What does the future of operations look like?
As NFV and SDN become adopted it is clear that the technology alone cannot provide business differentiation. Differentiation must come from using the technology to create an agile, innovative business that requires complete organizational transformation. Members of the TM Forum are working collaboratively to develop the core language, models and framework of assets that will define this new world of agile business and IT.
Thriving in a changing marketplace
The digital services marketplace continues to change at a relentless pace. The businesses that are having the most success are no longer those with unique services based on the latest technology, they are the ones who are using the technology in an innovative way to create compelling offers to serve their customers needs. Although much of the focus of the wider industry has been around the technology changes, the clear conclusion of research amongst TM Forum members is that business operations changes and even cultural changes are as important to business success.
The challenge of managing hybrid networks
The introduction of Virtualized Network Functions (VNF) has the biggest impact on end to end management. Firstly, rather than managing a monolithic network appliance, there is now a need to manage not only the network function itself but also the underlying cloud infrastructure that hosts the function. These two elements have typically been managed in very different ways and now need to work together. Secondly, unlike physical appliances, virtual network functions can be operated in a more dynamic way with new instances being created or scaled up and down in real time to match demand or maximize efficiency. Exploiting this dynamic behavior is seen as critical to realizing the business benefits of virtual technology.
As with the introduction of nearly all new technologies, businesses will be working with a hybrid of new and old for a long time. They need processes and systems that exploit the power of the new whilst still working with the constraints of the old. Key to this management is orchestration, automatically configuring network assets at many levels from low level resource elements to end to end service delivery chains across multiple clouds.
The operations center of the future
TM Forum members have collectively created a clear vision of what is required to transform their businesses for a digital world in terms of agile operations that allow the rapid introduction of new services.
One of the changes being anticipated is the adoption of DevOps style operations. DevOps is a term used to describe an operating philosophy where development teams and operations teams work much more closely and small incremental changes are regularly applied to systems. This is seen as a significant contrast to the NetOps methods where changes are made in a small number of large, infrequent, upgrades.
The businesses that are having the most success are the ones who are building partner networks in order to create new services that are being driven by the digital customer. This rise in integration with partners has resulted in the operations teams now being responsible for delivering services which rely on a combination of owned and partner resources.
A roadmap of change with TM Forum
The TM Forum Agile program is working on addressing the challenges and areas of change for virtualization in a number of projects and workstreams:
|PROJECT||PROJECT DESCRIPTION||GET INVOLVED|
|ZOOM Project||Bringing together over 100 leading companies from around the world, the ZOOM program – Zero-touch Orchestration, Operations and Management – an extension to the core Frameworx, members are collaboratively developing specific models and frameworks including a living blueprint for a new generation of service provider support systems to deliver true business agility and new digital services and revenue opportunities.||Join the Project|
|Core Frameworx||The project has developed a number of the key assets required for implementing hybrid management solutions including an extended version of the Information Model specifically modelling network resources. Also critical is a common architecture to provide a high level framework for describing end to end orchestration at multiple levels.||Join Project|
|Virtualization Proof-of-Concept Catalyst||Current Catalysts have completed multiple demonstrations of the power and business benefits of hybrid networks, and some of the findings from these are explored in our research report NFV: Can it be managed? Blueprint for end-to-end management.||Check out Catalysts|
|Training: Fundamentals of Transition to Virtualized Networks||This course is an essential guide to the new world of possibilities that the transition to software defined networking and network function virtualization opens-up, for all types of digital service providers, their suppliers, and their customers.||View Training Course|
See all assets available in the Agile Operations toolkit, including resources on platforms, zero-touch operations, partnering and procurement transformation, DevOps and much more.
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