Automation in service provisioning and activation is gathering pace and there is little doubt that this is where the future lies for communications service providers. SDN is now firmly embedded with many operators and NFV has moved beyond the simple separation of software and hardware.
During the last truly significant top-to-bottom transformation affecting service providers—the move to IP—CSPs learned the hard way the importance of incorporating assurance into services and infrastructures. Relegating service assurance to an afterthought was damaging to CSP business. It proved hard to recover from the impact of being perceived as a low-quality provider—all because of a launch-and-forget attitude to services.
As this latest transformation takes place, service assurance is in danger of following the same path again: becoming an afterthought or forgotten entirely. Much thought and design effort has contributed to automating service provisioning and activation—radically increasing the agility of both the entire service design and deployment lifecycle. However, service assurance is also part of that chain, and it is crucial that its tools and infrastructure evolve hand in hand with the automation revolution.
Though imminent, fully orchestrated NFV is taking longer to emerge than expected, and a strategy that offers interim benefits is an undeniable asset in this evolution. This is part of what makes service operation centers (SOCs) such an interesting proposition: they provide inherent benefits in their own right and the actions required to make them successful align exactly with the exigencies of a high-automation environment that has service assurance built into its heart.
Having an automated, cross-domain network and live service topology model that covers legacy as well as next-generation networks and services and can bridge the gap into BSS systems is the key to both a successful SOC and automation stack. Operators need technology that can achieve these goals if they want to offer fully assured services in the highly-automated future.
For more details on why live topology is vital to keep pace with industry advances in automation, download Appledore Research Group’s paper entitled The Importance of Live Topology in the Modern Service Operation Center.