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CORD™ 4.1 Delivers Open Platform For Multi-Access Edge Cloud

Transforming the $300B Operator Edge Market

MENLO PARK, Calif., Dec. 11, 2017 - Today the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), an operator-led consortium with the mission of transforming networks into agile platforms for service delivery, announced that Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD) has been significantly enhanced to provide a single a platform for multi-access edge.

Now with CORD 4.1, a single distribution supports all subscriber types, including residential, mobile and enterprise. This is a unifying advancement towards supporting all of an operator’s subscribers from common shared edge cloud infrastructure. Prior to this release, CORD has been available as a base distribution with residential support (R-CORD), with separate VNFs available for onboarding support of either mobile or enterprise subscribers.

CORD 4.1 comes with:

  • Full integration of upstream projects like OpenStack, Docker, ONOS, Ansible & MaaS
  • SDN control, leveraging Trellis (built on ONOS) as data center fabric
  • XOS for edge service orchestration and per-subscriber control
  • Realtime control of disaggregated RAN and PON networks, leveraging separate ONOS instances
  • 25+ different open source VNFs, including:
    • Residential Broadband Subscriber Management
    • Disaggregated Mobile Core (EPC)
    • Enterprise VPN services
  • Automated CI/CD build process to assemble a residential, mobile or enterprise POD

CORD - A Platform for Customization

CORD is a platform specifically designed to be customized to meet each operator’s specialized needs.  While CORD provides a unified whole, this is done to verify that the piece parts are well integrated and to make it easier to get started using CORD.  In practice, every operator customizes CORD to localize it for their specific needs and size it for each deployment scenario.

Service definitions can be easily extended and/or customized.  Custom or third-party open or closed source VNFs can be onboarded to extend service capabilities.  Operators can craft custom service offerings by chaining various VNFs into unique service definitions, thus differentiating their service offerings and addressing the needs of their customers.

CORD 4.1 makes customization significantly easier, with an improved build process, new service definition tools based on declarative models and by bundling 25 VNFs into a single packaged distribution.

“CORD 4.1 enables operators to create custom distributions with optimizations targeting their specific market and customer base. At Deutsche Telekom we spearheaded this type of deployment by setting-up and testing the first Multi-Access CORD distribution by merging residential and mobile service VNFs into a single platform,” said Robert Soukup, Senior Project Manager, Access 4.0, Deutsche Telekom.

CORD and its Ecosystem - a $300B Opportunity

CORD is transforming the edge of the operator network. The edge, which includes the telco central office, the cable operator headend, and the fixed and mobile access networks, represents upwards of $300B in annual capex spend by operators.

CORD make possible the wholesale transformation of the operator edge infrastructure, turning it into an ‘edge cloud’.  Commodity white box hardware can be used to build the physical infrastructure.  This includes servers and switches, but also white box access equipment like OCP XGS-PON and TIP RAN BBUs.  CORD then provides the base platform software needed to assemble these ‘peripherals’ into a cohesive solution leveraging SDN, NFV and Cloud methodologies.

CORD is open source, so there are no license fees associated with its use.  It is expected that large segments of this existing $300B operator capex spend will shift to deploying CORD and its associated peripherals, and to other ecosystem players who can provide custom integration and service creation services.  For vendors and system integrators, CORD provides a baseline platform upon which they can build their own specialized offerings.  CORD reduces R&D costs and speeds time-to-market, letting vendors focus on their unique specialized innovations.

It is broadly expected that this $300B annual spend will get redistributed as new ecosystem players emerge and the market is redefined by the CORD era.

“Heavy Reading forecasts that the majority of communications service providers (CSPs) will use CORD by 2020 to at least some degree, and nearly 40% of all end-customers (residential, wireless and enterprise, collectively) will have service provided by COs or their equivalents using CORD by mid-2021,” according to Roz Roseboro, senior analyst of data center infrastructure and MANO, Heavy Reading.

CORD - 2017 Year In Review

Release 4.1 culminates a tremendous year in the advancement of CORD.  Over the year CORD has gained notable traction, it has expanded into adjacent markets, and it has become the de-facto standard for building edge clouds.

Notable 2017 achievements include:

  • Industry broadly recognizes that the edge cloud represents perhaps the single biggest opportunity for operator transformation
  • CORD predicted to be deployed by 70% of operators (IHS Markit)
  • CORD predicted to support 40% of all subscribers worldwide within 5 years (Heavy Reading)
  • CORD has been extended with 5G mobile support, including:
    • xRAN support
    • Open Source EPC
  • CORD’s open source services portfolio now includes over 25 VNFs
  • P4 fabric support has started to be incorporated, with plans for further SDN-based VNF offloading
  • CORD community has added 2 operator-level partners, and now includes over 60+ contributing organizations.
  • AT&T’s CTO, Andre Fuetsch, has been elevated to chair of the ONF
  • Now, with CORD 4.1, Multi-Access Edge CORD is now available in a common platform to serve as the defacto standard for edge cloud transformation

About ONF

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is an operator led consortium spearheading disruptive network transformation. Now the recognized leader for open source solutions for operators, the ONF first launched in 2011 as the standard bearer for Software Defined Networking (SDN). Led by its operator partners AT&T, China Unicom, Comcast, Deutsche Telekom, Google, NTT Group, Turk Telekom and Verizon, the ONF has now merged operations with ON.Lab to create a single organization driving vast transformation across the operator space. For further information visit https://onfstaging1.opennetworking.org.