Osborne’s statement sums up the current state of SDN/NFV/OSS. Even the basic definition of each is not standard, so it’s no wonder that those who are attempting to integrate an OSS with Open Source SDN are finding it a challenge. It challenges all the existing architectures, supplier hierarchies and associated market dominances, from the network providers through to the OSS/BSS vendors.
It is important to always remember that where there are challenges, there are opportunities. Osborne says, “The concepts of SDN and implications of virtualizing the Layer 3 services provide an opportunity of service innovation and agility previously unthinkable.” Despite false starts in the past such as IMS/SDP, Osborne believes the signals this time around suggest this shows great promise.
He says the target state is a network that is an all-IP layer 2 network with insertion points for software to implement and control service applications. Typical uses include QoS, peer-to-peer (P2P) functions, charging, location enrichment, content caching, security and network traffic optimization. He thinks the number of insertion points could become significant and a key to SDN/NFV becoming real is the ability to scale automation and execution of the management processes.
Osborne goes on to say that the benefits of SDNs and NFV to CAPEX and OPEX make a compelling story, stating that it’s now a question of when and of how CSPs undertake the challenge to manage their suppliers and the rate of implemented change. It also levels the playing field for new entrants in software network applications and associated management platforms. It will be about finding the right fulfillment technology to orchestrate SDN.
Osborne explains that in the move towards cloud-enabled front office and the virtualization of network functions, CSPs face critical decisions around public and private cloud architectures, data security and storage, and surrounding subscriber and service data. These off-premise/on-premise architectures have unique operating environments that existing platforms don’t natively operate within.
Finally, he says, there is also a significant opportunity for CSPs that combine intelligent data with the emergence of SDN. Pairing such functions with intelligent data can drastically increase efficiency and turn traditional business models on their head. More efficient operations and tools will lead to a streamlined approach to infrastructure management, data security and faster time-to-market for new products. Sleeker CSPs will lead to more powerful, dynamic products and services that will change the market and allow CSPs to focus on giving consumers the one thing that they’ve wanted above all: personalized engagement and a good customer experience.
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