Amdocs NFV orchestrator aims to clear up virtual mess

Amdocs has launched Network Cloud Service Orchestrator, which is designed to help service providers with operations and process management for NFV and software defined networking (SDN) solutions.

The orchestrator has been designed in alignment with the ETSI NFV working group’s management and orchestration (MANO) guidelines, and is intended to enable increased functionality and service distribution in scale.

Speaking to, Amdocs Director of Product Strategy, Shaul Rozen, explained that the company has seen its customers requesting agility over cost reduction from an NFV solution.

“What we are hearing from clients is that it is not just about cost reduction,” he said. “Most of the talk about NFV, that we’re hearing, is about agility. All of the service providers are saying that they need more agility in the network.”

Amdocs claims the Network Cloud Service Orchestrator is capable of delivering carrier-grade services from order to live implementation in 7 minutes, after a 5 day period of on-boarding solutions and service modelling.

At the Open Net Summit in California in March, AT&T’s John Donovan fired a statement in staunch support of virtualization. When asked  by the audience why AT&T are so aggressively pursuing NFV, SDN and Cloud based infrastructure, Donovan replied by saying: “Because there is no army that can hold back an economic principle whose time has come.”

Donovan’s statement certainly seems to corroborate an Analysys Mason report from this year, which states that NFV worldwide revenues will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 73%, from $273 million in 2014, to $2.43 billion in 2018.

For those reasons, Rozen believes the opportunity to successfully interoperate and orchestrate multi-vendor virtual network functions (VNFs) is critical to service providers through the industry. To that end, Amdocs has also announced its NFV Service Partner Programme, which integrates more than 21 VNF providers and infrastructure vendors to simplify the complexities involved with interoperability.

“We have over 20 participants, made up of both network functions providers and infrastructure providers,” Rozen said. “It’s designed to help promote interoperability and standards in the industry.”

A key feature of the Network Cloud Service Orchestrator is Amdocs’ Virtualised Policy Controller, which aligns with the ETSI NFV ISG’s blueprint architecture for management and orchestration. Rozen also confirmed that Amdocs is already working with AT&T on their Domain 2.0 initiative, and will be providing the orchestration platform to the American telco.

Caroline Chappell, principal analyst for Cloud and NFV at analyst firm Heavy Reading, believes Amdocs’ traditional expertise as an OSS vendor leaves it well positioned to provide management and orchestration solutions down through the network layers to help with VNF management.

“Incumbent operational support systems vendors like Amdocs are well-placed to address the challenge of how traditional operations bridge to the new management and orchestration requirements for NFV, and to help with physical to virtual network migration,” she said.  “Amdocs is early out of the gate with Amdocs Network Cloud Orchestrator, which contains important features for next generation network operations, including support for hybrid (physical and virtual) network management through its catalog-driven approach as well as NFV service orchestration capabilities that talk to industry-standard virtualized infrastructure managers (VIMs).

“Amdocs’ support for openness – allowing co-existence with third-party OSS, VIMs and NFV infrastructures – speaks to a key operator requirement for NFV. The ability to provide a range of consultancy and migration services is also important given the task ahead of operators at this early stage of the market.”

Last month, Nokia confirmed its launch of the Cloud Network Director, an orchestration platform for NFV in collaboration with a number of industry partners. A virtual mess is still a mess and the hope is that orchestration platforms, like those of Amdocs and Nokia, can help clear it all up. However, one also hopes that too many options don’t cause a whole new mess in and of itself.

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