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December 22, 2017 by Alan DiCicco

A Good Year for Software Defined Access

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It’s that time of year when journalists, analysts, and even a few blog writers look back to reflect on the past and contemplate the future. For Software Defined Access (SDA), it has been an eventful year and one to celebrate.

We started with an overview of SDA, brought to you by Shane Eleniak, Calix vice president of systems products. Shane walked us through the benefits of a software platform-driven architecture, built from the principles of SDN and NFV and technologies gathered from the data center, but modified for the access network.

Special guest Jeff Finkelstein, Cox Communications executive director of advanced access architectures, shared his thoughts on SDA, arguing that it is not a telco strategy, but rather a path to success for all communications service providers. “We have more in common than differences,” was his take-away message.

Software Defined Access takes many forms was a recurring theme of the year, and Calix shared our passion for the SDA architecture at many events, including the Open Networking Summit, Big Communications Event, and Broadband Forum (BBF) meetings. It was great to see progress and participate in two industry initiatives – the ONF CORD and BBF Cloud CO projects. Both groups are working on reference implementations and standards for the next generation Central Office.

Phil Fine, Calix guru of OSS integration and network operations, passionately argued that automation is necessary for service providers to survive and thrive. While SDN and NFV get the spotlight, they are simply tools toward the end goal of automation. Many of you joined Phil and me at ConneXions for a lively birds-of-a-feather panel where we shared automation success stories.

Throughout the year we discussed microservices and containers, SDN-enabled diagnostics, and the pitfalls of obfuscating abstraction layer middleware. At the end of the year, I argued that Software Defined Access is heading into the home, revolutionizing the access network all the way out to the consumer's favorite Internet-connected devices.

Calix software platforms – AXOS, Calix Cloud, and recently announced EXOS – are making transformative impacts to service agility, operations efficiency, capital cost structures, and new revenue opportunities.

It’s been a great year, and I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store. Join me in January when I’ll gaze into the mist and make some SDA predictions for the new year. I’m looking forward to hearing yours as well.