LONDON -- OSS in the Era of SDN & NFV: Evolution vs. Revolution -- Migrating a traditional OSS (or not) to fit with operators' SDN and NFV strategies is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.
To illustrate this point, Heavy Reading senior analyst Caroline Chappell outlined four drastically different approaches five operators across the globe are taking to migrate their OSS to SDN and NFV. It's too early to declare one strategy a winner, but the point may well be that operators don't need to wait three or four years to migrate to NFV. There are things they can be doing today. (See NFV Just Made OSS Hot, SDN & NFV: No Going Back and OSS Is Key to SDN, NFV Strategies.)
It's not something NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT) has talked about much yet, but the Japanese global telecom giant is now operating as NTT Communications, powered by Virtela. The global company completed its acquisition of Virtela, which developed a next-generation management system that is highly automated and supports SDN and NFV, in January of this year. NTT spent the next seven months migrating all of the customer data it had in its existing global operations -- including 32 companies in 100 countries -- and into Virtela's platform, Chappell said. It was a massive data migration to make Virtela their network operations factory. Chappell called this a radical, "big bang" approach to the migration. (See NFV Lets NTT America Flex Its Networks and NTT Comms Completes Virtela Acquisition.)
"NTT was already lean -- it did its own homegrown network automation, but still felt the need to go that step further," Chappell said.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is currently tackling one aspect of NFV, Ethernet-on-demand services, a huge pain point for the operator. They are using Tail-f Systems as the means to automate it and significantly reduce the time it takes to deliver Ethernet VPN services. (See AlcaLu, Fujitsu Help Build AT&T's Cloud Network and SDN Powers AT&T, IBM On-Demand Cloud Connections.)
British telco EE is approaching NFV with a test network first. Chappell said they have such a backlog of new services that they can't roll out fast enough because they simply can't test them fast enough. As such, the operator plans to build a parallel virtualized test network and use it to first test services then move them to a physical network and put them into production once they are proven out. (See Meet the Phantom Network for NFV.)
"While they have a virtual test network up and running, they can socialize concepts, run tests and figure out how to do it," Chappell said.
BT and Colt
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and Colt Technology Services Group Ltd are taking a similar approach to OSS for NFV and SDN. They have both started with a single VNF that is relatively greenfield and are looking at how to operationalize it and transfer those lessons to other programs over time. In each case, the single VNF is a virtual customer premises equipment operation.
"There are a number of operators beginning to say it's just too intractable to try to change existing organization," Chappell said. "You maybe have to do SDN and NFV for greenfield networks alongside existing networks and just drive those into the ground. It's a groundswell, but it's beginning to get louder and louder. Whether that happens remains to be seen."
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading