The operations support systems (OSS) market is in for some big changes. The proprietary OSS model is being pressured by open software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) technology. Some of the larger OSS vendors, including Oracle, are starting to respond to the changes ahead.
The drive toward open technologies will create a new market for open orchestration, fulfillment, assurance, and management technology. We’re calling this market Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO), which will be multiple billions of dollars and has the potential to subsume the $50 billion market for OSS software. Think of it as a next-generation, open OSS. The existing OSS market, which is often tied to legacy, proprietary technologies, will have to adapt to a new, open world.
Last week, Oracle released a new version of its OSS suite adapted to virtualized environments. Some of the upgrades include the ability to dynamically provision carrier-class Ethernet circuits, a catalog export capability that allows service information to replicate data and automate the creation of services, and improved mass-order processing, targeted at cloud-service providers that need to process thousands of orders at once.
The new Ethernet provisioning capabilities in Oracle’s OSS suite will help take carrier Ethernet to the next level. Oracle is following the lead of the MEF, which developed the Carrier Ethernet 2.0 standard as well as E-line and E-LAN and is now working to create new standards for dynamic bandwidth provisioning, via Ethernet. This is something the MEF calls the Third Network. Service providers or cloud providers want to be able to provision more bandwidth with a click of the button — whether it’s for enterprise data customers or wholesale use by other providers — rather than requiring a series of complex manual configuration tasks just to provision an Ethernet circuit.
Dynamic bandwidth provisioning is a big technology undertaking for a global telecom system that’s a little behind the times. Imagine telcos spinning up Ethernet bandwidth the way a data-center provider can spin up virtual Machines.
Another paradigm I like to use is what happens in the consumer mobile world. A new mobile service can now be provisioned in minutes. You can also make changes to the service, often instantaneously, by logging into a Web portal and adjusting your service. This is consumer-friendly. It took a long time to get there — and the mobile industry still has issues, such as egregious roaming data charges — but the industry has moved a long way toward a responsive, customer-driven model.
OSS products are key to enabling these dynamic services because of their importance in service assurance, fulfillment, product catalogs, and orchestration. The research data shows that OSS products may be the bottleneck to making it all happen.
The Outdated OSS
For example, survey from our “LSO Overview and Market Forecast” report, which targeted more than 60 service providers with the help of the MEF, indicated that 54.6 percent of operators regard their OSS systems as “outdated” with a need to be updated or overhauled. Sixty percent said they were lacking a capability to launch new services in a cost-effective and time-effective manner.
Oracle was part of an important industry demonstration at the TM Forum show in Nice in June. In that demo, Oracle partnered with Juniper Networks and InfoVista to show how an enterprise service could be set up by provisioning a virtual customer premises (vCPE) connection using software. The idea here is that service can be set up across a wide-area network (WAN) without requiring specific hardware or manual configuration.
This approach, called Cloud WAN or software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), is a growing trend. But many of the SD-WAN players are executing at the connectivity level without thinking about the OSS implications for service providers. Orchestrating and provisioning a connection is one thing, but once the service is set up, you also need to worry about service assurance, fulfillment, and billing — all typically functions of the OSS and billing support systems (BSS).
We also covered a lot of these industry changes in a recent webinar here on SDXcentral, called “Lifecycle Service Orchestration in an SDN/NFV World.” The webinar included presentations from my research as well as Oracle’s vision. You can check out the webinar and the Q&A that followed right here.
The new Oracle Communications OSS suite includes updates to several products, including Oracle Communications Design Studio, Oracle Communications Order and Service Management, Oracle Communications Unified Inventory Management, Oracle Communications ASAP, Oracle Communications IP Service Activator, Oracle Communications Network Integrity, and Oracle Communications Network Intelligence. For more information, you can see the press release here.
The Rayno Report’s 32-page premium report describes in detail the emergence of the LSO market, including extensive customer feedback about what service providers want to see in native LSO implementations and next-generation OSS systems. “Service Provider Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) Overview and Market Forecast” can is now on sale for 20% off and can be purchased for $675 for a single-user license.