ECOMP Portal: The Control Panel of Our New Virtualized Network

June 03, 2016
By Kathy Meier-Hellstern

Software-defined networks (SDN) and virtualized network functions (VNF) are changing the way we use networks and services. Imagine having on-demand access for designing, testing and deploying virtualized services, with the ability to configure, manage and administer them in near real time. ECOMP is the software platform implementation of this vision and the ECOMP Portal manages these virtualized networks and services. The ECOMP Portal is a web-based control panel that applications plug into.

The ECOMP Portal serves many different communities: those who administer, manage and configure the network; those who operate and monitor it— eventually, even AT&T’s external networking customers, who can use the Portal for self-service via the web. It provides a uniform, consistent interface to users and frees app developers from having to manage applications that are not their own. Because there are many different kinds of users with various needs, privileges and responsibilities, the Portal adapts to whoever uses it, presenting functions and applications that a particular user can access.

ECOMP Portal Framework

In addition to serving as a control panel, the ECOMP Portal is also a software toolkit used to create ECOMP applications. The toolkit includes industry standard open source software—Java, common relational databases, modern JavaScript frameworks— that most developers already understand. 

ECOMP Portal Software Development Toolkit

The Portal takes care of many functions needed by web-based ECOMP applications and frees the app developers from the burden of creating them. Functions include: single sign-on authentication; role-based authorization; security functions; required logging and auditing; and dashboard capabilities. The toolkit also provides features that developers might use to build new apps:  analytical and reporting engines; visualization and mapping tools (Graphical Information Systems); workflow and rules engines; network simulation; chat/video chat/screen sharing; among others. These components have been modernized and integrated into the ECOMP Portal toolkit for developers.

One of the ECOMP Portal’s goals is to make the application onboarding process as smooth and painless as possible. Existing mature applications, even required third party applications, can be integrated quickly as plug-ins to the control panel. And over time, the level of integration of the Portal applications can be increased as business needs dictate.

While the ECOMP Portal serves as the control panel, the Portal doesn’t develop or host the applications. This allows app developers to work independently, eliminating development bottlenecks, while giving users a seamless experience.

The ECOMP Portal addresses the challenge of high growth in applications and functions that need to be developed and onboarded. It employs a flexible architecture that delivers variety of information, tools, applications and dashboards. By using a single mechanism, device-agnostic, web system, authorized users can configure, manage and administer AT&T’s virtualized network and service functions.

Read about ECOMP here and share your feedback.  

Kathy Meier-Hellstern - Assistant Vice President in the AT&T Advanced Technology Platforms and Architecture organization  

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