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What to expect from Open Networking Summit 2019

We head to Antwerp to hear about the latest advancements in open source networking with a heavy dash of edge computing

Best known for its stellar work in open source software, most notably its operating system, the Linux Foundation is perhaps less known for its work in open source networking. If you thought networking was complicated as it is, throwing open source into the mix only complicates things further and I'm headed to Antwerp to try and make sense of it all.

Open source has taken nearly every sector IT by storm, but it took networking a comparably large amount of time to embrace it. But, with the fast adoption of software-defined networking (SDN) and network management products like SD-WAN, open source finally found a place in IP routing and networkers appear to love it as much as everyone else.

Unlike many IT conferences, which are generally geared around a company's annual conference and/or a major announcement, the Open Networking Summit (ONS) is more like a haven on which networking enthusiasts can descend and learn about pretty much every facet of the topic.

So, it's not a typical event where at this point we'd normally talk about how the company has performed over the past 12 months or speculate on how it will adjust its strategy in the year ahead. Instead we can focus purely on the hot topics at the show.

5G is the talk of the year and my bread and butter, and I've no doubt it's going to feature heavily at ONS. Business leaders will flock to the keynotes and panel discussions to hear how they can make use of open source as they start to deploy 5G networks of their own.

One of the other technologies that will almost certainly come into the conversation is edge computing and how 5G can enable edge deployments that can streamline the data processing and transmission for businesses that rely on raw data to make decisions. Open source technology applied to SD-WANs will enable businesses to do new and exciting things with the technology that's already captured the attention of many. I'm going to find out what these are and just how beneficial they'll be.

There really is something for everyone here -- if you're interested in it, ONS has got it. Elsewhere on the agenda, there are sessions specifically on how artificial intelligence (AI) will lend itself to SDN and machine learning (ML), too. Tuesday features a flurry of lightning talks ranging from how to easily deploy AI in SDN to how machine learning will interoperate with blockchain. If you've got a soft spot for DevOps, cloud-native networking and enterprise IT, there's something for you at ONS too.

In addition to the wealth of topics being discussed, attendees will hear from the industry's leading figures from the most dominant of forces. The likes of Huawei, Ericsson, Orange, Nokia, Intel, Cisco, Vodafone, VMware, Red Hat and more will drive the conversations so we're going to hear the visions of these major companies and their approaches to open source in their own line of work. These will then ultimately provide insight into how their customers are likely to benefit also.

With so much going on and only a few days to work with, expect a strong edge computing focus from my coverage -- it's a field I'm growing more interested in and it's one that companies are starting to prioritise too. I'm excited to be part of the conversation and tell you guys how open source will be shaping the network of the future.

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