Light Reading

BSS in Need of Virtualization Overhaul

Carol Wilson
3/17/2014
100%
0%

Billing support systems must become more flexible, more granular, and more able to deliver real-time results to function in the coming era of SDN and NFV, according to the latest Heavy Reading report, "BSS Requirements for SDN & NFV."

Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Ari Banerjee and Analyst Sarah Wallace looked at what the new breed of services will look like if -- or maybe we should say "when" -- the virtualization transformation occurs, and also asked network operators for their expectations of billing in the era of NFV and SDN. (See Defining SDN & NFV.)

They note that services will be more personalized and will draw from capabilities provided by third parties, which will need to be compensated, thus creating new levels of complexity for billing systems, which must both monitor usage and assess compensation. The explosion in the number of services to be offered is what produces the need for greater granularity in billing systems, which today only have to consider a limited number of almost completely static service options, the report notes.

In particular, operators need to be able to monetize the use of virtualized functions by their enterprise customers or by service partners, such as over-the-top (OTT) content providers. That means paying more attention to the billing systems that will enable that monetization, the report states.

Service providers are already recognizing the need for improved billing, Banerjee and Wallace note. In a Heavy Reading survey, 14% of service providers said they have already started evaluating the impact of NFV on their BSSs, 20% said they planned to do that evaluation in the next six months, and 30% said they would do it in the next one to two years.

Vendors need to be prepared to offer a virtualized BSS ecosystem that has the flexibility to allow network operators to monetize new services in an efficient way, the Heavy Reading analysts note. This will mean a major shift away from today's more rigid and static BSSs.

Architectural changes are also afoot. The expectation is that systems in use today to track usage and deliver application-specific performance, such as policy management and deep packet inspection, will be closely tied to the SDN controllers which will be orchestrating network resources.

The report also notes changes needed in how billing and charging are handled to enable full capture of metered records and support for self-service portals to deliver on-demand services as well.

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


Want to learn more about NFV, SDN and smarter telco operations? Check out the agenda for Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which will take place on June 17 and 18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The event combines the educational power of interactive conference sessions devised and hosted by Heavy Reading's experienced industry analysts with multi-vendor interoperability and proof-of-concept networking and application showcases. For more on the event, the topics, and the stellar service provider speaker lineup, see Telecommunication Luminaries to Discuss the Hottest Industry Trends at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event in June.


(11)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
EsmeraldaSwartz
50%
50%
EsmeraldaSwartz,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/18/2014 | 10:10:46 AM
Re: Even tougher than the networking part of SDN/NFV

SDN with NFV enables CSPs to break out of their inflexible business models and do business differently. Talk to any carrier and they will tell you that launching new services, bundling digital services and managing time-to-market delays are huge obstacles with existing silos and traditional OSS/BSS systems. With SDN and NFV, the process of service creation and delivery is accelerated by bringing cloud capabilities into the network. SDN/NFV transform carrier businesses to a state where services are provided in a manner that resembles cloud computing services, and infrastructure is purchased and provisioned similar to PODs used in cloud data center services. Starting in data centers, networking services and business policies will be instantiated as needed over common infrastructure. With SDN's control and NFV's flexibility, CSPs can develop business models that are based on elastic/tiered services, such as security-as-a-service solutions using on-demand DPI functions or video and UCaaS on demand. Carriers can deploy, modify or remove services and applications in a matter of minutes.

 

CSPs are also looking at new procurement models that may include paying network equipment providers on a per-use basis for network functions versus capital expenditure tied to under-used equipment. Lastly, the types of services enabled are by their very nature going to be multi-party and may include a number of physical and logical services. This requires that the OSS/BSS determines how to best deliver the service. If additional capacity or function is required, it must broker the capacity from the choice of vendors or partners, assess the contractual relationship (payment terms, profit margin impact, SLA terms), provide the commitment in real-time, receive requested capacity and manage any violations of customer SLAs.

brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/17/2014 | 4:26:19 PM
Re: Even tougher than the networking part of SDN/NFV
 

Okay Esmeralda,

Can you outline an example service that you have described?


And everyone,

Why does nobody seem to want to talk about how the NFV is going to be billed the other way around (i.e. turning up an instance and how billing is going to be tracked?)?

seven

 
EsmeraldaSwartz
50%
50%
EsmeraldaSwartz,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/17/2014 | 4:15:11 PM
Re: Even tougher than the networking part of SDN/NFV
While the concepts of bandwidth on-demand and who-to-bill are certainly key concerns that need to be addressed by service providers (sooner rather than later), these are issues that are part of a bigger conversation. It's true that you can't "NFV or SDN bandwidth," but NFV and SDN will enable the services and partnerships that will ultimately drive the more complex relationships and business models. It is these enhanced services that will result in a need for greater bandwidth, and ultimately a desire for more consumption-based and flexible monetization platforms. Service providers can only meet that expectation when they've implemented the necessary software right from the start that can adapt to these new developments across the industry.
RitchBlasi
50%
50%
RitchBlasi,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/17/2014 | 2:45:02 PM
BSS
I might be in the wrong ballpark, and someone might have alluded to this, but I can see the need for enhanced BSS on NFV or SDN when it comes to offering sponsored data services.  I don't look at that as bandwidth-on-demand but rather a wholesale pricing strategy for when Netflix, Hulu and others go big-time into offering video downloads directly to mobile devices.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/17/2014 | 2:05:57 PM
Re: Even tougher than the networking part of SDN/NFV
Despite any snags that telcos might find in terms of billing, at least they will be bringing in revenue. If their biggest problem is who to bill for a service, then that doesn't really sound like such an insurmoutable issue going forward. 
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/17/2014 | 2:01:45 PM
Re: Even tougher than the networking part of SDN/NFV
Carol/Mitch,

I think we need to think of another service other than Bandwidth on Demand to be the poster child here.  I first worked on a Bandwidth on Demand service for Teleconferencing back in 1990 (using bonded DS0s over PRI).

Part of the problem with this service as an example is that in some ways you can't "NFV or SDN" bandwidth.  The bandwidth is either available or it is not.  You can look at reallocating your bandwidth but if you are on a full network then there is simply nothing that can be done.

In a highly connected place like a datacenter, this may not be an issue.  But if you want to ramp up the bandwidth to a cell site and you have a GigE installed, you can't "SDN or NFV" your way to 10G or even 2G.

What I am suggesting insteasd is that we could up with a service that dynamically adds processing to an existing pipe.  I don't have a great example in mind, but maybe something like encryption for some type of connections for certain folks (like say sending files to your lawyers).

seven

 
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
3/17/2014 | 1:11:04 PM
Re: Even tougher than the networking part of SDN/NFV
Absolutely right, Mitch, but I think they are going to have the bandwidth on demand part to be among the easier things, because at least they know how to measure and bill for bandwdith. 

By contrast, offering BoD to support a specific piece of video content and allowing the consumer to self-provision his level of service (collect more money for highest level of service right now, or the least amount to download during offpeak, plus something in the middle for immediate streaming at a lower QoS) and then billing the consumer correctly and carving out the piece owed to the content partner will be even more daunting. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/17/2014 | 12:59:03 PM
Re: Even tougher than the networking part of SDN/NFV
Makes sense. The potential for SDN/NFV is to allow service providers to spin up new services and configurations on the fly. For example, an enterprise customer might need a burst of bandwidth for a few hours, to make a backup or migrate a datacenter. Service providers need to be able to meet that kind of demand, and billing systems need to be able to bill for it. 
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
3/17/2014 | 12:28:14 PM
Re: Even tougher than the networking part of SDN/NFV
I agree, Ray. I think the billing stuff winds up becoming more important than originally thought because of the shift away from virtualization as a way to save money and toward virtualization as a way to deliver new services more quickly and compete more effectively.
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/17/2014 | 12:21:59 PM
Re: Even tougher than the networking part of SDN/NFV
Ray,

There are lots of challenges here.  Let me give you one example from an NFV standpoint (note this is solved in the IT world but people may be unhappy with the way this was done for telcos).

When you turn up an instance of a function, that is going to cost you money.  Let's say as an example (from my past) the customer turns up a new E-mail Spam Filter going from a maximum of 5 to a maximum of 6.  Okay - under what granularity am I billing him?  If he leaves up a 6th instance permanently, he is definitely getting a bill for the new one.  How about 15 minutes?  How about 24 hours?  How does the customer control the startup and teardown so that they stay in budget?

As you can imagine, I have seen this go horribly wrong.  Another part of the company I was working for was doing VMs for web filtering.  There was a bug that forgot to turn down instances and poof at the end of the month there was a huge bill from AWS.  

My take is that beyond all the functionality that this stuff needs to get to be "standardized" into packages that people can understand and manage.  The rules that one vendor puts out better be the same as or similar to others or this is going to be a huge mess.

 

seven
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
Between the CEOs
Affirmed Networks CEO: Digging Into NFV

5|28|15   |   40:26   |   (2) comments


Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyeing SDN for Headend, Home Uses

5|26|15   |   05:57   |   (1) comment


CableLabs is looking at virtualizing CMTS and CCAP devices in the headend, as well as in-home devices, says CableLabs' Karthik Sundaresan.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Procera has gathered facts, stats and customer experience feedback from a survey of 540 users from across the globe.
Hot Topics
Charter Seals Deals for TWC, Bright House
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/26/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent Trials 400G in Czech Republic
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/26/2015
Will Carriers Follow Facebook's Networking Lead?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 5/28/2015
Charter Plans Business Services, Wireless Push
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/27/2015
Facebook Reinvents Data Center Networking
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 5/26/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
On May 29th 1 PM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM for NFV at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!
Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
Cats with Phones