Light Reading

In the Cloud, Repurposed BSS Won't Cut It

Caroline Chappell
12/10/2013
50%
50%

The recent acquisition of startup cloud services enablement vendor ServiceMesh by leading IT services company Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) (NYSE: CSC) may not be typical Light Reading fare, but it caught my eye, as ServiceMesh is a company I’ve been following for some time now. (See CSC Gains Cloud Management Capabilities With ServiceMesh.)

Not only is its Agility Platform a leading example of a new wave of hybrid cloud orchestration and management systems that have hit the enterprise market in past five years, but ServiceMesh stood out as one of the few startups in this area to be interested in the telecom industry. It turned up at TM Forum's Management World in Nice this year where it participated in a Catalyst, and counts telcos with enterprise cloud plays among its customers: Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) is quoted in the CSC acquisition press release.

In a recent market survey I conducted on telco plans for enterprise cloud services, most telcos said they want to reuse as many BSS and OSS systems as possible for managing enterprise cloud services. But just as current OSS installations don't provide the orchestration and management capabilities needed for NFV, operators' existing "heavy" BSS suites, designed to support order-to-cash processes for enterprise communications services with their long timescales for fulfillment, are ill-suited to support dynamic, provisioned-on-demand, enterprise cloud services.

And enterprise customers are beginning to expect from cloud service providers the management capabilities and interfaces available in the tools they are using in their private clouds. This is the advanced functionality provided by a growing number of companies, including: ServiceMesh and its rivals, including RightScale and interesting (but as yet little known) Gravitant; UK startups Flexiant and Abiquo; and mainstreamers Dell and VMware, with its vCAC (pronounced vCake).

Such enterprise customer requirements have been pushing leading telco cloud providers such as CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) towards the realization that they need a new management and orchestration layer rather than merely repurposing existing BSS; they also explain why BSS vendors have had limited success to date selling into operators' enterprise cloud services environments.

Among its competitors, ServiceMesh was one of the few enterprise-grade cloud orchestration and management product vendors with the ability and desire to support cloud service providers -- a strategy vindicated by CSC's purchase. There are plenty of enterprise-grade cloud management tools out there but few that address the scale and multi-tenancy needs of telcos. Response to this opportunity from traditional BSS and OSS vendors has been weak. Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) bought Nimbula, which seems to have dropped into a company black hole and is certainly not surfacing on the Communications side of the business (I keep asking). Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has taken a small stake in Parallels Inc. .

But the situation may be changing. Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has a BSS re-engineering initiative for cloud underway with its Business Enablement Suite. And Ericsson AB has re-engineered Telcordia and ConceptWave assets for the cloud: At a recent analyst event, the demo of its coming Cloud Manager looked like a proper cloud management and orchestration system, with the added benefit of carrier-grade features that enterprise tools can't provide.

However, Ericsson has yet to make it entirely clear that operators will need to implement Cloud Manager separately from their traditional Telcordia/ConceptWave systems. Ericsson's move confirms that repurposing existing systems for cloud services won't work. Other BSS vendors should take note.

And expect more acquisitions along the lines of IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and SoftLayer; Centurylink and Tier 3; and CSC and ServiceMesh, as IT and telco cloud service providers square up in the growing market for hybrid cloud. (See IBM Puts SoftLayer At New Cloud Unit's Core and CenturyLink Shows Cloud Is Still Critical.)

— Caroline Chappell, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
12/11/2013 | 3:29:59 PM
Re: Does any legacy BSS have legs?
Seven, I actually asked Ericsson specifically about TIRKS at the recent TM Forum Digital Disruption event in San Jose and was told they have a way of extracting the information they need from it and using that info in creating virtualized services so that it isn't replaced but it doesn't slow down the virtualization process. 

I don't have your depth of understanding (well, duh) but it sounded to me like TIRKS continues to do what it's done for existing assets but isn't used going forward. 

I've always assumed TIRKS would be around for years after I stopped writing about telecom. 
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/11/2013 | 10:56:48 AM
Re: Does any legacy BSS have legs?
I guess the thing I always think about is TIRKS.

Even in FiOS they kept TIRKS and did the rest all from scratch.  Wonder how you do link NFV and TIRKS.

I guess that is what I think about.  Instead of looking at the mountain and going OMG.  How about we look at 1 function and see if we can figure out how to handle Cloud based inventory managment.

seven

 
C Chappell
50%
50%
C Chappell,
User Rank: Blogger
12/11/2013 | 4:43:41 AM
Re: Does any legacy BSS have legs?
Well, they'll last for a long time yet - nothing is retired in telco, right? But I think it's becoming clear that for cloud-based service delivery, state of the art orchestration systems are not based on existing BSS. Some would argue that this has been the case for some time -  it's just that many telcos had hoped it wasn't.
Ray@LR
50%
50%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
12/11/2013 | 1:20:28 AM
Does any legacy BSS have legs?
It would appear that cloud/SDN/NFV all need new approaches to OSS and BSS and so far it doesn't appear to be coming from the traditional set of suppliers (if anywhere) -- will traditional telco BSS and OSS be redundant in a few years' time?
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
To thrive in the Internet age, operators must transform themselves from 'communications service providers' into 'digital service providers.'
Survey says telcos see increased network flexibility and service agility as the primary benefits of the New IP.
In part 3 in a series of blogs on 'Accelerating NFV Implementation,' Caroline Chappell considers how the NFV Management and Orchestration (MANO) stack needs to work with OSS functions to operationalize NFV.
Mobile operators feel an urgency to virtualize the EPC, and are exploring a variety of ways to move forward, on an ambitious timeframe.
Despite all the work that has already been put into defining and developing use cases, many service providers think more attention needs to be paid to the economics of SDN and NFV.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Network architects aiming to upgrade their networks to support agile, open, virtualized services in the 21st century need to consider new criteria when choosing between technology suppliers.
Live Streaming Video
BTE 2015 Sponsor Keynote: HP
Dr. Prodip Sen, CTO, Network Functions Virtualization, HP
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat Demo

7|2|15   |   10:53   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Nicolas Lemieux demonstrates how Red Hat is driving innovation through open source communities.
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat's Approach to OpenStack Adoption

7|2|15   |   5:17   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Radhesh Balakrishnan outlines his company's open source strategy for both enterprises and telcos.
LRTV Custom TV
The New IP Goes Mobile With vEPC

7|2|15   |   1:12   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Gabriel Brown discusses results of a Light Reading survey sponsored by Brocade that shows a clear commitment by mobile operators to move quickly to virtual EPC deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Business Sense of SDN

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Results of a Brocade-sponsored survey show that CSPs have a clear sense of SDN use cases but are wrestling with the business case. Sterling Perrin of Heavy Reading looks behind the numbers.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Will Be Here Sooner Than You Think

7|2|15   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Forget the usual ten-year cycle for new technologies – NFV will be a core part of CSP networks in five years, based on results of a Brocade-sponsored survey, says Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell.
LRTV Custom TV
The New IP Gains Traction With CSPs

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro of Heavy Reading analyzes results of a Light Reading survey sponsored by Brocade showing that CSPs are getting serious about making the transition to the New IP era.
LRTV Custom TV
It's (Real) Time for Analytics

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Jim Hodges looks at how CSPs say they plan to use analytics to deploy new services in real time as part of The New IP, based on results of a survey sponsored by Brocade.
LRTV Documentaries
IoT in Action

6|30|15   |   1:39   |   (8) comments


Two co-workers discuss the benefits of IoT technology.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson Opens Up on OPNFV

6|30|15   |   14:16   |   (2) comments


Martin Bäckström, VP and head of industry area Datacom at Ericsson, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the emergence of OPNFV, the importance of standards and Ericsson's OPNFV plans.
LRTV Custom TV
NetNumber Founder Discusses NFV/SDN Impact on SP Networks

6|26|15   |   4:15   |   (0) comments


NetNumber Founder Doug Ranalli examines why SPs need a new network infrastructure for service agility. While NFV and SDN are the tools, the old ways of thinking about signaling control are inhibitors. Doug provides his recommendations.
LRTV Custom TV
Orchestrating NFV vCPE Services Across Multivendor Networks

6|26|15   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Nirav Modi provides an overview of vCPE, the fastest-growing NFV use case, showing how Cyan's Blue Planet orchestrates vCPE services across a multivendor infrastructure to rapidly deliver new managed services for business customers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at LTE Summit Amsterdam 2015

6|26|15   |     |   (0) comments


As one of the leading global telecommunications providers, ZTE presented its cutting-edge technology at LTE World Summit 2015 in Amsterdam. On display at ZTE's booth were the latest R&D achievements in wireless, 5G development, HetNet, deep convergence of FDD and TDD, and RCS/IMD/iSDN/vCN.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
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
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Who's Feeding Fiber to LinkNYC Hotspots?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/29/2015
What's a Gigabit Good For?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/1/2015
Colt to Jettison Ailing IT Business
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/30/2015
Eurobites: Activist Investor Takes Stake in AlcaLu
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 6/30/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Casa Systems has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years. In 2013, it became the first vendor to ship an integrated CCAP device -- the ...
Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
Cats with Phones