AT&T is on a mission to transform its networks, operations, business models and even culture by leveraging a new spirit of innovation, said John Donovan, Senior Executive Vice President for AT&T Technology and Network Operations, in a key note address at Open Networking Summit in Santa Clara, California.
A key theme driving this transformation is openness, said Donovan, and AT&T is moving aggressively to implement "the network of the future" - what it calls the User-Defined Network Cloud, a multi-service, multi-tenant platform where equipment is flexible.
AT&T's User-Defined Network Cloud is all about becoming fast, nimble and more customer-focused, said Donovan. AT&T will take an evergreen approach, preferring to build a new network rather than overlays on the legacy infrastructure. AT&T will look at new, non-traditional networking vendors, the academic community and the open source movement.
Some notes on Donovan's presentation:
- AT&T has led the way through several technology transformation inflection points over the course of its long history. This will be one of them.
- Over time, all of AT&T's network capabilities will become cloud-centric workloads
- Customers will have more control to adapt their applications in real time.
- Applications will pivot from traditional networking to cloud models.
- AT&T will pursue openness everywhere, including with its Domain 2.0 program, to encourage opinions and innovations.
- AT&T has half a dozen "beach-head" projects underway in NFV.
- At times, AT&T will develop its own solutions. For instance, the control plane of the AT&T backbone is already a software-defined network that manages the 4 million routes of the footprint.
- AT&T is actively recruiting people with skills in these areas.
One question after the keynote was "why are you really moving to SDN?" Donovan's answer: "Because no army can hold back an economic principle whose time has come"
The entire keynote has now been posted on YouTube.