As operators seek to reduce costs and increase efficiencies leveraging newly virtualised network and cloud business systems, there are increasing risks and challenges involved in maintaining network up-time, guaranteeing service quality, managing Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and supporting core business systems in hybrid environments where virtualized assets don’t have the same behavior – or report the same metrics – as traditional legacy assets. Operators need to take a hard look at Service Assurance as the game will be completely new in the advanced/virtual network world.
These advancements to Software-defined networks (SDN) and the virtualisation of network functions (NFV) offer potentially huge advantages to operators - in terms of cost, service agility, fault resilience and vendor independence. However, these new networks also bring significant challenges to Service Providers. Legacy networks may be rigid and costly, but they are preconfigured, and their physical limitations make them comparatively easy to monitor and manage. Emerging, programmable networks will be much more elastic in nature - logical, multi-layered constructs within the physical environment, designed to meet the needs of particular service types, market sectors and even individual customers. They will also produce much higher volumes of data which will be harder to ingest and correlate – a major challenge in its own right. And, they will also demand a retooling of the management and control functions that sit behind the virtual environment.
Performing the following key services with Big Data approaches will allow operators to take capitalize on the new virtualised environment and the associated benefits:
- Ingesting and preparing service activity events by identifying the relevant data from trillions of data records to only deliver real-time “right sized” data to service automation platforms, legacy service assurance systems as well as next-generation “big data” environments.
- Adding meaningful context to streaming events and generating rich, holistic views of the customer to support overall customer experience and service management objectives. This is achieved by using connectors to various external systems to enable accessing customer data, network inventory, and product/service catalogs.
- Enabling analytics capabilities at the network-edge will trigger actions and decisions in real-time as data streams through the system, allowing for a superior customer experience and ensuring timely alarms when rapidly changing conditions merit action.
Openet’s Smart Data Manager is an example of the type of solution that is needed to deliver on service assurance for new virtualized networks, leveraging unsurpassed event and transaction processing performance at Tier-1 carrier scale, combined with unlimited flexibility over system and service configuration, to deliver on both existing and newly emerging metrics needed to manage operators’ evolving business.
As operators virtualise their networks, they will need a trusted approach to big data management and analytics and also, a strong and proven partner with a track record in virtualised network systems and challenging data environments.