Widespread adoption of NFV will only be possible once network operators have defined and implemented "robust management, orchestration and OSS architectures," according to a new report from Heavy Reading that highlights the need for a greater focus on how OSS systems should evolve as virtualization strategies are put into practice.
Heavy Reading Senior Analyst James Crawshaw, the author of Next-Gen OSS for Hybrid Virtualized Networks, notes that "operators that seek to implement NFV without preparing their OSS to support it are unlikely to be successful in capturing the new revenue-generating and cost-saving opportunities." He adds: "OSS should not be an afterthought; it will continue to be central to the operational efficiency and agility of the service provider."
Key to what needs to determined is the interaction between existing or "traditional" OSS systems and the NFV MANO (management and orchestration) systems that are being integrated to take care of the NFV infrastructure (NFVi), as hybrid services are set to be on the roadmap of almost all operators.
The importance of enabling the co-existence and integration of virtual and legacy physical systems was highlighted recently by BT's Neil McRae during a presentation at Light Reading's OSS in the Era of SDN & NFV event in London. (See BT: Virtualization Must Include Legacy.)
Of course, there are many challenges. OSS transformation projects have a poor track record, notes Crawshaw, while enabling integrated management and implementing an evolved OSS will require a new set of skills, process engineering and "a change in mindset that is open to concepts such as DevOps and fail-fast," notes the analyst.
The analyst goes on to identify the "key criteria for future-ready OSS," discuss the OSS requirements for an NFV world, review work done by industry bodies such as ETSI and the TM Forum, look into how MANO developments are driving the need for OSS evolution and take a close look at Vodafone's proposed OSS architecture that is part of its Ocean virtualization strategy. (See BCE 2016: Vodafone to Make Waves With Its 'Ocean' Virtualization Strategy and Vodafone: Desperately Seeking Cloud-Centric Tech.)
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading