AT&T EmbracesSDN.

Dan Pitt expresses enthusiasm in AT&T’s mission to virtualize its networks. 

I was excited to read the latest update from AT&T on its progress in transforming its network to a SDN-centric one. In a company blog post posted on Dec. 16, John Donovan explains that the telecom operator is on a mission to virtualize and control over 75 percent of its network with software architecture by 2020. How will it do this in five short years? Through cloud technologies, NFV, and SDN.

Donovan noted that this is an ambitious target for AT&T. While ambitious, it is possible, especially with all of the groundwork AT&T has laid with its increased software focus this past year. ONF has long known that the benefits cited by Donovan have been there for the taking, and our work in defining, standardizing, and championing open SDN has helped make it possible for AT&T to bet its future on it. We are especially pleased that our members and partners – including Cisco, Ciena, and Brocade – are among the players AT&T is relying on to bring this promise to reality in its network. And we ourselves have maintained a constructive dialogue with AT&T since our organization was founded.

Our ongoing work in basic technology, education, technology readiness, and consumable artifacts will undoubtedly help AT&T reach its goal, whether directly or indirectly. In order to fully adopt SDN, AT&T knows the company will need to hire a skilled SDN workforce who isn’t afraid to try out new ideas. In fact, AT&T has already started the push to hire this workforce by posting over a dozen of new jobs to its website. This is good news for those seeking employment in SDN and also creates a competitive job market for our industry.

We are excited to see a major operator embrace SDN and have a plan to implement it so quickly. When the biggest boat turns, you can be sure the whole fleet can – and will – do the same. Who will be next operator to embrace SDN?

– Dan Pitt, Executive Director