opinion


OSS transformation approaches for brownfield operators

cloud network SDN NFV

Telecoms.com periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Manish Singh, VP for SDN & NFV Product Management and Rishi Kulkarni, Principal Solution Architect at Tech Mahindra, examine best practice for the transformation of existing OSS amid the move to hybrid networks.

With the growth of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualisation (NFV), how can brownfield operators transform their existing Operation Support Systems (OSS) stacks without heavily impacting their businesses? Hybrid networks (both physical and virtual) are here to stay and business processes will need to evolve in order to support the Network Transformation. SDN/NFV is driving change in the OSS; the question is how and when.

OSS Transformation Approaches

There are multiple transformation approaches that can be adopted for OSS while the network is undergoing its own transformation with SDN & NFV. The approaches given below can be selected either on their own or a combination of approaches can be used depending on the operator’s transformation needs. Outlined below are four OSS transformation approaches for brownfield operators.

Approach 1 – Follow the network

In this approach, the operator will focus on building a SDN/NFV compatible OSS based on the network type supported. For example, if the network type being transformed is wireless, then identify OSS systems, processes and teams that are delivering wireless services and transform those first. The next network type may be wireline and it may or may not re-use certain components of OSS that were already built for wireless domains.

This is an iterative process in which OSS transformation is aligned to network transformation. It will be in step with the network where benefits can be easily shown to business stakeholders.

There are some downsides to this though; there will be a lot of re-work required whilst traversing multiple network domains and enabling cross domain scenarios will become highly complex and costly.

Approach 2 – Inventory first

Inventory is at the core of both fulfilment and assurance in traditional environments, and drives most of capacity and change management processes. It is a central point from where provisioning processes and assurance processes exchange critical data but it is also an area where providers have seen a lot of business process issues (data quality, inventory not in sync with network, inventory reports etc.).

One of the most common issues is the level of data modelling done in the inventory systems today, making them extremely heavy and static – resulting in longer time to market for any new product/service launch.

This approach transforms the inventory system and the corresponding processes first using abstraction and federation principles, and then moves onto other systems in OSS stack to imbibe these principles.

Approach 3 – Parallel build

This approach is to have the strategic OSS stack built (multiple layers) suitable for all domains, test service by service and cut-over from a legacy stack. There will be a period of time when both legacy and strategic stacks will operate in parallel across all domains.

This approach will ensure a strategic stack is available right from the start. This will also mean OSS functionalities that are not necessary can be removed altogether by cutting them off from the service management cycle. An easier path to take from the outset but execution may take longer compared to other approaches.

Approach 4 – A Greenfield approach

SDN/NFV will enable service providers to launch new products and services at a much more rapid pace; a greenfield approach in launching these products will provide an edge over modifying traditional monolithic IT – in terms of reaching out to the customers much faster and quick turnaround in incorporating the changes that customers ask for (fail-fast-recover-fast).

This Greenfield stack will be a micro-services based, light-weight platform which can be spawned for every individual product type supporting only the product-related new data, process and integrations while all the existing data can be federated from the legacy required for cross domain fulfilment and assurance scenarios.

The lifecycle of this stack can be restricted to product trials and pilots providing necessary time for service providers to prepare their strategic stacks for the successful products. Having this Greenfield stack supporting the product pilots will also provide an out-of-the-box library and configuration items for enabling the strategic stack, accelerating the commercial launch.

In conclusion, depending on the business drivers and network transformation strategy, brownfield operators should carefully tailor their OSS transformation approach; there is no one size to fit all. An integrated approach combining people, processes and technology would make the transformation much smoother.

 

Manish Singh-hres (Copy)Manish is a well-respected industry leader with over 20 years of experience and specializes in Wireless Networks. For three consecutive years, he served on the Small Cell Forum Executive Board. Manish currently heads Tech Mahindra’s SDN & NFV business initiative. Before joining Tech Mahindra, Manish served as Radisys’ CTO where he spearheaded the company’s new strategic initiatives in SDN, NFV and VoLTE. Prior to Radisys, Manish was the VP of Product Management and Marketing at Continuous Computing, where he led the company’s spectacular growth in Small Cells and DPI.

 

RishiRishi Kulkarni is a Principal Solution Architect in Tech Mahindra’s telecom solutioning and consulting group. He has been involved in large transformations, architecture consulting and full lifecycle implementations of commercial OSS solutions across multiple wireline and wireless network technologies for more than 15 years.

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