BOSTON — NEC’s Netcracker division today released an upgrade of its telecom software suite, Netcracker 10, which is tackling the evolving convergence of Operations Support Systems (OSS), Billing Support Systems (BSS), and virtualization.
On Thursday here at an analyst event, Netcracker CEO Andrew Feinberg called Netcracker 10 “the only industry solution that brings together virtualization and OSS/BSS.” He said the new technology is based on networks in Japan built in response to the 2011 tsunami disaster, which resulted in government mandates to build self-healing networks.
“This platform leverages an incredible first-mover advantage in the Japanese market that has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in virtualization,” said Feinberg. “Japan is light years ahead in virtualization.”
Japanese technology giant NEC bought Netcracker for $300 million in 2008. NEC has a broad portfolio of enterprise and service-provider networking products, including a Software Defined Networking (SDN) controller.
With the technology upgrades, Netcracker is making a play to become one of the broadest portfolios of service-provider IT tools. One could argue that with the addition of its orchestration, analytics, and SDN integration to Netcracker 10, Netcracker now has a suite of OSS, BSS, virtualization, and orchestration solutions as broad as any in the industry.
More importantly, here at its analyst conference, Netcracker laid out how OSS, BSS, and SDN tools will evolve together, demonstrating how service providers could build customer-provisioned dynamic services. One case study that Netcracker demonstrated was how a shipping company could use the provisioning tools to allow a customer to search and provision the shipment of a live giraffe between different points in the world, including getting a price quote within 10 minutes.
Yes — a live giraffe. In the demo the customer was able to search, provision, and add options such as feeding the giraffe, monitoring the giraffe’s health and location, and shipping process. The demo also showed how mobile networks could enable real-time monitoring and tracking of the live animal being shipped.
In case you are wondering, the price to ship a live giraffe by truck from Vancouver to Edmonton, including the required hourly feedings, came to about $4,000. Netcracker is working with a major service provider and shipping company to set up dynamic shipping and logistics services. Stay tuned.
Some of the key feature additions that were announced in Netcracker 10:
Single Cloud Platform. The suite uses a single platform to manage network and resource requests across multiple data centers and points of presence. NetCracker 10 is also a cloud platform integrating its OSS, BSS, networking orchestration, and management functions.
Analytics. NetCracker 10 has added big-data analytics to optimize network planning and application resources. It can be used to optimize the deployment of virtual functions over servers distributed across an entire network. It can also be used to model projected service demand, optimize capacity for trending events, and align demographic requirements with application performance.
Orchestration. The suite supports services orchestration across integrated networks and systems, using data from network devices and SDN controllers to route traffic and services. Service providers can deploy services over virtual infrastructure and use the analytics capabilities to optimize the network.
Biometrics. Netcracker 10 can integrate diverse data sources from services, networks, and devices, including biometric data for security and other applications.
NFV. Netcracker 10 integrates Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), including technology from its parent company, NEC. This will include the ability to provision specific virtualized network functions from Netcracker, NEC, and third parties.
It will be interesting to see if service providers start using Netcracker for a wider range of services, including NFV orchestration and virtualization. The company has had some big wins lately, including the announcement that Telefonica would be using its software to overhaul its BSS system. The company said it also has more big announcements coming with Netcracker 10 and global service providers.