February 6, 2019
Network operators the world over are engaged in the mammoth task of rationalizing and updating their OSS and BSS systems -- and UK telco TalkTalk is no different.
Like many businesses, TalkTalk's IT systems have been expanded and extended over the years and resemble a somewhat overgrown garden. To find out how the operator is dealing with that software support systems challenge, we talked with Jonathan Best, principal software engineer, and Alan Elliott, senior software engineer, to get an update on the operator's OSS/BSS "Tech Debt" transformation. (See TalkTalk's 'Tech Debt' Transformation .)
Best and Elliott have been pursuing a simplification of TalkTalk's OSS estate, doing some much-needed pruning and trimming. There are two key aspects to this IT husbandry -- applications and databases.
Application dependency map
TalkTalk has more than 200 applications in its OSS architecture, each of which depends on various components (.net Windows services, web applications, APIs, web services). Best's team set out to create an application catalog that would identify all the dependencies between applications and components: For example, identifying which components are talking to which databases and APIs; and which versions of the OS and .net are being run on each server.
During the past few months the TalkTalk team has automated the collection of data, such as Microsoft Internet Authentication Server (IAS) web logs, from OSS production systems and mapped it into a bespoke application catalog hosted in Azure. The catalog uses Microsoft's Power BI and Splunk for data analytics and reporting. Using these tools, they have been able to discover the inter-relationships between the different OSS applications, creating a dependency map that allows them to see which components of which applications are talking to each other.
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