OSS flipped on its head by NFV and SDN?

One has to passionately believe it is possible to change the industry, to turn it on its head, to make sure that it will never be the same again.”
Richard Branson.

Have you heard of these two TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) – NFV and SDN?

If you haven’t, it might be time to do some research because these two concepts – Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) – are quite likely to have massive impacts on existing OSS and the vendors that supply them. A few links are provided below as starters.

This link provides a brief overview of the differences between SDN and NFV.

As Ralph Santitoro, director of strategic market development for Fujitsu Network Communications states, “The current OSS system is broken, and it’s going to be replaced. You can no longer patch it. It’s too expensive; it’s a 20- to 25-year-old architecture; it doesn’t follow the new paradigms.” (refer to SDN Promises an OSS Headache for Telcos).

An analogy is that current-day OSS are designed around defined structures such as circuit oriented topologies (eg PDH/SDH), relational databases, physical assets, known data connections and controlled data sources. Unfortunately these constructs are decades old. These older OSS constructs are breaking because unstructured concepts are already replacing them such as packet-switched networks, unstructured big data sources, virtual assets and ad-hoc value-add data connections.

NFV and SDN are taking change within packet-switched networks to the next level and will need to be intertwined with radical change in OSS applications. In fact, whole new network management concepts may replace OSS completely because they current-day tools will quickly become legacy tools.

The table in this blog shows the impacts that NFV and SDN will have on traditional OSS.

Skill-sets, processes, operational activities and even org charts are likely to change as these technologies come increasingly into effect with significant buy-in already underway amongst the network equipment vendors.

Reading between the lines, it appears to me that OSS and network equipment will increasingly align and overlap under NFV and SDN regimes, so this could present a challenge for the unaligned OSS vendors and their independent products.

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