Just as customers seek digital transformations that turn vertical-market enterprises into technology firms, service providers should leverage current investments in NFV to simultaneously upgrade their operations support systems (OSS), a new Heavy Reading
After all, a new virtual network running the same old applications will continue to suffer from many of the same issues -- lack of agility and flexibility -- as a legacy system. Perhaps even more worrisome, sticking to the status quo jeopardizes a service provider's anticipated return on NFV investment.
"However, widespread adoption of NFV will only happen when robust management, orchestration and OSS architectures are defined and implemented. Operators that seek to implement NFV without preparing their OSS to support it are unlikely to be successful in capturing the new revenue-generating and cost-saving opportunities that NFV promises," writes James Crawshaw, senior analyst at Heavy Reading and author of "Next-Gen OSS for Hybrid Virtualized Networks." "OSS should not be an afterthought; it will continue to be central to the operational efficiency and agility of the service provider."
In fact, 78% of service provider executives surveyed by Heavy Reading believe integration of OSS is a challenge to NFV deployment, according to the research organization. Of that group, 35% said it's a huge barrier -- one for which they have yet to find a solution, Heavy Reading found. The remaining 43% concurred it's a barrier but claimed to have determined a suitable resolution, the report said. One fourth of respondents said it's only a minor hurdle.
Several open source forums such as ETSI and TM Forum are conducting next-generation OSS work, and the open source community is exploring how OSS has to adapt in an NFV world, writes Crawshaw. Additionally, service providers want OSS to fully leverage the benefits of NFV Management and Orchestration (MANO).
NFV, which faces its own interoperability and integration issues, should mesh with OSS, itself a "tangled web of disconnected operations systems," Crawshaw said in the report.
Facing challenges from web-scale companies without billions of dollars tied up in legacy systems and often eager to adopt virtualization and cloud in order to provide new services (plus gain flexibility, scalability and agility), service providers have another reason to take a holistic approach to NFV: In yet another acronym, that reason is OSS.
— Alison Diana, Editor, The New IP Agency. Follow her on Twitter @alisoncdiana or @The_New_IP.