& 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
The time has come for a telecom app store to save the industry.
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 Documentaries
Service Provider Panel: Partnering in the Digital Era

5|22|17   |     |   (0) comments

Coopetition has always been part of telecom, but the ecosphere now includes data centers, vendors, apps developers, cloud service providers and Internet content providers. This BCE 2017 panel explores the new attitudes among network operators as to the value and variety of ...
LRTV Interviews
Site Demo: AT&T's IoT Flow Platform

5|19|17   |   04:25   |   (0) comments

At AT&T's R&D center in Tel Aviv, Israel, project leader Eyal Segev talks about the operator's Flow platform and how it helps to prototype IoT applications.
LRTV Documentaries
Agent of Change: A Q&A With AT&T's John Donovan

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments

Carol Wilson talks with the man leading AT&T's transformation efforts about the challenge of change.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE Service Provider Panel: The New Business Realities

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments

For virtualization to happen, the telecom industry first has to grapple with key functional aspects of SDN and NFV that need to be universal, such as onboarding of virtualized network functions and federation of software-defined networks.
LRTV Interviews
BCE Service Provider Keynote: CenturyLink

5|16|17   |   22:32   |   (0) comments

Aamir Hussain leads the Product Development and Technology organization at CenturyLink, which includes the company's information technology function. He is an experienced senior technology executive with more than 25 years of proven success in the implementation of global technology operations, operationalization of complex technology, infrastructures and business ...
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink CTO on Transformation

5|16|17   |   7:43   |   (0) comments

The 50-year-old telco has already gone through several transformations, including every time it made an acquisition, but its purchase of Level 3 coupled with changes in technology and customer expectations necessitates its biggest transformation yet.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2017

5|15|17   |   5:05   |   (1) comment

Find out who made it into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Interviews
Site Visit: AT&T's Tel Aviv R&D Center

5|15|17   |   09:58   |   (1) comment

Nir Shalom, general manager and VP of application development at AT&T Israel, talks about the key service developments undertaken at the AT&T R&D facility in Tel Aviv and how the team there has adopted new ways of working.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Act on Your Intelligence With Amdocs aia!

5|15|17   |     |   (0) comments

Amdocs CMO Gary Miles explains how communications service providers can seize the AI opportunity with Amdocs real-time digital intelligence platform.
LRTV Interviews
Logtel CEO: Making Sense of IoT

5|15|17   |   09:48   |   (0) comments

Jacques Bensimon, founder and CEO of Tel Aviv-based training and consultancy Logtel, talks about the need to make IoT more than just a buzzword.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Challenges of Mobile Banking Implementation

5|12|17   |     |   (0) comments

Kamal Quadir of bKash Limited explains the challenges and needs of implementing mobile banking in the Bangladesh market.
LRTV Interviews
Tel Aviv: A Hub of Innovation

5|10|17   |   07:58   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre and Dan Allen discuss the technology innovation, food and amazing sights they witnessed during a recent trip to Israel.
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
BSS Is BS, Says KPN Tech Boss
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/16/2017
AT&T's Donovan: Women Adapt Faster Than Men
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 5/18/2017
Verizon on M&A: Who Needs a Cableco?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/17/2017
Standardization Needs Room for Innovation
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 5/17/2017
WiCipedia: LL Awards, Tech Mom Returnships & How The Post Gets the Ladies
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 5/19/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
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 ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Animals with Phones
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.