Doug Suriano Issue: Asia-Pacific I 2015
Article no.: 10
Topic: Why policy, analytics and in-network expertise have to converge in JAPAC
Author: Doug Suriano
Title: VP Products
Organisation: Oracle
PDF size: 1600KB

About author

Douglas A. Suriano, Vice President, Products, Oracle Communications

Doug Suriano assumed his current role as Vice President, Products after Tekelec was acquired by Oracle Corporation in 2013. He is responsible for product management and product development for the former Tekelec portfolio of products including Diameter and SS7 Signaling and Policy Management.

Prior to this role Doug served as Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Engineering to develop Tekelec’s solutions for the mobile broadband era. Doug is responsible for product innovation, leadership in standards bodies and industry forums, and advocacy for innovative mobile data solutions. Doug led the initiatives to transition Tekelec from hardware-centric products to software-centric solutions and expand the market share of Tekelec’s text and voice solutions. He also headed the development of Tekelec’s Diameter Signaling Router (DSR), the undisputed market leader and the first product of its kind sold to multiple LTE networks.

Prior to Oracle Communications, Doug served as Vice President of Engineering for dynamicsoft, Inc. and Chief Information Officer for QAD Inc., Prior to QAD, Doug managed the Information Technology division for the United States Marine Corps.

Doug earned his Master of Science in Information Technology at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and a Bachelor of Science at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Article abstract

The dichotomy of mature and nascent markets in JAPAC warrants that operators tailor the pace of migration and the degree of network automation to the different combinations of old and new, physical and virtual they encounter across Asian markets. 

Full Article

With changes in regulation and the emergence of OTT-driven services in different regions of the Japan-Asia Pacific (JAPAC) markets, there is a veritable mashup of regions still expanding 3G networks with others representing the tip of the spear in terms of LTE innovations. In one area there might be people just getting into basic voice and data services, while in others like South Korea, people are keen to try new, innovative services.

In recent months, there has been tremendous momentum across China, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan in terms of policy and signaling adoption as these markets prepare for LTE and VoLTE and the prodigious data and signaling increases inherent with sophisticated digital services.

In the more innovative markets, there is definite trending toward more involved partnerships between CSPs and their suppliers, as there is a deep recognition that LTE, VoLTE and the evolution toward NFV and SDN will require expertise in multifarious and diverse technologies — all of which must come together to make virtualization and the promises of operational efficiency, agility and enhanced customer experience a reality.

As a result, Asian operators are being much more deliberate and careful about who they choose as suppliers. They need initial roll outs to go smoothly so that individual and enterprise customers are more apt to try new services and to assume more control over those services as their sophistication and that of their devices grow. JAPAC operators in many regions already recognize they will not be the only ones defining and implementing services, but that subscribers and devices will at some point participate in the roll out and provisioning of LTE services. Subscribers, enterprises and customers will want the power to initiate more bandwidth or new services dynamically without having to engage operators each time.

The degree of subscriber awareness needed across the entire services-enablement flow will be substantial, and preparation will involve some key steps.

First, there has to be a transition away from monolithic OSS architecture, which becomes a ‘boat anchor’ when establishing end-to-end orchestration across networks, services and applications. It is no longer be acceptable to take six months to a year to roll out new services when competing in a universe of innovative and agile stakeholders like Facebook, Apple and Alibaba. JAPAC operators cannot afford to grapple with a complex requirements stack from IT, development and testing, or the subsequent difficulties in aligning OSS and BSS for each new service.

Instead, JAPAC operators need modular OSS and BSS that serve as the foundation for the policy-driven, analytically charged orchestration necessary to compete in what ultimately will be an NFV world comprised of hybrid, physical and virtual elements.

Likewise, credible NFV partners have to possess strong roots in not only OSS, but also in network intelligence and “analytics + policy” capable of tying orchestration to the business. Only these players can offer the technologies that drive simultaneous insight about networks, customers and services.

There has to be an understanding that meaningful insight is derived from two types of intelligence: decision intelligence, which gives insight into what resources satisfy services and business needs, and then the analytics that provide feedback on how the network performed and how customers behaved.

At the heart of decision intelligence is a robust policy engine. It should provide a store of all the business and technology rules needed to drive revenues and ensure appropriate QoS. It should govern bandwidth decisions, data volume entitlement and other variables increasingly important to bandwidth shaping, traffic shaping and enforcement of QoS parameters. Policy should bring context to subscriber data profiles and information related to state, usage, location, and parental controls.

The policy engine should be fueled by relevant analytics (predictive and real-time), which filter and correlate large amounts of data so that CSPs can make faster and more informed decisions around entitlements, feature combinations, rate plans and equipment and capacity decisions.
As policy reveals resource availability and governs how workloads are managed around key metrics and measurements, it is the advanced analytics and reporting that give insight into policies, quota usage and the behaviors that ultimately drive QoS decisions and network resource allocations.
In other words, it is analytics that optimize policy’s impact. Through trending reports and dashboards, JAPAC operators can make the most of data related to network conditions, subscriber behaviors and policies. For example, quota tracking measures can show impact on networks and gateways, allowing operators to report and adjust service offerings or billing accordingly. It can also help their customers to adjust plans according to their usage, roaming, and budgets.
These adjustments or modifications optimize network utilization and customer experience, and help operators to improve their positions in the market.
It’s important that as valuable lessons are learned, they are infused in a programmable way across the network, OSS, BSS and other components of the CSP ecosystem. That in turn will fuel improvements to bandwidth management, routing plans, and traffic type assignments —ultimately improving service quality and customer perceptions about network performance.
Once JAPAC operators get to the point they are constantly learning from the information they gather, decipher and report, and using what they learn to drive improvements into networks and services, they will get closer to the nirvana of Network Function Virtualization (NFV). They will become empowered to orchestrate communication across applications, OSS/BSS, different APIs, VNFs, physical infrastructure and virtual machines as needed—as the dynamics of people and services dictate.
Essential to that orchestration will be an intelligent orchestration framework, within which network service orchestration, application orchestration and virtual infrastructure management will be possible.
Network orchestration will manage the lifecycle of network services. The VNFs can be any specialized hardware or software, such as PCRFs, DRAs, CSCFs, mobile network nodes, SBCs, billing and revenue management and charging systems. They can be virtualized through software running on NFV infrastructure (NFVI), which encompasses all the hardware (computer, storage and networking resources), and virtualization or container technology used to provide the infrastructure resources wherever VNFs are deployed.

NFV infrastructure (NFVI) will be managed using virtual infrastructure managers (VIMs) — cloud management systems tasked with managing the virtual machines that run on hardware in the data center (e.g., Oracle OpenStack, VMWare vCloud Director). The power of the VIM to manage virtual network resource allocation depends on the robustness of the cloud infrastructure and its compliance with ETSI standards. It is the foundation for infrastructure management and communication with NFV analytics, which offers insight into customer actions and network resource utilization.

The above tasks will be accomplished through “orchestrators” in the intelligent orchestration framework:

Network services orchestrator (NSO), which offers CSPs the flexibility and the ability to implement NFV today. Leveraging OSS assets to enable service activation, it helps them to simultaneously manage physical and virtual network functions. The NSO coordinates network services and integrates to an application orchestrator so that network services can be composed and deployed quickly. The NSO manages the lifecycle of network services across different vendors’ products and across diverse locations from a single application. It ensures network services meet customer demands by elastically scaling them and automatically updating service connectivity.

Additionally, the NSO provides operators with stateful inventory that provides persistent and accurate data for all processes; service aware in its native services information model and topology; dynamic and data driven with a configurable catalog of reusable models and business policies; automated in its delivery through intelligent configuration of heterogenous infrastructure.

Application orchestrator (AO), which manages all capacity and virtualization coordination for virtual network functions. Rather than take weeks to launch digital-lifestyle services, CSPs can free themselves of the manual configurations that make management of network functions and their lifecycles arduous and error prone.

This orchestration component empowers CSPs to respond automatically to changes in network capacity requirements and KPIs. It assumes the critical role of the Virtual Network Function Orchestration Manager as defined by the industry’s ETSI MANO architecture. Newly provisioned devices are automatically added to device and configuration managers, and a master configuration is maintained so that operational efficiency is optimized while carriers pursue monetization opportunities.

When these orchestrators work within an intelligent framework, CSPs can reap the full benefits of intelligent orchestration:

• understanding the many ways in which virtualization affects core network functions, such as provisioning, service quality management, network performance and the overall customer experience.

• knowing and managing how network assets are utilized and how data traverses OSS/BSS and service layer platforms — even when many service instances, physical network function instances, and VNFs come into play.

• monitoring and acquiring vast stores of operational data for evaluation evaluate against millions of transactions and events, as well as managing reporting needs for network elements, servers, databases, applications, OSS/BSS, and customer support.

Success will depend on the modular design of OSS and BSS — the foundation for the policy-driven, analytically charged orchestration necessary among hybrid, physical and virtual elements in NFV.

JAPAC operators need NFV partners and suppliers that possess strong roots in OSS, network intelligence, “analytics + policy” if they are to successfully tie orchestration to their businesses, continually driving insight about networks, customers and services back into their business decisions.

It is also important that JAPAC operators get a solid commitment from suppliers and vendors to open, standards-based solutions that ensure they will be able to pick and choose the components necessary for developing best-of-breed services.. Additionally, JAPAC operators should be able to feel secure that all products they purchase will possess a common thread of intelligent orchestration and proven performance to help them as they evolve LTE, VoLTE and ultimately NFV strategies.