Transforming the OSS in a brownfield site
With the growth of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), how can brownfield operators transform their existing Operation Support Systems (OSS) stacks without heavily impacting their businesses? Hybrid networks (both physical and virtual) are here to stay and business processes will need to evolve in order to support the Network Transformation.
Approaching OSS transformation
There are multiple approaches for transforming an OSS and outlined below are four possible methods for brownfield operators. These can be selected either on their own, or a combination of approaches can be used depending on the operator’s transformation requirements, says Manish Singh, vice president for SDN & NFV product management at Tech Mahindra and Rishi Kulkarni is a Principal Solution Architect in Tech Mahindra.
Approach 1 – Follow the network
In this approach, the operator focuses on building a SDN/NFV compatible OSS based on the network type being transformed. For example, if the network being transformed is wireless, identify the systems, processes and teams delivering these services and transform those first. The next network type (e.g wireline) may or may not re-use certain components of OSS that were already built for the wireless domain.
This is an iterative process aligned to network transformation, where benefits can be quickly shown to business stakeholders. The downside of this approach is the re-work required whilst traversing multiple network domains and enabling cross domain scenarios.
Approach 2 – Inventory first
Inventory is at the core of both fulfilment and assurance in traditional environments, and drives most of capacity and change management processes. It is also an area where providers have seen many business process related issues. One of the most common issues is the level of data modelling in inventory systems today, making them extremely heavy and static. This results in a longer time to market for any new product/service.
This approach first transforms the inventory system(s) and the corresponding processes by bringing in abstraction and federation modelling principles. After that, apply one of the other approaches outlined here for rest of OSS.
Approach 3 – Parallel build
This approach is to have the strategic OSS stack built (multiple layers) suitable for all domains, test service by service and cut-over from a legacy stack. This results in a period of time when both legacy and strategic stacks will operate in parallel.
This approach ensures a strategic stack is available right from the start and also means unnecessary OSS functionalities can be removed altogether by cutting them off from the service management cycle. This is an easier route from the outset but execution may take longer compared to other approaches.
Approach 4 – A Greenfield approach
SDN/NFV enables service providers to launch new products and services at a much more rapid pace; a Greenfield
approach in launching these products provides an edge over modifying traditional monolithic IT. This Greenfield stack can be a micro-services based, light-weight platform which can be spawned for every individual product type supporting only the product-related new data, process and integrations while all the existing data can be federated from the legacy stack.
The lifecycle of this stack can be restricted to product trials and pilots, providing the necessary time for service providers to prepare their strategic stacks for the successful products.
In conclusion, depending on the business drivers and network transformation strategy, brownfield operators should carefully tailor their OSS transformation approach; there is no one size to fit all. An integrated approach combining people, processes and technology would make for a successful transformation.
The author of this blog is Manish Singh, vice president for SDN & NFV product management at Tech Mahindra and Rishi Kulkarni is a Principal Solution Architect in Tech Mahindra
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