Raj Sahakari, Principal Consultant, Network Technology Solutions and Services, Tech Mahindra
In my previous blog, I touched on an important point of how a Converged Network-IT Managed Services (CNW-ITMS) Provider can play a vital role in multi-location CSP operations by monitoring and controlling the Network and IT stack from a Centralized Operations Center. I also made a cursory mention of SDN/ NFV as evolutionary trends.
SDN and NFV are no new terms now, both ordained to change the way networks behave and interact with their OSS/BSS counterparts. ETSI NFV ISG, ONFand TMForum ZOOM, among others, are playing their part to get specifications in place.
The ‘New’ Operations
One thing becomes clear – in the SDN/NFVera, network operations will no longer be the same again and will in fact, undergo a massive transformation. Entities like the NFV Orchestrator and the SDN Controller will do most of the work. There will be so many moving parts that it will become humanly impossible to manage the show without automation. The network inventory would keep changing on account of virtualization, thus warranting a change in the OSS systems too. Aspects such as catalog management, resource inventory, network provisioning and service management would now wear a “real time” garb. Today’s OSS systems would thus be forced to move away from their siloed existence and get more tightly coupled with the network systems.
Well, CSPs would definitely go slow and the transformation is not going to be overnight. The legacy networks are going nowhere so soon and we will have to deal with hybrid networks for at least 10 years or so. Hence, for all this period, operational aspects such as fault & performance monitoring root cause analysis and provisioning would need a view of both the physical and the virtual worlds. As networks become more software, they would enter the data center and sit alongside their IT counterparts. Converged operations would thus become a ‘default’ need in SDN/NFV. The new “touch-points” in the network like the NFV Orchestrator and SDN Controller will warrant a DevOps model for operations, wherein there will be a high degree of dynamism in configuration, provisioning, upgrade and decommissioning activities.
What do I need to do?
The operations staff has some work to do in this emerging world. They will have to pull up their socks and up skill themselves to address the new virtualized software network. They would need to get their hands dirty with scripting, programming and all the API stuff. We are talking of a ‘cultural shift’ that is imminent and fast approaching. Undisputedly, this is no mean task and it definitely has its fair share of challenges. But does that mean I turn my back to it?
I am aware that CSPs are at different stages in their virtualization journey. Some are still content with their traditional non-virtualized setup, while some have moved their IT stacks into the cloud. Still fewer have pioneered their way into SDN/NFV and are virtualizing their networks. The point I am making is - wherever in the adoption journey a CSP maybe, Converged Network-IT operations is ‘the’ way forward.
And, who better to help out CSPs in this journey, than that vendor-neutralConverged Network-IT Managed Services (CNW-ITMS) Provider?