italia and Telenor, among others.

Participants all shared results and near-term plans for open source solutions. The group identified scope for a 5G operations proof-of-concept Catalyst project to be demonstrated running at the TM Forum Live event in May this year.

This is probably the first time such a diverse range of open source communities have got together, with the intention of establishing what could be done collectively for operations. It is an excellent example of how open source massively assists at the beginning of the innovation cycle.

Talking to Capacity Barry Graham, program director for the agile business and IT program, said: “We liken what we are trying to do with Open Source now, as similar to what we did with the early independent vendors. We had to help them adopt standards to move forward – we are now doing the same within the Open Source movement.”

While there is significant overlap with the objectives of most Open Source organisations, each community has carved out its own unique areas of innovation, and the TM Forum is attempting to unify them into workable proposals with real benefits for operators.

The TM Forum looks on open source projects as integration activities – it thinks the use of open APIs will allow integration of platform-based deployments of different open source solutions by configuration rather than integration coding.

The Stockholm group Catalyst proposal for TM Forum Live! 2017 has the following characteristics: Focus on the operational requirements for managing hybrid services comprising networking and edge computing.

Graham said: “The main achievement must be building a reference implementation with re-usable generic components – the vendors do not want to have to re-invent the NFV wheel at every new hurdle.”

Onboarding automation has been cited by many operators, such as AT&T, Orange, Vodafone and others, as an unexpectedly difficult challenge and a major priority for pragmatic resolution the TM Forum claimed in a recent blog.