AT&T Aims to Virtualize 75 Percent of Network by 2020
In addition, through NetBond, businesses, via the AT&T VPN, can connect to the cloud services they want. AT&T researchers also are working to build systems that anticipate customer needs rather than just responding to them. In November, AT&T Labs' Advanced Technologies researchers launched a quality-of-service solution in the carrier's data centers that can detect the applications a customer is running and then automatically allocate the bandwidth to meet the demands of the applications. "For example, if you're running a video conference and basic data analysis task in the cloud at the same time, the system will prioritize the video conference and reduce the data flow for the lower-priority analysis," Donovan wrote. The Advanced Technologies team also developed a streaming cloud environment in AT&T's mobility network data centers, which means new functions can be deployed into the network almost immediately through a software update.In addition, since the User-Defined Network Cloud was announced 10 months ago, the carrier has begun to virtualize network functions and put them into production. Those functions include domain name service (DNS), network analytics, intelligent data platform and virtualized provider edge router. Donovan noted that AT&T is working with a range of open-source groups around SDN, NFV and the cloud, including the OpenStack project, OpenDaylight group, the Open Platform for NFV Project, and the Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab), which last month announced it was developing its own open-source SDN operating system. The carrier also is growing its Domain 2.0 vendor program, most recently adding Cisco Systems, Brocade and Ciena to a group that already included Alcatel-Lucent, Fujitsu, Juniper Networks, Ericsson and Affirmed Networks. There are now 10 vendors in the program.
"Previously, we had to install new hardware each time we added a new functionality," he wrote. "Today, we can upgrade in minutes rather than months."