OSS in the Cloud? Not So Fast

Cloud services are designed to help enterprises offload the complexity of their IT infrastructure and applications, cutting both their capital requirements and their staffing needs. So shouldn't telecom network operators, which have incredibly complex and capital-intensive IT systems, be moving their back-office systems into the cloud as quickly as possible?

Absolutely, said a slew of Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) experts at the Management World 2011 show in Dublin last week. The problem is, it's not going to happen any time soon.

"OSS as a service is very logical step, but it's not happening yet," says Matthew Edwards, director of the cloud services initiative at the TM Forum . "We are at the talking stage right now."

Among those talking often in Dublin was Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS)'s Michael Lowery, executive director of architecture, who is looking to a cloud approach to unifying and simplifying that carrier's wireline, wireless and cable operations in order to more efficiently offer bundled services on an ASP, or "as-a-service," basis.

In today's siloed world, Telstra needs basics, such as one way of identifying a customer, Lowery says, and that could be solved by cloud-based systems. (See Mgmt World: Telstra Sees ASP Future.)

But Lowery admitted at the Innovation Summit last week that he needs other pieces, such as common service delivery platforms (SDPs), to achieve his goal of a simplified OSS/BSS architecture that delivers services on an access network-agnostic basis.

The problem in general is that today's OSSs are still large monolithic and often siloed systems that need to undergo substantial transformation, consolidation and simplification before they can be transferred to the cloud: Moving today's mess into the cloud would only create a cloudy mess.

Then there's the matter of standards for interfaces between a cloud-based solution and existing legacy systems to maintain data integrity and manage a transition. Those don't exist yet and that process will take time, says TM Forum President Martin Creaner. It likely will start with a set of best practices.

Next Page: OSS clouds roll in

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paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:03:50 PM
re: OSS in the Cloud? Not So Fast


Are you talking about multi-tenant OSS solutions that would be run by OSS providers as a service to Service Providers OR are you talking about running some piece of code on an instance in "The Cloud"?

If you are talking about the latter, then I would say that "The Cloud" is just something that the IT group is using to implement something.  If it is the former, then that is an actual change.

Let me give you an internal example.  I run a Nagios Instance in "The Cloud" as a backup to the instance I run on premise.  This instance also provides me an external view of my network.  That is something I do today - having really nothing cloud-like about it.  Do I really need to webscale my OSS environment (by the way dev\null is webscale)?



cnwedit 12/5/2012 | 5:03:49 PM
re: OSS in the Cloud? Not So Fast

In a general sense, the people I interviewed were talking about moving OSS/BSS applications off dedicated legacy systems and onto OTS servers operating at any location, and scaling up -- or scaling down -- as needed.Realistically, this is likely to be done first for new applicaitons and services which are going to look more like Web services than traditional telecom offerings.  Some of those could be multi-tenant and run by OSS providers, but they could also be hosted by the SP, but run in a very different way from what they now do.

What you are talking about sounds a lot like what several vendors described for me - apps that would be called "cloud" but are really just the way things get done, without the hype.

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