Contributed by Ofer Farkash, Product and Solutions Marketing Director, Amdocs.
Why does an orchestra need a conductor? With their prominent position at the front of the stage, and everyone’s eyes fixed upon them, they certainly look important. But if the musicians already have scores guiding them what to play, shouldn’t they be able to manage on their own?
An orchestra comprises a group of individual, highly skilled musicians, each of whom has learned and practiced their instrument for years. But while each musician knows their own piece of the score, if you leave them together to play without common guidance, you’ll have no single voice of the music’s speed, volume or expression. The conductor is the one who unifies all of these variables, weaving the individual players and their sections into a cohesive unit and giving life to the music on the page.
Modern telecommunication networks are much like orchestras, with network services being the symphonies. They are “composed” by chaining specialized siloed capabilities across a hybrid network that spans multiple domains and technologies, as well as a mix of physical, virtual and cloud network functions that spread all the way from the network access and edge to the core, telco cloud – and now, also public clouds.
Just as the challenge of an orchestra is to get all musicians to perform the same piece for a harmonized symphony/outcome, operators must overcome the challenge and complexities of multi-vendor, multi-technology networks and cloud siloes so their services meet their committed performance and customers’ needs and expectations.
Communication service providers (CSPs) are slowly progressing in their network virtualization journeys by gradually introducing network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN). Until the journey is complete, over the coming years, many parts of the network will continue to rely on traditional physical appliance-based network elements. This mix of siloed virtual, physical network domains and clouds, which are managed by specific domain orchestrators, controllers or other management systems, expose critical multi-vendor and multi-domain complexities, while diminishing end-to-end visibility, control and the ability to run operational processes efficiently.
While some operators are trying to bridge these siloes with highly disjointed manual processes, such an approach does not scale. Trying to manage today’s highly complex services such as secure SD-WAN, NaaS, edge and 5G services using manual processes that span multiple system silos is increasingly difficult and undermines the ability of CSPs to not only innovate and meet their customers’ emerging needs, but also to deliver and operate services in a timely manner that comply with service-level agreements.
Moreover, almost every service today must operate across a network that spans multiple domains and technologies, traversing all the way from fixed or mobile access to the edge and core, and accessing the telco and public clouds. One such service is 5G network slicing.
5G network slicing enables CSPs to move away from the rigid ‘one size fits all’ business model to offer differentiated connectivity services such as ultra-low latency and massive IoT services with varying network performance characteristics. But to deliver on this promise, they need an end-to-end network slice orchestration and operations solution that can create, provision and manage the lifecycle of network slices spanning the RAN, edge, transport and core network domains.
An end-to-end network slice orchestration solution monitors the performance of each individual network slice, ensuring it meets its SLAs by triggering the various underlying domain controllers to make corrective actions to resolve service degradation.
For all these reasons, many service providers are now looking to implement a solution for end-to-end network and service orchestration that enables them to obtain efficient and effective service lifecycle management of network and cloud services across multiple siloed domains, vendor technologies and hybrid networks.
Just as a conductor acts as the orchestra’s quality control manager – unifying the musicians, setting the tempo, listening critically, calling out errors and anticipating potential ones – when it comes to networks, this is the job of the end-to-end service and network orchestration solution. It ensures that service intent and quality of experience are maintained by executing continuous service fulfilment and dynamic closed-loop assurance and enforcement of services, xNFs, as well as network and cloud resources policies.
For CSPs, an intelligent, standards-based end-to-end service and network orchestration solution has today become a necessity. In partnership with the right vendor, such a solution provides the empowerment to fully exploit their investments in best-of-breed specialized network technologies, while unleashing the huge potential of cross-domain 5G and other modern services, as well as programmable and cloud-native networks to create new revenue streams.
Read the solution overview to learn more.
Ofer is a panelist at FutureNet Middle East & Africa on the 26th of January. CSPs register free here.