DevOps is forcing infrastructure providers and telecoms to adapt their business models. Nowadays, developers and operations teams expect to be able to scale networking, storage, compute and memory resources according to real-time demands.
Software-defined networking and network function virtualization, which enable bandwidth-on-demand solutions, provide enterprise clients with the control they require to manage how their end users, whether internal or external, access cloud resources. However, several obstacles hinder telecoms from delivering SDN, NFV and BoD. Let's review how to overcome them.
OSS and BSS challenges
Current telecom operations simply aren't designed to support real-time network provisioning, instantaneous firewall configuration and other networking tasks associated with DevOps. The infrastructure, talent and resources exist, but the operations support systems and business support systems in place pigeonhole telecoms into contractual agreements.
About a decade ago, one could make an argument for multi-year contracts for a certain amount of bandwidth at specific data speeds, but that was before cloud services became mainstream and accessible. To put that into perspective, Amazon Web Services released a beta version of its EC2 service in 2006. In addition, Microsoft didn't release its own Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service offerings until 2010, according to Nanocloud.
What's the beauty of AWS and Azure services? Admins can spin up and configure VMs however they want. However, most telecoms don't offer the same level of freedom because their OSS and BSS aren't built to support usage-based billing. If a telecom client's web servers encounter unexpected increases in I/O requests, the carrier likely lacks the ability to deliver on-demand network bandwidth, much less track the customer's data usage.
The technical challenges of BoD, NFV and SDN
Based on the challenges noted above, it's clear telecoms need to change their OSS/BSS composition. However, the obstacles don't stop with billing. For example, some telecoms do not have the technology necessary to decouple network functions from the hardware.
This deficiency prohibits enterprise clients from adjusting DNS functions, caching, intrusion detection and firewalling according to their unique specifications. If a customer ever wants to apply changes to its communications infrastructure, its carrier may have to spend days removing, installing and configuring hardware.
With this situation in mind, telecoms must first implement NFV and SDN within their own operations, abstracting control at the hardware level and virtualizing everything. This not only enables internal teams to quickly adjust network settings but also allows the company as a whole to run on commodity hardware.
How does SDN, NFV and BoD benefit enterprises
Over a five-year timeframe, telecoms could increase their revenue ninefold by offering:
- Usage-based network tracking tools that allow enterprises to pay based on real-time consumption.
- Greater customer control over the network and personalized services.
- The ability for customers to consume what they need when they need it.
ACG Research found telecoms can profitably reduce the price of their services by 29 percent, putting them at a significant competitive advantage. If you want to learn more about how SDN and NFV can benefit telecoms' ROI and operations, check out the infographic below.