Arguably the hottest topic at the upcoming Ethernet & SDN Expo (ESDN) will be the profound impact software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are predicted to have on the way communications services are provisioned, monitored, rated, and billed.
What does SDN mean for the OSS and BSS platforms that underpin the operations and business processes at communications service providers?
That OSS and BSS are embroiled in a hot debate might surprise those who don't think of OSSs as very sexy stuff, but the multiple ESDN panels addressing operations issues, including "Network Automation & Orchestration With Carrier SDN & NFV," are attracting a lot of interest. This clearly indicates that the telecom industry is aware of the potential for operations issues to scuttle an early success for virtualization in carrier networks.
That session and associated ones will be moderated by Heavy Reading senior analyst Caroline Chappell, who has been deeply engaged in this topic recently. (See: SDN & NFV to Shake Up Operator OSS Market, Heavy Reading Finds and SDN & NFV: A Revolution in the Making). As Chappell notes, SDN and NFV would actually enable the kind of programmability that network operators have been seeking from next-gen OSS strategies involving lengthy transformations that haven't delivered on time or as envisioned.
That would seem to be good news for operators, but there are complications, notably around how SDN controllers would fit into or interact with OSS and BSS platforms. In this early phase of virtualization, the answers aren't all clear.
"Different approaches to network management will result in different levels of disruption," Chappell told us. "In addition, the role of network equipment vendors is changing as they are currently leading the development of next-generation architectures that attempt to harmonize OSSs with SDN and NFV. We also are expecting to see key things such as lifecycle management be done in the cloud in an NFV context. But these are all aspects of this OSS orchestration that are in play."
Some vendors, including some coming into the space from adjacent sectors, are bringing some new perspectives, she said, and that's a clear sign there will be more competition to deliver OSS answers as soon as next year.
All this will be the subject of much debate at the Javits Center in New York City, as ESDN launches as a co-located event with Interop, which also has a strong SDN flavor.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading
Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to the Ethernet & SDN Expo, a Light Reading Live event taking place Oct. 2-3, 2013, at the Javits Center in New York City. Co-located with Interop, Light Reading's Ethernet & SDN Expo will focus on how the convergence of Carrier Ethernet 2.0 with emerging carrier software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) technologies could change the whole telecom landscape for service providers. For more information, or to register,