AT&T announces User-Defined Network Cloud, but culture change is the objective

David Krozier, principal analyst, Ovum

London, (PresseBox) - "With the User-Defined Network Cloud AT&T is looking to accelerate the time to market for introducing new services, take advantage of higher utilization of resources and operational savings, and have the flexibility to meet rapidly changing customer neaeds. As part of today's announcement AT&T identified the initial suppliers in its Domain 2.0 program: Ericsson, Tail-F, and Metaswitch for design and deployment, Affirmed Networks for virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC), and Ericsson for integration and transformation services. AT&T says it will identify other suppliers through the end of the year. Ovum expects there will be many others, and AT&T's current intent seems to be in sharp contrast to the original program's focus, which was looking to reduce the number of vendors.

"AT&T says this announcement presents a direction rather than a complete architecture or technology plan, and Ovum expects the network changes brought by the User-Defined Network Cloud to occur over a long period of time. However, in reading between the lines, what AT&T has really introduced is a plan for cultural change within the company. AT&T is evolving from a networking technology consumer, buying products that suppliers develop, to early experimentation and driving technology. The company is facing a complete transformation of its business that will change how its network is designed, operated, and managed, its relationships with suppliers, business processes, and even employee skill sets.

"AT&T was rather secretive about its initial Domain Supplier program, and now it has delivered a 22-page whitepaper on its Domain 2.0 program. Why? The answer is simple. AT&T is seen as a slow-moving, process-driven behemoth by the top software talent that it is now recruiting to help transform the company. "Agile" and "AT&T" are not words used together in technology circles today. To change this image the company is becoming more open about its vision and technology plans, talking about cloud and DevOps, and building the in-house capability to integrate and even design these state-of-the-art software-based systems. The success of this cultural transformation to a software business is more important to the future of AT&T right now than any technology deployments or supplier programs. Ovum expects others communication service providers to develop similar transformation plans."

Juniper offers more SDN building blocks, but where are the network services?"

Juniper recently announced new hardware and software products for the service provider market, and expanded its SDN portfolio

David Krozier, principal analyst, Ovum

"The announcements are significant in providing a view into Juniper's vision for future networks. It extends Juniper's previous focus on SDN and NFV in the data center with Contrail to the physical wide area network. The physical network, with its role in determining throughput, latency, and reliability, will remain critical to application performance in spite of a migration to virtualized networks. Where Contrail provides services agility at Layer-4 and higher, the new NorthStar controller provides physical network agility at Layer-3 and lower. Junos Fusion can be deployed standalone or in concert with the NorthStar controller and seems to mimic the capabilities of Cisco's nV technology in integrating the management and configuration of dispersed access, aggregation and edge devices into a single managed device to deliver operational savings. While this announcement extends Juniper's communications service provider portfolio as it evolves to automate operations, scale networks, and create services, Ovum sees a number of point solutions rather than an integrated solution for delivering services."

Mobile operator ID authentication plays catch up

Mark Little, principal analyst, Ovum

"Even with the GSMA's launch of Mobile Connect at MWC today, mobile operator ID authentication is playing catch up with financial service and online payment brands that have products hitting the market right now. The need for interoperable and global solutions with agreed trust frameworks maybe the right approach for the most secure authentication, but isn't fast enough for financial service brands like Mastercard. At MWC, the leading credit card brand announced the launch of 'Masterpass' for Q2 this year, an in-app payment solution, running over the internet, which has already signed up Weve, the mobile marketing joint venture between EE, Vodafone and O2. Suggesting even the MNOs are not waiting for SIM-based mobile identity solutions. GSMA's press release says 'the Mobile Connect service will simplify consumers' lives, offering a single, trusted, mobile phone number-based authentication solution that fully respects their online privacy'. The Mobile Connect initiative is already supported by leading mobile operators including Axiata Group Berhad, China Mobile, China Telecom, Etisalat, KDDI, Ooredoo, Orange, Tata Teleservices, Telefónica, Telenor, Telstra and VimpelCom, and will develop a service that allows consumers to securely access digital services using their mobile phone account for authentication. Whether the financial brands are getting ahead of themselves or the Mobile Connect initiative is being left behind remains to be seen. Financial brands will need to be sure their internet apps have the security and ID authentication strengths that operators' are capable of delivering, while operators will need to just get a move on!"

Ovum

Ovum provides clients with independent and objective analysis that enables them to make better business and technology decisions. Our research draws upon over 400,000 interviews a year with business and technology, telecoms and sourcing decision-makers, giving Ovum and our clients unparalleled insight not only into business requirements but also the technology that organisations must support. Ovum is an Informa business.

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