& cplSiteName &

Real-Time Network & Service Mapping: Why Wait for NFV?

Sandra O'Boyle
4/4/2017
50%
50%

The need to know what is going on in the network and how it is impacting service quality and customers in real time has grown in urgency. Active real-time network topology is a hot topic as operators move ahead with software-defined networking (SDN) and virtual network functions (VNFs).

Structured data is currently locked inside enterprise applications -- e.g., customers, equipment, contracts, products, infrastructure and services. Network inventory data, for example, is typically held in static relational databases that are not particularly accurate or capable of handling highly dynamic network inventory data and relating it to customer site or service type.

Operators spend billions on network technology, yet for a particular customer still cannot be 100% sure, when trying to fix a problem or anticipate the impact of a planned network change, what equipment the customer has, at what sites, what the wide-area network looks like, and how a change could impact that customer's services.

With a move toward dynamic networks to satisfy equally dynamic and demanding customers, a reliable view of the network topology and inter-dependencies is necessary. Given the high velocity of network data, the number of devices that will be connected to the network with the Internet of Things (IoT), there is an urgent need for high quality data in order to automate provisioning of services as well as assure service performance, and proactively manage and anticipate faults.

There are companies that can do real-time graph modeling of service providers' network topology and services. Ontology, recently acquired by EXFO, does just that. The idea is that EXFO Inc. (Nasdaq: EXFO; Toronto: EXF) probes and analytics can measure and analyze network and service performance in real time, and Ontology Systems can align data sources to determine and quickly visualize the likely cause of poor performance.

An advantage of the graph approach is that models can be developed on top of existing operator data and multivendor inventory databases, so it's not a case of throwing out the current investment. Another advantage is the ability to map the network structure across domains from the RAN, backhaul infrastructure to local access networks. It's useful to join those disparate data sources together very quickly to get a real-time picture of complex relationships between different network or data center operations. The topology data can also be integrated with big data analytics on network elements and other performance management tools to deliver end-to-end service assurance.

Service providers are also looking at integrating inventory topology graphs with service catalogs to have a real-time view of network and service components, across physical and virtualized networks.

While NFV is a key driver for active network topology mapping, service providers see value in using network graphs today to do common cause analysis to speed up fault resolution and service impact analysis and ultimately to improve the customer experience. This could help to correctly notify customers of SLA breaches or upcoming maintenance rather than over-notifying them or notifying them about something that will have a negligible impact. Complex fault management is another area where graphs are being used today. Service providers can import multiple RAN failures directly from the fault management or trouble tickets to search for the predicted common causes across transmission, core or RAN networks.

Another leading global mobile operator is integrating real-time network topology graphs with its CRM systems so service managers can understand enterprise customers' networks and services and manage the change management processes to improve customer satisfaction through accurate change impact notification.

In addition, we also see graphs as a useful way in the future for operators to manage cloud-native networks and monitor microservices -- where VNFs based on microservices could be running in containers on cloud native architecture with standard reusable components that are highly available and hyper-scalable. Graphs and visualization will be a useful way to monitor containers and service chains of VNFs and the relationships with infrastructure and service quality, as they move around the data center and network.

— Sandra O'Boyle, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

This blog is sponsored by EXFO.

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
ON2020 has been surveying the optical networking needs and evolution strategies of leading network operators and is ready to share the results at ECOC 2017.
Just a few years ago, Gigabit mobile broadband was almost unthinkable. In 2017 it will be a reality.
Despite some challenges ahead, the utility sector remains a promising one for LPWA, not least because utilities themselves are seeing the benefits of becoming more digital throughout their operations, and because of the increasing coverage of networks and availability of key enabling components, such as communications modules from a broadening ecosystem.
Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is offering cable multiple system operators (MSOs) a leg up in the market, offering solutions other than fiber, such as DOCSIS 3.1; however, it is not without its challenges.
Widespread deployment of 100G connections in data centers and across networks is driving demand for 400G solutions and funding development of 400G components.
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
VMWare VP Brings Women Up With Her

8|16|17   |   6:49   |   (1) comment


It's an art and a science to make mentorship, inclusive leadership, diversity and promotion of high-potential women work, says Honore' LaBourdette, vice president of Global Market Development at VMWare.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Spectrum Wars – The Recap

8|15|17   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Service provider 3 has filed a lawsuit against Ofcom over 5G spectrum auction in the UK.
LRTV Custom TV
Say What? Facebook Unleashes AI Anarchy – The Recap

8|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


A recap of the week's talking points on Light Reading's sister site, telecoms.com. Facebook AI programmers had a bit of a brain-fade as they allowed one of its AI applications to invent its ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu's Women Band Together to Help Girls Do STEM

8|2|17   |   9:35   |   (1) comment


Supporting women both inside and outside of Fujitsu is a top priority of the telecom vendor. Yanbing Li, Fujitsu Network Communication's director of System Software Development & Delivery, shares why it's important, but why there's still a long road ahead.
LRTV Custom TV
If You're Not First, You're Last – The Recap

7|31|17   |   08:18   |   (1) comment


In case you missed it, Amazon's 1% stock increase helped Jeff Bezos dethrone Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Also, Taiwanese electronics manufacturer
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (10) comments


AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Intel CEO Leaves Trump Biz Advisory Board
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/15/2017
Are Cord-Cutting's Days Numbered?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 8/14/2017
Analyst Nolle: Fundamental Errors Plague NFV
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/11/2017
Snapchat Misses Estimates, Eyes Reality Shows
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 8/11/2017
Orchestration Startup UBiqube Pivots Away From NFV
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/15/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Animals with Phones
We Know a Tough Day When We See One Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.