Building the Operating System for White Box Hardware

November 17, 2017
By Chris Rice

We’ve made no secret about our move to white box hardware as a critical component of our network. These open platforms are flexible, scalable and cost-effective.

But hardware is only as useful as the software that runs on it. If we want to take full advantage of the benefits of white box routers and other hardware, we need an equally open and flexible operating system for those machines.

While ONAP is the orchestration software for the entire network, each individual machine also needs its own operating system.

Today, we’re releasing our vision for an Open Architecture for a Disaggregated Network Operating System (dNOS). We hope it’s a conversation starter. We want to get hardware and software makers, open source developers, telecom companies, standards bodies and others to others to start thinking about how we can all push this concept forward.

You can read our whitepaper here.

As we explain in the paper, there are three imperatives:

  • Faster introduction of technologies, designs, and features by means of a collaborative ecosystem of hardware and software component vendors
  • Flexibility in network design and service deployment via plug-n-play hardware and software components that can cost-effectively scale up and down
  • Unit-cost reduction through using merchant silicon, standard hardware and software technology components with very large economies-of-scale wherever appropriate.

We look forward to helping drive the industry conversation around this vital topic.

Chris Rice - Senior Vice President – AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design

 

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