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NFV

Are you ready for the hybrid reality?

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VanillaPlus Insight Q1 I January/February/March 2017

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TALKING HEADS: IS YOUR NETWORK SMART ENOUGH TO PASS THE NETWORK IQ TEST? EXFO’s Philippe Morin, says the industry is entering the critical automation phase of virtualisation, where communications service providers (CSPs) will need smarter service assurance with real-time insights from the network, the service and the subscriber.

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NFV ANALYST REPORT Our specially-commissioned analyst report, authored by Tim McElligott, the senior consulting analyst for global operations and monetisation strategy at Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan. McElligott examines how CSPs will fare as the dayto-day operational mode of managing and orchestrating the network becomes a hybrid.

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SOFTWARE-DRIVEN CSPs Gabriele Di Piazza says massive cultural, infrastructural and organisational transformation needs to take place both within CSPs and in the wider supply chain if they are to remain relevant.

18 TALKING HEADS

Philippe Morin

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30 SOFTWARE-DRIVEN CSPs

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ANALYST REPORT

Introduction For the forseeable future, the day-to-day operational mode of managing and orchestrating the network will be hybrid, a reality best not to lose sight of. Only two other network transformations can compare, in scale and complexity, to the one currently underway, driving the transition from networks built on inflexible communications infrastructure into programmable, interconnected, virtualised and largely automated clouds. The two comparable transformations sit at opposite ends of the time continuum. The first monumental transition took the US, then other countries, from the dits and dahs of the telegraph to an interconnected, nationwide network for voice communication. That was a pretty big deal. The other transformation is yet to occur. Its time, however, is coming soon. The next transformation will be to 5G, and it will be a direct result of, and be enabled by, today’s monumental transformation to network functions virtualisation (NFV) and associated technologies

T

he reason 5G is on par in scale and complexity with the other two transformations is not only the significant step up in capability, speed and ubiquity of the new infrastructure, but also for the comparable impact it will have on both the communications industry and humanity itself. The impact of 5G will be much like humanity’s collective experience both before and after phone service became an integral part of life. The interconnection of everything, which will accelerate wildly with full 5G implementation, will also drive change in our social and economic interactions and the way we inherently interact with our environments and the people and devices in them. Much of this change will be profound. It will also be driven by both the uses and misuses of the data we generate. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s take one transformation at a time – to the extent that is possible. Without the successful transformation to NFV and associated architectures for software defined networks (SDN), and cloud, 5G will be less impactful, because it will not have the flexible, programmable, cognitive support that it needs behind it.

Managing today’s transformation

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The author, Tim McElligott, is senior consulting analyst for global operations and monetization strategy at Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan

The organisation behind the development of NFV standards – the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) – and the corresponding industry specification group for management and orchestration (MANO), have understandably adopted a forward-looking stance on both infrastructure and operations. This means little consideration was given to interconnecting to, coexisting with, and ultimately transforming the legacy operations and monetisation environments. Such a position is known as focusing on the end game. Transformation is not an end game. It is a process. With the hard work of transformation – that of managing and orchestrating services across the resulting hybrid (legacy and virtual) networks – left to others, such as suppliers of legacy OSS and BSS solutions and

So far, most of the industry’s focus, funding and energy have gone to the definition, design and testing of NFV

and SDN infrastructure – and progress has gone well. Much infrastructure work remains, but even more important work on the operations and monetisation support side of the effort must not fall behind. This work has had less industry association focus than the infrastructure work. Operations and monetisation support for virtual networks has been left to software suppliers and opportunistic start-ups to get development off the ground.

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ANALYST REPORT Figure 1: Hybrid networks come in many configurations

Source: Stratecast

platforms, and a spray of niche startups, the greatest challenge turns out to be what it has always been: interoperability. Stratecast believes suppliers should think about interoperability in a new light.

From interoperability to coexistence Coexistence is a concept seldom heard in discussions about NFV transformation, or about business in general. The difference between coexistence and interoperability – the mode telecoms has operated within for decades – is much like that for countries who tolerate each other under the umbrella of the United Nations versus taking the next step to flourishing as a single human civilisation. To coexist is to live in peace with each other, especially as a matter of policy. Interoperability is merely a means to work with or use the parts or equipment of another system. The closest telecoms has come to coexistence so far is co-opetition born of local and long-distance interconnection. However, given that most offerings in the coming digital services era will be delivered via ecosystem partners, who must conduct commerce on a higher plane of interoperability, Stratecast thinks all industry participants must learn to coexist. This nirvana state must include not only providers of cloud, optical, Ethernet, virtual, internet, satellite, and telephony voice (including wireless) networking technologies, but also their support systems providers and most importantly, the various providers of content, infrastructure, data, collaboration software and services.

Peaceful and profitable coexistence

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• The customer self-care function • Service billing and revenue management at both a wholesale and retail level, which includes customer payments through to partner revenue settlement and general ledger posting • Partner software licence usage accountability • Partner content delivery accountability, as applicable • Reporting of service consumption compared with contract commitments for customers, while anonymised insights are delivered to the solution supplier, and all respective partners Emerging monetisation challenges include: real-time revenue accountability and partner management, business relationships, contract management, and the mind-boggling processes of metadata agreement modeling. Coexistence among partners is critical to the success of any new monetisation approach.

Operating in the moment The approach to managing, orchestrating, and assuring network services is more familiar to operators than new monetisation models, yet new tools and strategies are also necessary. The first mindset change for managing hybrid networks is to dispense with the idea that the legacy network and software infrastructure is the old architecture; it is not the old architecture; it is the current architecture. It will be so until the day 51% of customers are served by new network technology. The next mindset change comes in clarifying what is meant by the term hybrid network. The term is generic and can refer to many network configurations. Cable companies have long used this term to describe

Nowhere is coexistence more critical than in the area of monetisation, which grows more complex by the day as the range of potential partners extends far beyond the telecom industry itself – the automotive industry being the most recognizable example. Monetisation in an NFV-based digital services environment will be discussed in a future report, however, it is important to briefly note the challenge here: all other transformation efforts will be for naught without new monetisation approaches and considerations for the end-to-end value chain.

Business challenges from the global digital transformation initiative in any industry are many, and compounded when partners work together to create services involving multiple sources. It is even more challenging when partners from different industries create service offerings that have never been done before. Stratecast believes that the order of priority for addressing these challenges, after resolving any technology compatibility issues within a service offering ecosystem, should be:

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Figure 2: ECOMP functional diagram

Source: AT&T

their mixed fibre and coaxial-cable infrastructure. Hybrid networks have also consisted of public and private clouds, or combinations of carrier ethernet, MPLS virtual private network (VPN) and other technologies. Radio access network (RAN) technology and Wi-Fi can also form a hybrid network. So, hybrid networks are networks that utilise multiple core or access technologies, or different generations of technology, which require their own support infrastructure. As seen in Figure 1, many CSPs and managed service operators (MSOs) have a combination of networks that work in a hybrid fashion. This scenario is one that could have provided great experience managing hybrid physical/virtual networks had CSPs not been managing their current hybrid networks through separate vertical silos requiring dedicated operations and business support systems (OSS and BSS) stacks. Such a configuration is inapplicable to the new challenge. For the purposes of this report, a hybrid network is one that includes legacy-based physical core and edge infrastructure and support software; as well as a combination of NFV, SDN and cloud network technologies; and management and orchestration architectures. More simply, it is a combination of physical network functions (PNFs) and virtual network functions (VNFs) and the systems that support them. A hybrid network is not something you build with intention; the hybrid network is more a consequence of transformation. The current transition to NFV has left CSPs with bifurcated management solutions trying in vain to achieve end-to-end visibility into network and service management.

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Managing the physical-virtual hybrid network After an uncertain initial response to NFV, leading OSS/BSS suppliers and new start-ups have since begun making strides with dramatic changes to their portfolios and developing more definitive roadmaps. Many of their solutions, for example, are now cloud-enabled. On the OSS side, unified solutions provide better visibility into performance and usage across the hybrid divide. Service design and creation, is evident for example in the release by AT&T of its Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management & Policy (ECOMP) platform. ECOMP is the industry’s most important NFV-related development to date, although much will change in the first quarter of 2017 through revelations at Mobile World Congress. ECOMP changes the dynamic in the industry by placing the proper emphasis on management and control, assurance, automation, and – by way of policy management – monetisation. Figure 2 shows the ECOMP functional diagram. ECOMP offers a great start for developing an end-to-end management and control solution for virtual networking environments. One of its more important roles, as the platform matures, will be the enablement of product and service-independent capabilities for design, creation and lifecycle management. In September 2016, Orange France became the first CSP to publicly throw its tentative support behind ECOMP by agreeing to test the ECOMP platform and collaborate with AT&T on open source and standardisation initiatives around it. Orange has stated that success in testing would lead to a field trial. The test, at this point, is narrowly focused on ECOMP management and orchestration, as Orange works with its own select group of VNF

On one side of the bifurcation, at least in early deployments, is a virtual network infrastructure supported by solutions that fit into the new management framework from ETSI, known as Management and Orchestration (MANO). This framework is aided by SDN control solutions coming from suppliers participating in initiatives such as OpenDaylight and other cloud management projects. It is important to note that this mix of solutions is presently a multi-platform, multi-system environment – not a single platform. Over time, this multi-point operations and monetisation architecture will need to merge into, or feed into, a central

management design for all pieces of the virtual network. On the other side of the bifurcation are traditional, proprietary, physical network elements supported by traditional, licensed (although increasingly cloud-based) OSS and BSS. Many of these systems will be phased out. However, many of the individual functions currently housed within these systems may find life in the hereafter of microservices architectures.

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ANALYST REPORT

Figure 3: Initiatives for enabling management of NFV and Hybrid networks Initiative

Launched

Primary Sponsors and Contributors

Mission

OpenStack Foundation

July 2010

Founded by Rackspace Hosting and NASA. Platinum Members: AT&T, Ubuntu, HPE, IBM, Intel, Rackspace, Red Hat, Suse

Promote the global development, distribution and adoption of the OpenStack cloud operating system. Support developers, users, and the global ecosystem with a set of shared resources

ONOS

December 2014

AT&T, NTT, SK Telecom, China Unicom, Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, Cisco, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, Intel, NEC and Nokia

Produce the Open Source Network Operating System that will enable service providers to build real Software Defined Networks

OPNFV

September 2014

AT&T, Brocade, China Mobile, Cisco, Dell, EMC, Ericsson, HPE, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Juniper Networks, NEC, Nokia, NTT docomo, Red Hat, SUSE, Teleco Italia, Vodafone, ZTE

Build NFV Infrastructure (NFVI) and Virtualized Infrastructure Management (VIM) by integrating components from upstream projects such as OpenDaylight, OpenStack, KVM, Open vSwitch

OpenDaylight

April 2013

Brocade, Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Ericsson, HPE, Intel, Red Hat, NEC Cloudwatt, tcpcloud, CodiLime, Ipnett, Nokia, Piston Cloud Computing, CertusNet, eNovance, Semihalf. AT&T is on the Advisory Board.

Unite the industry around a common SDN platform, and help make interoperable, programmable networks a reality

OpenContrail

September 2013

Governing Board: Google, Weaveworks, Apcera, Apprenda, Cisco, CoreOS, Docker, Fujitsu, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Joyent, Mesosphere, NetApp, Red Hat, Supernap

Foster innovation in networking and drive cloud adoption by providing access to a production-ready platform built with open networking standards and programmability

Cloud Native Computing Foundation

November 2015

AT&T, China Unicom, Ciena, Cisco, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, Intel, NEC, Nokia, NTT, SK Telecom, Verizon

Create a new computing paradigm, optimized for modern distributed systems environments capable of scaling to tens of thousands of self healing multi-tenant nodes. Foster innovation in container packaged, dynamically scheduled, and microservices-based application development and operations

On.Lab (Open Networking Lab)

November 2014

BOD: Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Intel, Rackspace, and individuals Andy Bechtolsheim and Frank Frankovsky. Among Sponsors: AT&T, DT, Ericsson, Cisco, Nokia, HPE, Huawei, Avaya, NEC

Develop tools, platforms and open-source communities to realize the potential of SDN. Run both the ONOS and CORD projects

Open Compute Project

July 2011

BOD: Facebook, DT, Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, NTT, Verizon, Stanford & Princeton Universities

Break open the black box of proprietary IT infrastructure to achieve greater choice, customization, and cost savings

Open Networking Foundation

June 2010

Open Container Initiative

June 2015

AWS, Apcera, Apprenda, AT&T, ClusterHQ, Cisco, CoreOS, Dell, Docker, EMC, Fujitsu, Goldman Sachs, Google, HPE, Huawei, IBM, Infoblox, Intel, Joyent, Kismatic, Kyup, Mesosphere, Microsoft, Midokura, Nutanix, Odin, Oracle, Pivotal, Polyverse, Portworx, Red Hat, Resin.io, Sysdig, SUSE, Twistlock, Twitter, Univa, Verizon, VMware, Weaveworks

Create open industry standards around container formats and runtime and ensure all technical work and tools are: composable, portable, secure, decentralized, open, minimalist, backward compatible

OPEN Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O)

February 2016

Brocade, China Mobile, China Telecom, DynaTrace, Ericsson, F5 Networks, GigaSpaces, Huawei, Intel, Infoblox, KT, Red Hat, Raisecom, Riverbed, ZTE

Enable agile software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) operations with an open source software framework and orchestrator

Open Source MANO

February 2016

ETSI, 6WIND, Bell Mobility, Benu Networks, BT Group, Canonical Group, Comptel, EURECOM, Intel, Ixia Technologies, Mirantis, Procera Networks, Red Hat, RIFT.io, Sandvine, Sprint, Telefonica S.A., Telenor ASA, University of the Basque Country, Viavi Solutions

Develop an Open Source NFV Management and Orchestration (MANO) software stack specifically for CSPs that is aligned with ETSI NFV, and to capitalize on the synergy between standardization and open source approaches by accessing a greater and more diverse set of contributors and developers

Promote the adoption of SDN and the OpenFlow protocol standard, which structures communication between the control and data planes of supported network devices

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Source: Stratecast


partners. More recently, Bell Canada said it would collaborate with AT&T and other communications companies to evaluate the capabilities of the open source ECOMP platform. In the meantime, Verizon has offered its own reference architecture for NFV, and Telefonica’s UNICA virtualisation strategy appears to be back on track.

Driving change in operations and monetisation AT&T’s ECOMP is not the only important initiative in town. The following industry initiatives are working toward meeting the various challenges of next generation networks and operations: The common denominator among most of the initiatives and projects in the list above is the reliance on open platforms and systems, and more often than not, open-source software development partners. AT&T has opened the door to ECOMP a crack by exposing some of its platform to the open-source community. However, open source will need to be more widely and enthusiastically embraced for NFV to achieve its promise. Open source will have many roles to play in the delivery and support of communications services, end-user and value-added applications, and service delivery platforms. However, swooping in to replace operations software at the application layer is not an immediate goal of the open source community, or of CSPs. The open community is more focused on enabling platforms and value-added applications than on specific OSS or BSS software systems.

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Still, CSPs are gaining confidence that these perceived shortcomings can now be overcome. CSPs have already given open-source solutions some consideration, and have adopted open-source software for specific implementations. Open source has slowly become integral to telecoms operations. CSPs are changing their skeptical attitude about achievable business results using this technology approach.

Start with what you know It should be apparent that CSPs need dramatic and immediate change in OSS and BSS, regardless of these emerging technologies. Simply put, CSPs must become more agile in order to compete in the near real-time reality of internet-based, ecosystem-driven competitors. From their earliest beginnings, CSP systems have been divided into functionality sets tied to various business processes. Concern about these systems today are centred in several areas: • Installed systems were never designed to provide free-flow, real-time customer interaction – a staple in virtual, software-defined networks. • The purpose-built functionality of existing systems, the multi-vendor environment in which these systems are deployed, and the processdriven integration of these systems makes business change for even simple customer needs a costly, time-consuming endeavor. • Internal work teams lack near real-time insight into performance and customer experience. • Workflow processes and support systems cannot respond with sufficient speed to competitive repositioning.

There may be a near-term opportunity for open source applications or add-ons to address complex partner relationships built around new services; but there will not be a rush to say: out with the old, in with the new when it comes to most installed systems. This is particularly true with regard to service assurance and fulfillment, especially in hybrid environments. Just as CSPs will not realize a huge initial cost savings from virtualised hardware, nor will they solve all of their integration and inefficiency problems by ripping and replacing legacy systems. The biggest change for these applications will, instead, be the incorporation of better analytics, or perhaps a new analytics layer on top of open platforms; expanded self-service capabilities; automation, and open interconnection.

The reasons are many for why, if open source holds such promise, it has taken CSPs this long to tentatively accept, let alone embrace, this technology approach into their closed, siloed, vertically-stacked, proprietary networks. Many of these reasons continue to be valid, such as: • Security vulnerabilities • Insufficient hardening of shared code necessary for operating in a telecoms production environment • Loss of central control • Difficulty in tracking change management • Ongoing maintenance • Backward compatibility

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ANALYST REPORT

Shore up the weak points The ETSI MANO standard still requires further development to achieve the level of real-time orchestration necessary to manage the NFV side of the network. The legacy network’s biggest problem is its inability to cross domains, and model the types of on-demand services that will be possible in a virtual environment. Ever present on top of these technology hurdles are the challenges of adapting human resources to new technologies, and integrating new platforms and solutions with existing platforms and solutions. The following are long-standing weak points that CSPs can no longer abide in hybrid network management: • Organisational skills – The amount of change impacting the operations workforce can be illustrated by a project currently underway, called Central Office Re-architected as a Datacentre (CORD). CORD combines NFV, SDN and commodity cloud technology and methodologies to bring datacenter economics and cloud agility to the Telco Central Office. This initiative introduces data centre practices, open-source software development, and support for both, into what is currently the traditional network operations centre (NOC). The NOC is unprepared for a new way of management that revolves primarily around the use of data and open-source tools. While opensource networking is the second most in-demand skill in the Linux 2016 Open Source Jobs Report, such demand implies that the pool of expertise with this skill set is not large. In fact, knowledge of cloud technologies such as OpenStack and Cloud Rack is still the number one desired skill. According to the same jobs report, 87% of hiring managers say it is difficult to find open-source talent. Nearly the same percentage of hiring managers has increased incentives to hold on to the expertise they do have. CSPs as a whole must make the commitment to retrain their workforce. AT&T recently committed to retraining many operations personnel in the art of data science, for example.

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• DevOps – An emerging best-practices concept borrowed from data centre management, could help CSPs. DevOps enables collaboration and automation among third-party developers and internal CSP operations and IT personnel, planning and engineering departments, and support teams and systems. In the 2016 survey noted above, a full 58% of hiring managers are in search of people with DevOps experience.

Move forward While many relatively new industry initiatives are defining open standards for Virtual Infrastructure Management, SDN Controllers, and competing forms of MANO, a more seasoned body in network management is making its pitch for how networks and services should be managed in light of NFV, SDN and cloud. The TM Forum is attempting to define the Operations Centre of the Future (OpCF), through a combination of efforts from its Zero-touch Orchestration, Operations and Management (ZOOM) project, solutions already built into its Frameworx architecture, and new proof-points coming from its Catalyst programme. After years of claiming to do so, operations centres are beginning to take a more service-centric approach to managing the core elements of their organisation’s business. This change is due, in no small part, to the diminishing role that traditional network performance metrics and practices play in virtual networks; where automated virtual functions can be spun up as needed, prior to service-disrupting outages, or degradation in service quality is noticed. The network operations centre (NOC) will finally give way to the service operations centre (SOC) – although the new name is unlikely to stick. This operational shift will accelerate with the proliferation of NFV, because it will begin to make

• Process optimisation and automation – Developing the skill sets of operations personnel goes hand-in-hand with process change, as

humans are still a significant component of process execution. Selfprovisioning and fast-fail service experimentation and introduction are two necessary improvements that can only happen through process automation and the full integration of operations, orchestration, data analytics and monetisation (ODAM) functions with both physical and virtual network functions and cloud management systems.

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less sense to worry about the performance of individual, commodity hardware appliances. Still, the SOC may fall short as the management paradigm for NFV architectures, because it still relies on operation practices designed for a physical environment. This is where the OpCF takes on its significance. The OpCF holds that in the future: all network functions will be provided as software; there will be centralised management and control, and it will be automated; service delivery will be based on partner ecosystems; and OSS and BSS will become network functions just as software-based VNFs have done. For the most part, Stratecast agrees. However, Stratecast believes that achieving 100% softwarebased network functions is so far into the future as to render the TM Forum’s first point irrelevant. Also, OSS and BSS may indeed become functions; however, their design and capability set will be more like microservices than other VNFs. The OpCF is presently built on four key operational requirements: • Perform the management of virtual and current network appliances using standard IT infrastructure • Build as a network operations environment that exposes the network as a service • Add partnering capabilities that support traditional and virtualised network services • Provide a continuous focus on enhancing the customer experience

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Coexistence is a concept that CSPs are beginning to embrace by opening their networks to third-party partners in all areas of operations, service creation and delivery, and revenue sharing. There will be contentious days ahead as CSPs and their suppliers stake out positions in the new digital economy. Not every hard-won practice or reliable solution tagged with the moniker of legacy should be discarded in favor of something shiny and new. Many critical functions necessary today will be preserved in the emerging microservices architecture. Microservices, as they relate to OSS/BSS, stem from an approach to application development and delivery in which a broad application is broken down into distinct functional components. These components are made individually accessible, optionally on a per-use basis, rather than part of a monolithic solution. Microservices-based OSS functions can be housed in containers, such as Docker. This technology development, for bringing together the old with the new, will likely be a very hot topic over the next couple of years, beginning with Mobile World Congress 2017. Here, leading vendors will reveal their microservices strategies designed to bring together system functionality built to support virtual network functions with the capabilities from installed solutions that address the needs of physically-based network services. Microservices are an evolution of OSS and BSS, not a death knell. Also, there will be instances where the solutions are still better served as licensed or on-demand applications. OSS and BSS will be enhanced by microservices, as they will be with open-source tools, platforms and perhaps the long-needed influence of new operational best practices such as DevOps and those that emerge from the CORD project. Most of all, OSS and BSS must somehow become the enablers of coexistence rather than the barrier to it. That can only happen if they are allowed to contribute on an equal footing with the delivery of crossdomain services rather than worked around by new platforms.

Stratecast believes that the new operational paradigm for managing network services will also require a new approach to data collection, storage, and retrieval. The new approach must include real-time correlation, and access to the data by all systems and departments. The OpCF could be particularly good for managing hybrid networks, partly because it addresses four issues seldom mentioned in NFV/SDN architecture discussions: business processes, a common information model, open APIs, and exposing the network as a service. The TM Forum challenges CSPs by suggesting that the most important first step in transitioning to a virtual network is to begin to consume network resources in the same cloud-based fashion that they will expect customers to consume them. This means adopting software,

platforms, and infrastructure as-a-service (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS). Stratecast believes this is both a good gut check to see if CSPs have the courage of their convictions, and a good way to iron out issues CSPs may only identify when acting as consumers.

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ANALYST REPORT

Conclusion Transformation is not always transformative. It is sometimes merely a conversion from one technology to another. The concurrent transformations to NFV then 5G will be truly transformative: for consumers, enterprises, other industries, commerce, software developers and suppliers, CSPs, cloud service providers, digital service providers (DSPs), content providers, and to the concerns of information sharing, privacy, and security. Unfortunately, like the dashed hopes for the internet, it will do nothing to bring humanity closer or make us any smarter. Some problems just cannot be overcome by technology. It is because these new technologies are otherwise so transformative that we must think of them (NFV and 5G) differently than we do now. Given the length and complexity of this transformation, we must stop treating legacy OSS/BSS like a lame duck. With a few tweaks, perhaps better application programme interfaces (APIs) or the use of microservices, support software must be an equal partner in management and orchestration until such time as it is no longer equal. We must also jettison the concept of interoperability and replace it with coexistence, as previously described. CSPs, their partners, and suppliers, must live in peace with each other, especially as a matter of policy. And yes, policy is a double-entendre in this case. It means coexistence must be an open, stated goal. It also means something significant from a technology point of view. Actual policy enablement, management, and enforcement are the enduring operations functions that will hold this new network together. The idea of elevating OSS and BSS to equal status with next-generation MANO is not meant to protect a model that is no longer relevant. It is meant to deal with the reality of long-term hybrid networks when creating new services, managing network infrastructure, and delivering services to satisfy very different business needs.

About Stratecast Stratecast collaborates with our clients to reach smart business decisions in the rapidly evolving and hyper-competitive Information and Communications Technology markets. Utilising a mix of action-oriented subscription research and customised consulting engagements, Stratecast delivers knowledge and perspective that is only attainable through years of real-world experience in an industry where customers are collaborators; today’s partners are tomorrow’s competitors; and agility and innovation are essential elements for success. Contact your Stratecast account executive to engage our experience to assist you in attaining your growth objectives. For more information, visit www.stratecast.com or email inquiries@stratecast.com.

About Frost & Sullivan Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to use visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today’s market participants. For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the Global 1,000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Is your organisation prepared for the next profound wave of industry convergence, disruptive technologies, increasing competitive intensity, Mega Trends, breakthrough best practices, changing customer dynamics and emerging economies? For more information about Frost & Sullivan’s Growth Partnership Services, visit http://www.frost.com.

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VanillaPlus Report - NFV 2017