It’s a tricky balance coping with massive growth as well as seismic changes like 5G at the same time. One operator we know describes how the data on their network grew by 150,000% between 2007 and 2016. That’s driven by billions of events per day. It’s a lot of zeros. Depending on the analyst you talk to or the report you read, data traffic is expected to perhaps treble by 2025. It will continue to be driven not just by 5G of course but also by 3G and 4G. At a very basic level: more speed and more devices will mean ever more data to be managed.
With all the amazing challenges and opportunities that 5G is already bringing, it is also providing the opportunity to reimagine how existing 3G, 4G and fixed line silos can be better managed and converged. Earlier megabucks proprietary data and AI requirements are no longer needed. Mixed experiences with 4G especially have led to a more open-source democratisation of data management.
Today, the open-source Elastic Stack is enabling companies to ingest, search, analyse and visualize real-time data from any source, in any format, and share it instantaneously to drive key business decisions. With insight into sales, outages and how customers are using products, business units, IT and executives are all better able to monitor company performance and make strategic decisions rapidly – even automatically.
It’s is why for example operators like Sprint are using it to aggregate real-time data from retail operations and hundreds of APIs running on thousands of servers. 200 dashboards represent three billion events per day from logs, databases, emails, syslogs, test messages, and internal and vendor application APIs.
Just some of the specific benefits we’ve been seeing at Openet by combining Elastic technology via our Policy and Charging solutions include:
- Pro-active maintenance and SLA management leveraging operational analytics
- Anomaly detection via Elastic ML capabilities
- Consolidating HW, VNF, Microservice, cloud container & application performance
- Performance & inbound/outbound traffic monitoring
- Service Assurance with greater efficiency and scale
- Subscriber and transaction tracing
- Serving data from an ODS (Operational Data Store) back to multiple clients such as self-care portals and apps (showing user call history etc.)
- System health check reports
- Application Business Insights reporting
What a difference even a few years has made to our operator friends and their management of data. Using the Elastic Stack also speeds up development by eliminating massive overheads and complexity and by increasing engagement across the entire development community. The benefits are for service providers of all sizes and create a level playing field. Data management will be an increasing issue with 5G as its open, developer-friendly features are designed to allow external partners to spin up services spontaneously and independently. The capability for handling data will have to respond.
Fresh thinking is allowing the reconsideration of data volumes not just as a mountain to be climbed but as the “cement” of a service provider. Or perhaps a better comparison is that it is the “smart x-ray” into the network as Deutsche Telekom has described it. Proprietary data tools are out of vogue ever more and it’s no surprise in the more open 5G world. It’s why at Openet we’ve been a lot more “elastic” for some time.