I am Corine Suscens, senior marketing manager at Openet and I will be presenting this webinar on virtualizing business support systems with my colleague Sean Broderick, Product marketing manager at Openet.
Our presentation will last about 30 minutes and will include operator examples and case studies. Overall, we will cover 2 main points: I will start with the key drivers and benefits of BSS Virtualization Then Sean will discuss how operators can virtualize BSS, whilst reducing risks and protecting legacy investments
So let’s start with what is driving operators’ interest and, investment in BSS virtualization.
Analyst firm, Current Analysis, issued a survey report in July which highlights that, operators will be “using virtualization to drive innovative service creation, especially the creation of services and apps that require time to market intervals of only days, even hours.”
They then stated that “Many operators view NFV (meaning network function virtualization) as a key ingredient in their OSS/BSS transformation objectives, offering an escape from the legacy 12-24 month service creation cycles that handicap their long-term competitiveness”
In other words, operators see BSS virtualization as a solution to drive service innovation and much faster time to market
In fact, telecoms.com Intelligence ran a survey of 100 operators on the topic this year. The survey revealed that two third of operators have deployed or are planning to deploy virtualized BSS by 2016. More operators are also expected to follow as the benefits of BSS virtualization are realized.
Before diving in more detail into the benefits that BSS virtualization brings, let’s have a quick review of what virtualization and NFV actually mean, and their implications in terms of BSS.
Virtualization refers to the techniques of creating a virtual version of a computing resource. As you can see in the diagram, it is enabled through a virtualization layer which is the software that sits on top of the physical hardware to create the virtual machines.
In the case of business support systems, virtualized solutions remove the one-to-one dependency of BSS software on specific hardware; this then makes it easier to create, scale and manage instances of BSS in response to business or technical requirements.
NFV or Network Functions Virtualization is an initiative launched in 2012 by a number of network operators around the world: It aims to evolve standard IT virtualization technology to consolidate network equipment onto industry standard high volume hardware And implement network functions in software that can run on a range of industry standard hardware
What many operators are doing now is extending virtualization and NFV concepts to BSS, which enables them to achieve 4 key benefits: Accelerate service innovation Learn fast and minimize risk Facilitate new business models And Optimize costs
I will now examine in more detail each of these key benefits
In terms of accelerating service innovation, virtualization enables operators to simplify, and accelerate the service deployment process, by making it easier to deploy and manage BSS software. This is because operators can use virtual machine images where a single physical machine can be shared by multiple virtual machines.
This approach removes the need to create a full new hardware based environment for every single service introduction, with its full, lengthy, procure-design-integrate-test-deploy cycle.
Also in a virtualized environment, there is no need to create a separate test environment as is usually the case in traditional environments. Offers can be tested and launched on the same infrastructure. As a result, the time from test to scale production can be reduced from weeks to hours.
Finally services can be rapidly scaled up or down as required. This allows targeted services based on geography or customer sets to be introduced much more rapidly.
Overall, BSS virtualization accelerates the cycle of innovation and the time to market for new services.
As an example, a tier one North American mobile operator is now able to introduce services in days which previously would have taken months without virtualization.
In Europe, Telefonica has indicated that its UNICA virtualization infrastructure can reduce deployment times from 4 months to 4 days
The second key benefit that BSS virtualization brings is the ability to learn fast and minimize risk .
In a recent survey by Telecoms.com, 73% of operators said that virtualization enables them to trial new services and business models with minimum disruption.
Services can be easily rolled out or rolled back, and resources can be easily re-allocated as required. It’s also easy to go from a small scale trial to full scale production in a virtualized environment.
Moreover, once the initial service is launched, operators can perform in-service upgrades and modifications, faster and with minimum disruption.
Finally, the adoption of open standards with BSS and NFV removes vendor lock-in. This then reduces the need for vendor specific skills and simplifies the integration of new components to the existing network.
The 3rd key benefit is about how BSS virtualization facilitates new business models.
With virtualization, various BSS solutions can be deployed on a common platform. This makes it easy to create tailored solutions for specific market segments.
As you can see in the diagram here, operators can expose this capability to partners, And easily enable multi-sided business models For instance operators can enable partners to build, launch and maintain their own offersThrough a ‘partner self-service’ portal, that provides secure access to the operator’s BSS environment.
By leveraging virtualization to open up their BSS environment to third parties, operators can benefit from new revenue opportunities with various type of partners including content and OTT providers but also MVNOs and enterprise customers.
Finally, the 4th key benefit of BSS virtualization is about cost optimization.
Virtualization enables operators to reduce costs by consolidating hardware on standard non proprietary hardware and by simplifying the service deployment process.
In addition, virtualization allows for optimum utilization of the hardware deployed. - For instance, multiple applications can co-exist on the same physical server - hardware no longer needs to be permanently dedicated to a specific application or purpose; this means for example that hardware that is only needed for occasional peak loads can be easily re-allocated during off peak periods.
To sum up my presentation, significant operational and cost benefits are driving more and more operators to adopt BSS virtualization and this trend is expected to grow. However, the technology only is not enough; operators need to work with BSS specialists that have the domain expertize and experience in deploying innovative solutions to fully realize the benefits of virtualization.
This is the end of my section. Thank you very much for listening, I will now hand this over to Sean.
The problem, today, is that many OSS/BSS systems, architecture and data models are proprietary and rigid. Because historically CSPs data requirements and business processes have also been proprietary and rigid.
New business models, where agility is a reality rather than a marketing buzzword, will require agile BSS systems
Many of the large network equipment providers promote operator agility on one hand and a single supplier strategy on the other
Although virtualization goes some way to addressing this scenario, by allowing operators to ‘try out’ alternative suppliers without fear of technology backlash, there is still a pervasive attitude of carriers sticking with the one-stop-shop despite openly acknowledging that specialist BSS offerings are more attractive and capable.
Mobile operators who have sunk massive investment into BSS systems can be reluctant to trial new BSS systems as they want to protect their legacy investment
This approach is generally driven by the demand for more complex service support and the requirement to squeeze the last bit of investment from legacy systems
Operators do not have to wait for hardware vendors to be ready a software based solution, they can deploy BSS modules on industry standards servers.
In order to launch a particular new service such as RCS, an operator can deploy virtualized PCC as an adjunct to their existing PCC deployment. Although existing BSS can be used to deploy these new services the time to market can be up to 1 year.
First stage: virtualized infra, even simpler is to put a small virtualized platform in place. This can be deployed by vendors such as HP in a matter of weeks. Commissioning time vastly reduced.
Big bang approach not required. Easy intro to virtualization
For example, a subset of subscribers may be selected for a pilot. To roll out to production, the deployment can be scaled and subscribers migrated in a phased manner.
In a recent survey of 71 operators by Heavy Reading surrounding Policy 69% said they would expose Policy via API’s Question: Will your company expose certain network or IT capabilities via APIs to third parties such as content providers, applications providers, enterprises, and M2M service providers?
In the same survey only 24% of operators had no plans to virtualize their policy deployments
virtualization is a mature and proven technology that has been used to dramatically lower the cost structure of building and maintaining data centers. Virtualization helps maximize return on investment and get the most out of existing infrastructure and hardware. Previously, virtualization had made relatively little impact on the telecoms world, but that is rapidly changing.
NFV severs the link between a mobile operator’s services and its vendor hardware — giving operators the ability break out from a single supplier delivering hardware-based network equipment and services and realize the cost savings of a multivendor environment.
While rapidly deploying and upgrading systems virtualized BSS systems will not lose the ability to handle large TPS rates with low latencies.
In September 2013, AT&T launched the next generation of its Supplier Domain Program – Domain 2.0 – triggering a swift and broad move to a modern, cloud-based architecture that is expected to significantly reduce the time required to pivot to this target architecture while accelerating time-to-market with technologically advanced products and services AT&T plans to simplify and scale its network by: Separating hardware and software functionality; Separating network control plane and forwarding planes Improving management of functionality in the software layer
We have utilised these principles in a large Tier 1 in North America. These are a very progressive customer of ours who are strongly adopting the principles of NFV, and our systems enable them to get there. So, it is possible to do this, and it is possible to do it at extremely large scale.
By removing the need to create a full hardware-based environment, Openet has simplified the deployment process, enabling operators to focus on creating new revenue streams without having to deal with issues around integration, deployment and infrastructure management. The modular architecture of Openet’s systems along with BSS virtualization will enable operators to reduce costs and effectively transition from legacy proprietary technology and embrace open standards.
Openet has created a Logical Scalable Unit (LSU) architecture Each LSU is a self-contained building block of a deployment The LSU architecture has been designed from the ground up to maximize the benefits of virtualization and cloud technologies
This has resulted in easier to manage systems owing to our orchestration components. We can also rapidly deploy and upgrade the virtual machines on our LSUs. The LSU model or virtual images allows our systems to be hugely scalable, with a sample deployment architected (and tested) to handle 1.1 million TPS in a deployment spread across 11 data centres. This is a massive deployment, and one that is made significantly easier to manage through the use of the technologies I mentioned previously.
We have built a number of new components that make deployment and management of our systems easier. As this area is likely to be one where there is significant change in the coming years, we have made extensive use of standard APIs to allow integration with other systems.
Webinar Virtualization & BSS Transformation
Webinar: Virtualization & BSS
Transformation – Why and How
Corine Suscens, Senior Marketing Manager, Openet
Sean Broderick, Product Marketing Manager, Openet
18 September 2014