Notes from NETCONF and YANG Town Hall at MWC 2014

What would happen if you put a couple of equipment providers and service providers in the hands of a seasoned panel moderator to talk about the transformative effect of the NETCONF protocol and the YANG language? Add to that an engaged 150+ audience headcount and refreshments and what you got was a great pre-dinner evening in Barcelona.

The panel moderator was one of our favorite analysts, Caroline Chappell of Heavy Reading, and the panel itself consisted of some interesting friends of ours from Deutsche Telekom (Axel Clauberg), Cisco (Phil Harris), Ericsson (Gabriela Styf Sjöman), and Juniper (Geoff Mattson). The AT&T representative (Marian Croak) got stuck in traffic reportedly behind Prince Felipe and was not able to make it in time for the event.

We heard a wide variety of angles on the subject in response to some pointed questions from Caroline. It was clear from the conversation that there is an articulated wish from the service providers for a more efficient and service oriented programmability of networking assets. It was also clear that this wish is being heard, understood and, most importantly, acted upon by the vendors.

There are, of course, naturally different opinions of the exact moving parts to build systems for this. And there are certainly opinions on who should get to deliver what to whom. But my key take-away from the evening is that the open, well standardized and model-driven paradigm that is NETCONF and YANG will take us much closer to meeting the service providers’ expectations than we have ever been before.

It was also very encouraging to hear vendors from the audience sharing concerns and quite advanced thinking with the panel around modeling concepts and how to position this for legacy equipment and what to do in the current standards organization.

And, yes, there were a couple of subtle stabs being passed among the vendors much to the audience appreciation. An event like this wouldn’t be worth its salt without it. And Axel of Deutsche Telekom also revealed his recipe for getting progress from vendors.

We recorded the entire evening, including pre-event questions, and will put it up for your viewing and sharing pleasure in a couple of days.

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