& cplSiteName &

Netcracker Unveils 2-Speed OSS/Orchestration

Carol Wilson

Netcracker today is unveiling its latest software release, Netcracker 12, which it says enables network operators to deliver digital services faster by decoupling them from legacy networks and services in a "two-speed architecture," that uses multiple "agility layers" of abstraction and puts key operations components into microservices. (See Netcracker Targets Latest Software at Bridging Digital Divide.)

That probably sounds a bit like buzzword soup, and there's some of that happening in this complex release, which NEC/Netcracker unveiled to reporters Thursday morning in a phone briefing and is laying out to the analyst community today in Cannes (why do they get all the fun?) But there is also a significant amount of substance -- which is likely why Netcracker calls this release groundbreaking -- to what the OSS-BSS giant is attempting to do in support of carrier deployments of virtualization and rollouts of 5G and Internet of Things as well.

UPDATE: At the Cannes event, Netcracker introduced four customers who are all using some of Netcracker 12's capabilities currently. They include a US, Spanish and German Tier 1 telco and a Swedish utility company, according to James Crawshaw, head of Heavy Reading's OSS/BSS research service.

"The common theme is that operators are using Netcracker 12 to replace a mish-mash of older systems," Crawshaw comments in an email. "But as one of Netcracker's own people said - it takes intestinal fortitude to rip and replace BSS.

Among other notable claims, he adds, Netcracker is ranking its analytics capabilities, based on NEC's artificial intelligence engine NEC Wise, as good as or better than IBM'S Watson.

You Want Complexity?
Source: Netcracker
Source: Netcracker

For starters, there's this two-speed or multi-speed architecture. The concept isn't new, but in Netcracker's case, its execution is being spelled out clearly. As Ari Banerjee, vice president of strategy, explained, Netcracker has created three "agility layers" -- one each at the business layer, the operations layer and the infrastructure layer -- that create the abstraction that enables a digital services strategy to evolve at a faster pace than legacy services/architecture would allow.

Want to learn more about the choreographed approach to NFV-MANO? Join us in Austin at the fourth-annual Big Communications Event -- the ONE event that delivers context and clarity to the software-driven future. Communications service providers get in free!

These agility layers consist of what Netcracker calls "a comprehensive API [applications programming interface] ecosystem" which will allow service providers to create, onboard and monetize new digital services. As a long-time OSS and BSS vendor, Netcracker has the capability to develop APIs to other vendors' equipment, Banerjee says, including its parent company NEC but also a broad scope of other industry players.

A little simpler
Source: Netcracker
Source: Netcracker

At the top of this software stack -- all of which is cloud-native or cloud-enabled, by the way -- sits a digital customer enablement capability that, according to Banerjee, provides "a single point of control over customer journey throughout all steps and channels." That means service providers can support customers the way they want to be supported, across multiple devices and service access points, he says.

Included in this layer as well is an e-commerce and marketplace capability, which is essentially a digital storefront that service providers can white label and sell to their enterprises, Banerjee says. The cloud-based storefront will be able to deliver a variety of "as-a-service" capabilities from service providers and third-parties, including a range of virtualized network functions.

At the digital business enablement layer, Netcracker is providing management capabilities for customers and partners, as well as revenues and products, to acknowledge the growing complexity of managing third-party relationships that enable new services and capabilities for end users.

"The business agility layer is really about managing partners, managing customers, billing, charging, collections and bringing together the product catalog, which is the single point where operators can bundle together network services with IT services with applications, and 'as-a-service' all of those together," Banerjee says. And yes, he did just use "as-a-service" as a verb.

In its operations agility layer, Netcracker says it has transformed ordinary operations management into digital operations management, incorporating virtualization operations, including orchestration, to support SDN and NFV deployment, including multi-level SDN controllers.

"Operations enablement is a key layer -- this is next-gen OSS with orchestration," Banerjee says. "It is really about enabling a hybrid service management environment."

That includes any stage of SDN-NFV adoption, he claims, from non-adoption to greenfield companies starting off as all-virtual -- something he admits is rare -- and everything in between. "We have solutions that enable you to manage your infrastructure, your cloud environment, your different controller environments, all of it -- managing services and resources under one singular solution," he says. "So through a single orchestration you can not only manage your physical resources but your MANO, VNF and VIMs [virtual infrastructure managers] but also SDN controllers from different vendors."

Value-added VNFs are delivered from Netcracker's Digital & Cloud Infrastructure, which supports a variety of VNFs, as well as different data center and NFV-Infrastructure deployments and both IoT and machine to machine modules.

Infusing all of this are analytics capabilities that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning, Banerjee says. These are used to both develop customer insights to drive better return on investment and to better manage resources.

Last but far from least is the Netcracker Cloud Platform, which is microservices-based and cloud-native, Banerjee says. By packaging solutions into consumable microservices, Netcracker will enable operators to buy the solutions or pieces they want, without having to necessarily consume the entire package. If someone wants a billing solution, for example, that can be purchased as a microservice.

Like other OSS vendors, Netcracker is also heavily invested in backing all this up with professional services and is increasingly focused on helping operators move into more agile and dev-ops driven processes, he says.

Light Reading has reached out to analysts who will be enjoying today's festivities in Cannes. When they have insights to share -- or critiques to offer -- we'll pass those along.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

Make sure your company and services are listed free of charge at Virtuapedia, the comprehensive set of searchable databases covering the companies, products, industry organizations and people that are directly involved in defining and shaping the virtualization industry.

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/22/2017 | 11:54:42 AM
The joys of self-rating
So Netcracker is giving itself a rating that puts its analytics prowess at or above Watson. Wouldn't that rating be more meaningful if it came from an independent source?
User Rank: Blogger
5/22/2017 | 11:47:10 AM
Re: Some pedantic analyst comments
I am 100% sure that refers to either cloud-ready or cloud-native -- goodness knows all these companies have been given enough grief over this topic by the operators, so I am pretty sure they are on top of the distinction :-)
User Rank: Blogger
5/22/2017 | 11:42:20 AM
Re: Some pedantic analyst comments
"At the top of this software stack -- all of which is cloud-native or cloud-enabled, by the way"

I read that as meaning they were synonymous. Perhaps he didn't mean that. 
User Rank: Blogger
5/22/2017 | 11:30:59 AM
Re: Some pedantic analyst comments
"According to this blog, cloud-native is a step beyond cloud-enabled, not the same thing."

Is there anything here that suggests otherwise? Native and Enabled are certainly different.

User Rank: Blogger
5/13/2017 | 9:20:21 AM
Some pedantic analyst comments
According to this blog, cloud-native is a step beyond cloud-enabled, not the same thing. 

Also, Netcracker described v 10 as being microservices based too (see here) so that aspect isn't new to v 12.

As for describing a billing solution as a microservice ... my understanding of microservice is something much smaller such as a sales tax rate look up function within the billing system. 
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
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.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Let's Get Past SD-WAN Hype

6|23|17   |   04:02   |   (0) comments

Technology becomes a "shiny object" unless it's properly focused on solving business needs for enterprise customers, says Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect for CenturyLink. He explains to Light Reading why SD-WAN deployments have to be tailored to specific needs – and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment

Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments

Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments

At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments

ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments

A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments

As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments

IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing ICN as a Network Slice for Mobile Data Distribution

6|19|17   |     |   (1) comment

Network slicing in 5G allows the potential introduction of new network architectures such as Information-centric Networks (ICN) as a slice, managed over a shared pool of compute, storage and bandwidth resource. Services over an ICN slice can benefit from many architectural features such as Name Based Networking, Security, Multicasting, Multi-homing, Mobility, ...
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Mike Roberts on 5G Uptake

6|19|17   |   04:08   |   (0) comments

Mike Roberts, research director for Ovum's service provider markets group, explains why he has boosted his 5G subscriptions forecast.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Hubbard on Intersection of SD-WAN & MPLS

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments

Rick Hubbard, SVP of Network Product Management for AT&T Business Solutions, discusses how AT&T's approach to SD-WAN fits in with its overall virtualization strategy, explains how SD-WAN can improve enterprise customers' use of the cloud and addresses the intersection of SD-WAN and MPLS.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Keep Connected IoT Devices Under Control With Allot

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments

Allot AVP of International Pre-Sales, Daniel Keidar, explains how communications service providers can protect infrastructure and service availability from flooding attacks caused by malfunctioning or bot-infected devices connected to their network.
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
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
Netflix's Lesson in Culture Expectation Settings
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2017
Kalanick Steps Down as Uber CEO
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
BT Tech Chief Makes Plea to 5G Chip Vendors
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, 6/20/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Some of You Can Relate Click Here
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.