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IP protocols/software

Nokia Siemens Bags OSS Smarts

NICE, France -- Management World 2009 -- Nokia Networks added to its OSS arsenal today by forging a technology and reseller alliance with EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) that will see the latter's IP-focused EMC Smarts service assurance software integrated into NSN's NetAct product.

The move fills a hole in NSN's OSS offering: The NetAct transport network management solution, which is used by more than 300 service providers and enterprises worldwide (mostly mobile operators) has been, until now, devoid of capabilities for IP and MPLS networks, and NSN's core customer base of mobile operators is deploying more and more IP elements and using MPLS-based services, such as pseudowires for backhaul.

Now, though, the integrated Smarts software will feed information about the IP network and the services running over it into the NetAct management system, and provide root-cause analysis capabilities that can provide network fault alarms that include information about the cause of the fault. The data delivered from the Smarts system can be viewed as part of the NetAct display that's used by the carrier's operations team.

And this is a well used, mature system that NSN is integrating: The Smarts team has been building up its capabilities for years, and its early leadership in the IP-focused OSS arena led to its acquisition by EMC in 2004. Smarts is now deployed in more than 60 service provider networks. (See EMC 'Paying Too Much' for Smarts.)

The move gives NSN a greater set of capabilities in-house that will meet the evolving needs of all sorts of network operators, including fixed line and cable operators, as well as wireless carriers, as they deploy next-generation transport and access networks but continue to operate legacy technologies.

Even once next-gen packet-optical transport systems (P-OTS) products are deployed, "operators need a management system that can manage multiple domains," says Mikko Salminen, head of OSS at NSN, as standalone IP routers, multiservice provisioning platforms (MSPPs), and legacy SDH/Sonet products will still be in use for years to come.

It also means NSN can offer operators a ready-made package that covers optical and IP network management. "Operators want to do less and less integration themselves," Salminen believes. "They are looking for all-in-one-packages that have already been proven to work together."

NSN will be pushing the new capabilities at its existing customer base initially. "We won't be forcing customers to take it, but we believe they will because the efficiency gains are so great," notes Salminen.

The new deal also expands NSN's multivendor management capabilities. The Smarts system now supports more than 1,500 network elements from multiple vendors, including those from NSN rivals like Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. "Having multivendor capabilities is a key requirement for carriers these days," says EMC executive Tom Griffin.

He's also convinced about the coming ubiquity of MPLS: "As networks evolve, IP transport will become the standard, with MPLS as the control plane," says Griffin. (That's a view that some would dispute, especially those backing the soon-to-be-standardized Carrier Ethernet transport technology, PBB-TE.) (See IEEE to Rubber-Stamp PBB-TE .)

The tie-up with EMC is NSN's latest move to strengthen its position in the telecom software world: The vendor is pumping R&D dollars into various network and service management projects; recently unveiled its converged billing system (pre-paid and post-paid billing in one system); and has been building up partnerships with software specialists to broaden its offerings. (See NSN Names OSS Partners, Major Vendors Kiss OSS, NSN Monitors Traffic, and Nokia Siemens Shows Its OSS.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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