Linux Foundation lays out welcome mat for AT&T network OS

'DANOS' code hoped to run 100,000 routers will go open source in H2 2018

AT&T has let its in-house-developed network operating system escape into the open source world via the Linux Foundation, with a code release due in the second half of this year.

The existence of what was internally called dNOS emerged last year as part of the company's plan to replace 100,000 routers with white boxes.

Ma Bell planned to open the NOS from the start, with the company saying in November it hoped to “foster an ecosystem of application and hardware options from multiple vendors,” something best served by an operating system offering standardised interfaces for hardware and software developers.

It formally committed to hand over the code to the Linux Foundation in this January announcement.

All the paperwork's now been finished and dNOS is an official Linux Foundation project. It's also been renamed DANOS, the Disaggregated Network Operating System.

According to Light Reading, AT&T believes the network operating system is solid enough to roll out in its mobile infrastructure.

White boxes

AT&T wants to bin 100,000 routers, replace them with white boxes

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AT&T CTO Andre Fuetsch told an Open Networking Summit keynote there's more open source love to come, because the carrier's wireless implementation “will be based on an open hardware design and we will make the specifications available later this year so anyone can build it.”

A “handful” of the planned systems are already carrying traffic in the company's network, he said.

In the Linux Foundation announcement, AT&T's packet optical network veep John Medamana says a carrier-grade WAN operating system is a first for the industry.

The Linux Foundation said: “Code and collateral transitions are underway as the community begins to coalesce around the DANOS framework. A first code release is expected the second half of 2018.”

In this 2017 white paper [PDF], AT&T outlined that the key high-level functional components are applications, shared infrastructure and data, and the forwarding and hardware abstractions.

The paper describes an architecture taken straight from the disaggregation playbook, with the operating system layer, the control/management plane, and the data plane operating separately from each other. ®

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