The need for more agile, flexible network fabric and rich set of on-demand support network services has given rise to NFV. The reality of SDN and NFV deployment is that they depend on a layer of orchestration and coordination that connects the ordering and business processes to how the network and associated services need to be configured to meet end-user and application demands.
While the MANO portion of NFV ostensibly addresses orchestration and management, the scope of MANO is constrained to handling the Virtual Network Functions (VNF) and the NFVI (NFV infrastructure). Most production implementations require integration of the MANO layer into existing OSS/BSS (Billing Support Systems) that already exist within communications service provider (CSP). At the same time, there’s a strong push by both new generation and existing OSS/BSS vendors to define the next generation of OSS infrastructure.
To operationalize NFV services and to ensure that CSPs can bill for these services, integration with OSS/BSS systems is crucial. Yet, even after many successful NFV POCs in CSPs, and initial NFV production roll-outs, many operators still question why its so hard to integrate NFV with OSS/BSS and why vendors haven’t done more to make the transition smoother.
The reality is that integration between NFV and OSS/BSS is complicated by the proprietary nature of these systems. OSS/BSS technology tends to be varied and often custom-developed by the IT side of an operator’s technology department. In many cases, CSPs have multiple flavors of OSS/BSS, built during different times to provide different network services.
The following graph, taken from SDxCentral’s Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) Market Overview Report which is available for download, demonstrates exactly this point. When polled, CSPs felt that the biggest challenge with current OSS deployments was that they were too proprietary (36%) and fragmented (26%).