What is the best OSS?

We’re often asked, “what’s the best OSS / BSS?”

One of the biggest challenges for OSS buyers is the huge amount of choice available. There are well over 500 listings in our Blue Book OSS / BSS Vendor Directory, so buyers are spoilt for choice. The problem is there is usually too much choice, with many competing products across any given functional sub-category. This can easily lead buyers to analysis paralysis.

Sadly, there’s rarely a single best solution. Every buyer’s needs are slightly different, so the “best” solution is different for each buyer. Rather than “best” it’s more a case of “best-fit” for a given buyer’s needs. There are vast differences in offerings across factor such as a buyer’s budget, level of support required, local engagement needed, functionality, level of customisation that’s acceptable, etc.  That makes vendor selection problematic.

We tend to use a double-filter approach to help buyers narrow down the list of 500+ down to a more easily managed list of “best-fit” for their specific needs. Where needed, we also assist buyers with more comprehensive vendor selection frameworks such as the one shown in this link.

Due to the need to determine best-fit rather than there being a single best solution, we take a vendor-agnostic approach to vendor selections in almost every case.  However, there are some products that we believe are either unique or stand head and shoulders above the rest at the current time. Unfortunately, and as you’ll see, these products fit more within the niches of OSS/BSS functionality than primary categories.

Time Series Database and Streaming Analytics

We’ve become evangelists for KX’s kdb+ time-series database for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because independent benchmarking demonstrates its significant performance superiority over all other data management platforms (at the time of writing), which is essential given the large volumes of streaming data (eg telemetry) that our OSS need to process. 

(Source: This chart is sourced from here, with a more detailed report here.)

Secondly, because a single binary less than 1Mb in size includes:

  • The time series DB,
  • K/Q/QSQL/SQL query languages,
  • CEP (Complex Event Processing),
  • In-memory and on-disk compute,
  • Distributed networking between kdb+ processes,
  • WebSockets,
  • TLS, 
  • HTTP/HTTPS client and server (it’s an application server),
  • and then by adding in .q files, you can integrate with ODBC, Python, R, Julia, Kx ML, many other libraries
  • Deploy anywhere – any cloud, edge, on-prem. The small hardware footprint and functionality makes it perfect for edge processing (distributed architectures)
  • Then there are other supporting tools like KX Dashboards, KX Insights, IDE and much more

We’ve developed some small data products using kdb+ that have barely scratched the surface of its capabilities.

Open Source Inventory Management

We had plans of building an OSS sandpit using open-source or trial-licence products for years, but a capable inventory solution was the missing piece of the puzzle. Kuwaiba is that missing piece and we’ve now done a whole series of OSS Sandpit posts built around Kuwaiba inventory to demonstrate its capabilities.

In addition to all the other functions and features, it has two key strengths:

  • It’s based around a graph database (Neo4j), which makes it well-suited to some complex inventory use-cases like path traces, service impact and root-cause analysis
  • It has a very clever data model that make it suited to modelling any form of network (which we’ve demonstrated in our OSS sandpit with not just comms networks, sensor networks, smart city networks, or even heavily virtualised networks like 5G and data centres, but also power, gas, rail and other types of network too). This data model provides great adaptability for coping with a never-ending stream of changes to make, model and topology coming into a network

We should note that there are many other commercial inventory management tools available on the market.

Migration of Unstructured CAD / Spatial Data

As mentioned in this post, I was surprised by the relevance of this solution. The Interactively Assisted Converter (IAC) solution of DFG Consulting provides a GUI with clever wizards to make CAD / GIS / Spatial data more ready for migration. It takes unstructured, inaccurate data and fixes it ready for ingestion into OSS.

I thought this problem would have been overcome years ago and everyone would be working with well structured data these days. I was surprised at how persistent this problem still is today. The only other approaches I’ve seen involve far more manual fixes as part of the migration process, which can be a time-intensive and costly task on large volumes of unstructured data.

Generation of 3D Reality Meshes for Immersive Site Awareness and Tower Engineering

The Bentley ContextCapture solution consolidates many simple photographs into 3D models, reality meshes and/or point clouds. These 3D models allow for operators to see photo-realistic representations of a site, panning and zooming around them in 3D space. We expect this capability to become far more commonplace in network operations in future, allowing remote workers to visualise a site for many use-cases, including to communicate with on-site workers.

The Bentley solution is widely used, underpinning other solutions such as Trendspek for many use-cases ranging from asset identification / annotation, asset quality inspections, remote surveys, visual overlay of static or streaming data, Augmented Reality, Digital Twin and much more.

Bentley TowerIQ also allows operators to incorporate 3D site models with CAD designs and optimise their workflows. This even includes reverse-engineering of 3D models into CAD designs that allows engineering to be done on the tower when CAD files are not available for the site.

Connecting with These Vendors

If you would like to speak with us about any of these vendors (or the 500+ in our Blue Book OSS/BSS Vendor Directory) or just like to be directly connected with the vendors, please leave your details in the contact form below.

Disclaimer: Note that we are evangelists for these products because of their uniqueness and/or capabilities. None of these vendors provide sponsorship for our endorsement, but we may be offered an affiliate commission if your connection leads to a contract of sale being formed with some of them.  

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