There is a lot of talk about “open solutions” and NFV in the telecom industry. TelecomTV televised an interview with Ariel Efrati, CEO of Telco Systems, to better understand these terms and where the market is heading.
The interview, entitled “Closing the loop with OSS & BSS Systems,” was conducted by Guy Daniels, the Editorial Director of TelecomTV during the GEN15 event in Dallas in November, 2015. This is what Efrati had to say.
Open is an overused term. Everybody speaks about open, and to be honest, we spoke about open 10 years ago. People use it to refer to different terminology. I was sitting with an AT&T executive yesterday and I asked him “What is open for you?” I think his answer was correct. He said, “Open is not the word that we’re looking for. It’s not about open source. It’s about not being tied to one solution, to one approach.”
Telco Systems believes that being open is the ability to integrate and to coexist together. Now, there needs to be a standard. Think about it. When you roam today with your device, you don’t care whether you’re crossing an Orange network or an AT&T network. It’s transparent to you. That’s what you want in this field as well. You want to be able to move from one function to another.
NFV adds a lot of functions, but you want these functions to be available wherever you need them. Many of the large vendors want to give you an open feeling, but you will still be very much locked in. The reason is that this is their wishful thinking. I think that now, operators get that. They want to have the ability to find the best of breed without paying for the cost of integration. And this is the key element here, and this is how I coin “open”. Open is not free. Open is the ability to be free, and that is the difference.
NFV and Hybrid Solutions
Everybody speaks about a “pure” solution, a “greenfield” solution. This is not a reality. You have to work on a hybrid approach, and a hybrid approach is where the rubber meets the road. You want to make sure that when you introduce new enhancements, new dynamic capabilities, new functions in places they never existed before, that they can coexist with the current systems.
For example, EdgeGenie Orchestrator is a network management layer that abstracts the layer and capabilities from other orchestrators or OSS and BSS. We add to that a lot of functionality. NETCONF (Network Configuration Protocol) has the capability to open up services. All our devices are supporting that already. But it may be preferable to use some others capabilities, such as OpenStack or maybe OpenDaylight among others.
Because EdgeGenie Orchestrator is quite dynamic, we have integrated new plugins, as well as other new advanced solutions such as OpenStack-based or OpenFlow-based solutions. And EdgeGenie Orchestrator actually encapsulates that. It’s indifferent. As a user, you don’t care whether you are using a more advanced layer or a more so-called legacy concept where you can measure up the services together.
OSS and BSS are quite flexible. The main issue is how you close the loop with the network itself to enable those functional capabilities and dynamic connectivity services. The dynamics customers are looking for is the ability to get into layer 7. When you look at layer 7, you see that this is the way that we’re providing the service.
For example, let’s look at what we’ve done in the ETSI Proof of Concept (PoC). This is a POC together with Orange, Cisco, Intel, and Netrounds, which demonstrates the ability to measure the real performance of an application, [i.e.] the ability to get into the packet itself and to know how it performs when it delivers the service at the end of the source. And that is very important. This is a capability you want to expose to the OSS and BSS. This enables the OSS and BSS to be very instrumental in creating dynamic services.
Closing the loop is about the ability to define something in the OSS and BSS, and the ability to deliver it and to measure it all through the network where the service is being provided, and not just defining a policy without the ability to enforce it. That is very important when you are looking at a service that needs to be provided to a customer, and this is closing the loop.