Telecom and Open Source—This Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Carriers are constantly talking about including OSS (open source software) in their new strategies — but not always for the right reasons.
The telecom and open source revolution is silently working through the telecom industry; but you need to get a few things straight about the model if you want to succeed with open source.
Why Should Telcos Be Switching to Open Source?
Let’s make one thing perfectly clear—open source does not mean ‘free’ – definitely not cost-free. While open source helps eliminate costly proprietary software infrastructures, there is definitely a high price tag attached. For one thing, you still have to pay developers to fix bugs and upstream features into the OSS projects.
Don’t switch to open source because it’s ‘cost-free’ - switch for the benefits of openness and control.
While it’s a cause for disillusionment, there are a number of valuable benefits to open source strategies that can make up for the fact that it’s not actually free. What advantages do ‘open and controllable software’ offer over your proprietary software (that has overstayed its welcome)? Well here’s a partial list:
- Cost Effectiveness: Even though open source is not free, it’s far more cost effective than traditional strategies. Open source enables precise customization that eliminates the need for the costly over-featured software.
- Quicker ROI: The open source community provides project foundations. They are not tailored to your needs, but they’re good starting points that let you deploy software faster and see value quicker.
- Flexibility and Agility: Openness means no more vendor lock-ins! Open source software lets you adapt to new demands without worrying if your vendor can support particular components.
The hype surrounding open source based SDN and NFV has created overblown and skewed expectations. Even when carriers actually decide to switch to open source for the right reasons, often times we are witness to ridiculous finger pointing and complaints.
Shredding Common Complaints about Open Source
Cloud, NFV and Software Defined Networking (SDN) and the open source software that supports them have become buzzwords in telecom. Their benefits have been so highly regarded that open source expectations have been blown out of proportion. Telcos might think they have an OSS problem, but they probably don’t. Here are some of the common complaints about open source:
- There are too many open source projects in progress
- There isn’t a governing body for open source
- Open source projects are not standardized
- Not enough progress is being made on key projects
- Open source is adversely affected by vendor politics and interests
All of these complaints boil down to one issue—that carriers expect open source communities to solve their modern challenges like vendors did in the past. Telcos must understand that open source projects were not created specifically for their needs. Rather they were created for the needs of their founders.
Accessing the Open Source Revolution
Stop waiting for the open source community to develop a project for your specific needs. Open source isn’t free and attempting to outsource projects won’t give you the functionality you’re looking for.
Instead, establish your own OSS projects or join existing projects by creating a development team. One that is committed to the OSS paradigm and has the capacity and capabilities to drive the specific business needs into the projects while adhering to the openness and programmability. If you’re not sure how to make open source and SDN/NFV more accessible to your business, ECI can help.
Contact ECI now and discover how the ELASTIC Network™ can help you take advantage of open source benefits without completely moving away from your traditional infrastructures.