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Google and Microsoft, have teamed up with telecos AT&T and BT, to begin production of a key network data model for next-generation packet networks, starting with the specifications for BGP (border gateway protocol). BGP is an essential component in routing traffic across IP networks which has implications for the speed of roll-out of network functions virtualization (NFV) in telcos.

The new model, reported in Lightreading, was presented in draft form to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)  last week, and could see implementations commercially next year.

Google is already implementing the new model internally.

Vendor neutral management

Working through a GitHub-based open source process the four companies started with a Google working draft to which all four contributed. Their goal was enabling a vendor-neutral approach for network operators to manage BGP configuration in multi-vendor networks, something that would allow network operators to mix and match routing hardware and software systems from multiple sources without enduring lengthy integration efforts.

GP will become increasingly important as operators look to build networks using software defined networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) abilities. Telcos are keen on SDN and NFV because it should free them from vendor lock-in, but the full benefits of that freedom can only be realized if it is easy to plan and deploy networks using hardware and software which they can choose.

Progress on the current OpenConfig data models is also publicly available in the YangModels Github repository here.

This move seems to show that waiting for the standards process to accomplish this same goal would take far more time, which makes industry agreement on what finally becomes a standard a speedier. The next focus will be on Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS).