& cplSiteName &

Service Management for the Telco Cloud

Sandeep Raina
5/2/2017
100%
0%

There is a resurgence in the use of Service Quality Management (SQM) for digital service operations. The reasons for SQM's growing importance are the introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT), which gained significant momentum in 2016, and the anticipated rollout of NFV-based services in 2017. In both cases it is expected that the current functionality of an SQM system will be extended to cover the high speed and scale demands of a digital service environment.

Both IoT and NFV, although essentially massive network transformations, will cause a tremendous impact on service transformation. While IoT technology is being introduced to ensure that manufacturing, cars, homes, cities and devices become more efficient and reliable, NFV enables customers to consume faster, on-demand and dynamically personalized/contextualized services such as IPTV, video streaming, mobile gaming and rich messaging.

As VoLTE and ViLTE (voice- and video-over-LTE) become the immediate technology levers for the launch of the digital services, stringent service level agreements (SLAs) will be formed to offer OTT-like services and benefits to customers. And the verticals that offer IoT services will need far higher support to maintain reliable, mission-critical connections between the IoT devices. SQM can help the CSPs in addressing the challenges of a new NFV and IoT service environment.

The following key changes in the network are shaping the re-definition of SQM in order to make it suitable for the digital environment:

1. Virtualization and SQM. The rising importance of SQM for NFV can be attributed to:

  • The higher agility in creation, delivery, alteration and retiring of services. This inevitably means that managing and maintaining QoS will need to be equally responsive and agile. The iterative deployment and tearing down of services expects the Service Quality Management systems to monitor short-life services, lasting from a few days to a few hours, driven by events, location, customer context, etc.
  • Dynamic network resources. The dynamic adjustments to network elements -- for example, capacity scale-up and scale-down, topology re-configuration and traffic route optimization -- have an immediate impact on the offered services. SQM needs to respond and align to these network changes.
  • The hybrid nature of networks. In the hybrid (physical and virtualized) networks, digital services will be delivered over both parts. An SQM's system capabilities need to extend across all network types for an unbiased vendor-independent reporting.

2. Internet of Things and SQM. With IoT introduced to communication networks, service providers have the options of becoming IoT service providers, managed IoT service providers or simply bearers of the IoT traffic. In each case, the monitoring and assurance of IoT services poses a key risk to the new business of the CSP, since the quality criteria of the IoT services can be much higher compared to the traditional communication services. In addition, because of the wide variety of users (energy, health, robotics, manufacturing, automotive, etc.), the Service Quality Management aspect will need to introduce new dimensions to address specificities of each of the verticals. SQM will, hence, re-define for IoT as follows:

  • Assigning high importance to service reliability and service availability as key service KPIs.
  • Ensuring proactive maintenance in a high-scale operational environment.
  • Faster service impact analysis to prevent network bottlenecks.
  • A mechanism (through automation) for fast reaction to potential service failures.
  • Visualization and prediction (through analytics) of service usage and geographic distribution by consumers and devices, in order to support creation of new IoT services.

The role of automation and analytics in managing NFV/IoT networks
In NFV and IoT environments, Service Quality Management needs to be more proactive, predictive and capable of offering rapid root cause analysis (RCA). Although RCA was ensured in traditional SQM when service degradation happened and, in many cases, a service impact or "what if" analysis was offered with it, the need to enhance these capabilities has increased significantly. Part of this requirement can be achieved by adding analytics to the SQM information, which provides more accurate failure prediction and a deeper assessment of service impact.

Additionally, automation across the SQM outputs helps in managing configurations. Also, by automating root cause analysis, the parent alarm can be quickly identified. Using service modeling and auto-discovery, the relationship with underlying network elements can be quickly ascertained and eliminated, reducing mean time to repair (MTTR).

However, an integrated approach of analytics, automation and SQM requires some drastic changes in the way service data is visualized and actioned in the Operation Center. The introduction of NFV with network functions, and of services hosted on common resources, inherently helps to achieve this integration to an extent. Use of open REST APIs also helps in connecting the OSS layers. Finally, hosting of OSS functionalities (analytics, automation and SQM) in the cloud can also accelerate the integration of the required functionalities of the Operation Center.

Underlying technologies
As discussed, for a next-generation digital service provider/telco cloud service provider, virtualization of network functions enables the creation and deployment of new services dynamically, with the time to market reduced from a few months to a few days. New telco cloud service assurance systems are being evolved, of which SQM forms a key component. The architectures of these next generation systems are based on REST APIs, big data clusters and OpenStack capabilities.

Other than the introduction of the new technologies to the underlying platform, it is important to develop a microservices architecture, which uses DevOps-enabled iterative processes to quickly respond to customer service needs by developing services faster. This is how the customer expectation of using new personalized/contextualized services every week or every few days will be realized. This also helps in conducting root cause analysis accurately and resolving customer issues quickly.

The SQM system should also integrate well with the Lifecycle Service Orchestration ecosystem to offer closed-loop assurance; this involves integrated dynamic inventory, service catalog-driven modeling and policy-driven service orchestration.

In summary, for the successful launch and long-term assurance of services in a hybrid network, to which there will be an added layer of IoT services, only a re-defined Service Quality Management system (dynamic, predictive and capable of offering rapid root cause analysis), will assure the expected digital service revenues.

— Sandeep Raina, Product Marketing Director, MYCOM OSI

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
rainasandeep
100%
0%
rainasandeep,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/3/2017 | 10:56:21 AM
Re: Service Management Should Include Customer Service as well
Hi Karanbir,

In the early days of digital services there are many unknowns: types and numbers of services, duration of services, transient nature of digital services, quality expectations and how many of these will be on-demand etc. The first step for the Telco Cloud/Digital Service Provider would be to focus on managing the services and the associated quality, dynamicity and speed.

And as you say, a solid service quality foundation will lead to better customer satisfaction levels. We need to get the underlying Telco Cloud technology and then the digital services sorted out, in steps, and then link them to the customer SLAs.

Sandeep
More Blogs from Column
NFV is still behind in becoming cloud-native. A look at what cloud providers are doing with FPGAs should provide inspiration.
Sensible regulations are needed as smaller radios get installed to facilitate 5G.
Now that communications service providers have reached a crossroads, they must choose quickly to survive.
A merger between Sprint and T-Mobile could help to address the gap between the US and its global peers on mobile broadband speeds.
Mobile networks will transform from now through 2020, more than since the inception of 2G. New 4G capabilities will trigger some of that, however, 5G both enables and encourages more fundamental change.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
December 5-7, 2017, The Intercontinental Prague
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
SmartNICs aren't just about achieving scale. They also have a major impact in reducing CAPEX and OPEX requirements.
Hot Topics
When Will 6G Arrive? Hopefully Never, Says BT's McRae
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/21/2017
Let's Talk About 5G Efficiency, Not Wacky Services
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/21/2017
Top 5 Tech Turkeys 2017
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/22/2017
AT&T's Lurie Leaps to Synchronoss as New CEO
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/17/2017
Wireless Could Arrive Soon in NYC Subway Tunnels
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/20/2017
Animals with Phones
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.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
The Mobile Broadband Road Ahead
By Kevin Taylor, for Huawei
All Partner Perspectives