Lifecycle Service Orchestration is a set of technology standards and products that provide orchestration and management integration among network systems, management software, and telecommunications IT software platforms such as the business support system (BSS) and operations support system (OSS). This can enable real-time automation, monitoring, and service assurance for a wide range of network-based services.
The long-term goal of lifecycle service orchestration (LSO) is to provide coordinated management and control of network services across multiple network domains that are responsible for connectivity – which could include mobile networks, Ethernet, virtual private networks (VPNs), and private lines (along with many more). It’s also expected that LSO platforms and standards will be integrated with software-based models such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) to provide visibility and automation to network services.
MEF Leads LSO Efforts
The MEF, an industry group backed by the world’s largest service providers, is widely credited for coining the term LSO and has been developing specifications for standardized LSO services.
The MEF has also introduced a reference architecture and framework for orchestrating the service lifecycle. It outlines functional management requirements and high-level operational threads to describe how advanced services can be orchestrated and controlled. The specs include definitions for how network entities can coordinate orchestration and management information using standard APIs. This is the part of a large effort the MEF refers to as the “Third Network.”
Key LSO Characteristics
The best way to think of LSO is as an extensive, standardized framework for managing networks and communications services, with the goal of automating and integrating interaction with BSS and OSS software.
The key capabilities of LSO consist of fulfillment, control, performance, assurance, usage, and analytics. Here are some additional capabilities that could be included in LSO, according to the MEF:
- Querying product catalogue
- Order exchange, management, and tracking
- Design, provisioning, and assignment of resources
- Verification, test, and turnup
- Discovery and reconciliation of service and network resources, topology, and connectivity
- Active control of the elastic behavior of service instances
- Managed connections
- Throttling up or back the bandwidth associated with specific connections
- Collecting service performance-related information across the network
- Gathering customer-provided quality feedback
- Service quality analysis
- Perform capacity analysis and traffic engineering
- Perform service quality improvement
- Management of aggregate traffic flows though the network based on projected demands
Many other features and functions could also be included. Because many of these functions are currently included in proprietary OSS and BSS systems, one of the goals of LSO is to standardize and integrate common BSS and OSS functions for a more widely available software framework.
One way to think of LSO is as the glue that binds together legacy OSS and BSS services, newer SDN and NFV software, and telecom hardware infrastructure. Next-generation software systems will include more standardized LSO components, creating native LSO applications.
SDxCentral.com research indicates the LSO software market could approach $3 billion by the year 2020 – but, more importantly, it will be very strategic. The providers that can deliver more flexible and agile services will be perceived as the leaders. Some emerging LSO players include ADVA (through its Overture acquisition), CENX, Ciena, and Netcracker. Larger software companies in the OSS and BSS space that are adding key LSO functionality include Cisco, Ericsson, HPE, and Oracle.