Digital Transformation in the Telco Industry (as in any other industry) needs to happen, is happening and will happen! The question is how and when? The major obstacle that seems to slow down the progress is the complexity of this transformation specifically when a lot of legacy equipment needs to be transformed. Another withhold seems to be the complexity of the solutions currently offered in the market.
The new complexity challenge ….
The usual proposed next generation service architecture has several layers:
- Business-Layer: were the service requests are formulated as high level business-request e.g. “we need from side A to side B a protected 1Gbit/s connection” or “Site A, B, C and D need to be connected with a 100Mbit/s VPN”. Here is the home of the so-called “Micro-Services”.
- Service-Abstraction Layer: the high-level request is supposed to be described into one or more abstract request descriptions, which translates the business-layer request into abstract command for the Network Elements (NE) to carry out the service. This description is usually Model-Driven to be NE independent and reusable for different business request. Languages like YANG or TOSCA are playing here a dominant role.
- Execution or Configuration Layer: in this layer the Model-Driven Service Requests is translated into a list of real configuration commands to all NEs involved. The necessary configuration are verified, initiated, monitored and in case of failure rolled-back. A very precise knowhow of the several NEs is necessary and often a lot of mediation modules need to be included. Protocols like SNMP, NETCONF, CLI etc. are playing her the dominant role.
The Execution/Configuration layer is dominated by products from the NE-manufactures like Ericson, Cisco, Juniper, Nokia, Huawei, etc.. In the Business and Service layer established players like AMDOCs, Cisco Tail-f are competing with products and solutions from new players like NetCracker, Comptel (recently bought by Nokia), Ubiqube, OpenNet, InfoVista and many others.
Additional a list of open source projects like Open Day Light or Open LSO are delivering a huge amount of open source code trying to solve the problem. While other larger and smaller IT-solution providers like TCS, Accenture, InfoSys, etc. are offering integration services.
The number of different solutions, the additional abstraction layer, the creation of new additional languages and the engagement of experienced IT-Integrators have certainly helped to solve several problems in the transformation equation. However, it also has brought a new additional level of complexity, which finally translates into higher costs and more time to deliver new services. It therefore risks to eat up parts of the advantages one gets with the digital transformation.
… is avoidable with NetACE
NetACE is a simple* tool, which shortcuts the Service and Configuration layer into one!
First you translate quite generic business requests (e.g. certain Micro-Services) into a Service Model. The NetACE Model Editor (ME) makes out of this service model definition a very simple type of “Click and Drop” exercise, where the service is built from simple basic service multi-vendor entities offered by the System. All possible consistency checks are done by the tool, as NetACE knows the complete network in detail (see below Network Discovery).
In a second step the respective service will be activated by using the GUI based Network Topology Map and just clicking on the NE (e.g. the 2 Endpoints of a VPN) involved in the defined service. NetACE creates the respective command list (e.g. in NETCONF, CLI or just REST depending of NE in the network), which finally installs the service and in case of problems automatically rolls back.
You need to onboard a new Vendor?
No Problem NetACE supports a huge library of thousands of different network Elements from more than 40 Vendors – in case a certain vendor is not yet in our library complete new vendor onboarding needs less than 1 week. No complex process, no coding by highly skilled R&D resources – modeling can be done by network engineers.
Network Discovery first!
Forget to mention that everything obviously starts with an extensive and very detailed network discovery, which is one of the truly unique selling points of NetACE: all devices within a given IP-address range and all services of a the resulting network can be automatically be discovered within minutes (or hours for very large networks) before implementing new services.
*simple means in this context: a person familiar with daily network operation can learn to work with NetACE completely in less than one week – Model Editor, Life Cycle Service Orchestration and Device Management are all very intuitive and GUI-based.