Table of Contents
This SPIE will focus on the operations aspect of Step Two, or what has quickly become known as operationalizing network function virtualization (NFV).
Yes, precedent dictates that we start any operational discussion with Step One. However, these are unusual times. The future of the communications industry is nothing if not about thinking and operating differently. Therefore, we begin this report with Step Two: operationalizing the concepts and promise of the Virtual Network. Besides, the first step has already been taken. Step One set out to prove that previously proprietary, hardware-based network functions could indeed be virtualized, and that they could operate in live network configurations. The industry has gone about as far as it needs to go with Step One by creating and executing hundreds of proofsof-concept (POC) that show communications service providers (CSPs) that their network equipment can be virtualized. That is the easy part. Organizing one’s business, operations and culture around virtualization is the challenge that lies ahead. This is the hard part, and the focus of Step Two.
It is becoming clear that the operations software market is at a crossroads. CSPs have relied on and survived on a kluge of point solutions in their back offices for the last years. In doing so, they struggled the whole time with expensive and incomplete integration issues and the costly, inflexible practice of operating each new service with its own silo of support solutions. Though far from doing so optimally, these systems nonetheless must be credited with helping CSPs:
- Manage the transition to IP-based networks
- Overcome forced competition in the era of Competitive Local Exchange Carriers
- Support the birth and adolescence of wireless voice and data services
- Experiment with IP Multimedia Subsystems infrastructure
- Enable broadband video and other on-demand services
Unfortunately, legacy Operations, Orchestration, Data Analysis & Monetization (ODAM) systems (Stratecast’s new terminology for the modern, data-driven evolution of OSS/BSS) will not be able to support the next challenge tied to meeting the real-time and complex needs of virtualization.
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