The Most Compelling Conversations on the Comptel Blog in 2016

Posted: December 22nd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on The Most Compelling Conversations on the Comptel Blog in 2016

In 2016, Comptel focused on extending our Nexterday message and encouraging operators to stop over-thinking and start doing what they need to do to transform their businesses. The energy and excitement we felt at Nexterday North 2016, our second annual anti-seminar, told us that many operators are doing just that, turning the big ideas they hear around the industry into game-changing results. nexterday selfie

Here on the Comptel blog, we always want to give room for those big ideas to take shape. Let’s take a look back on some of the top pieces – and ideas – we wrote in the past year.

Enabling the Personalised Customer Journey

All operators are on a journey to better serve their customers. The activities they take in this area can be put into two categories – customer transformation and network transformation. In this piece, we explained exactly what the personalised customer journey is all about, and offered a model for how operators can win the hearts and minds of their customers.

Forget the iPhone. The Next Great UI Design Change is in OSS

The new iPhone UI looks a lot like the old iPhone UI, which tells you how iterative many of Apple’s latest updates have become. In this blog, we proposed that it’s time the OSS embraced a design overhaul, and explained exactly how the OSS of the future should look to offer the same ease of use you might expect from an iOS product.

Comptel Partnerships to Introduce Fresh Digital Service Approaches

2016 was also a busy year for Comptel and our partners. At TM Forum Live! in Nice, we were involved in three separate industry catalysts, each led by a Comptel partner. There was Telefonica’s Open Source MANO project, Orange’s sponsored data initiative, and IBM’s cloud-based networking architecture. These cross-industry initiatives are so important to Comptel because they keep us on the forefront of innovation. We want to lend our expertise in a way that benefits the entire industry, and we’re proud to stand alongside these partners in that effort.

Reimagining OSS to Enable Dynamic Digital Service Delivery

Our digital service lifecycle management (DSLM) model was a major theme for us in 2016, and in the Spring we put it to the test as part of the IBM Cloud Based Initiative. In this post, we explain exactly why and how digital service delivery needs to change to serve a new breed of digital customer.

Spectrum is the First Step. How Will Operators Next Invest in 5G?

Innovation abounds in connectivity, and 5G represents one of many emerging frontiers for investment and development. In the U.S., regulators opened up spectrum for telco experimentation, and in this post we covered the challenges that lay ahead for telcos who dipped their toes in this industry.

Sponsored Data is a Path to Revenue for Savvy Mobile Operators

Pokémon GO was a huge mobile gaming craze in the summer of 2016, and T-Mobile jumped on the buzzworthy topic by offering players one year’s worth of free mobile data exclusively to play the game. It was another example of a savvy sponsored data play that shows other operators how they creatively leverage data access to win over digital customers.

In 2016 we also launched Nexterday.org, our online magazine and reader community. You can read much more of our writing on digital transformation, customer experience and network innovation there.


Putting TOSCA to Work in Real-Case NFV

Posted: December 13th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Putting TOSCA to Work in Real-Case NFV

Comptel Offer Example Templates to the Open Marketplace

State-of-Play

There remains no doubt that virtualization is shaking the foundations of the telecommunications industry and is here to stay. As the technology continues to mature and evolve, use cases become more realistic and so do the requirements to represent the service specifications that allow their programmatic utilization and consumption.

Several standards organizations have laid proposals to this purpose and there appears to be consensus that, in the Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) case at least, TOSCA NFV appears to be positioning itself as the preferred option for operators and vendors alike.

The Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications (TOSCA) is a data model standard managed by industry group OASIS that can be used to orchestrate Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) services and applications. TOSCA does this through a collection of information models and templates to orchestrate applications seamlessly across multiple cloud domains which is ideal for network functions that are virtualized and deployed in datacentres.

At the time of this writing, the latest release of the TOSCA NFV Simple Profile dates from mid-March 2016. The document provides a good insight but it lacks practical, consistent examples (e.g. there are a few errors) and examples from additional sources are hard to come by. This applies to the Cloud Service Archive or CSAR (pronounced Cesar) packaging mechanism, in which the specification is conveniently wrapped with all the necessary components.

[Comptel] has taken the information that’s publicly available and created some examples that we would like to share with the broader community.

Use Case: vEPC Core Network CSAR

A basic representation of the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) Network Service Descriptor (NSD) composed of four Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) as shown in Figure 1 below. In addition, every node has a connection to a common management network.

Figure 1: vEPC Architecture & Interfaces

Figure 1: vEPC Architecture & Interfaces

The CSAR file contains metadata, the service templates or specifications, images and the corresponding scripts for the VNFs themselves. Figure 2 shows the structure of the file.

Figure 2: CSAR file structure

Figure 2: CSAR file structure

As displayed in Figure 3, the metadata file contains in line 4, a pointer to the main driving template, in this case the overall vEPC NSD which will link to the individual nodes (e.g. VNFs) and their relationship and corresponding connectivity.

Figure 3: Contents of metadata file (TOSCA.meta)

Figure 3: Contents of metadata file (TOSCA.meta)

The Network Service Design

The NSD provides the global overview (refer to snapshot below) on how the different components (e.g. VNFs, VLs, FGs, etc.) come together. Lines 9 thru 13 point to the VNF templates, in this case for every VNF.

The individual VNFs are described in lines 26, 37, 49 and 58 respectively. They contain a reference to the type, the list of (virtual) networks they are connected to and in those cases where applicable, a declaration of the forwarding graph capabilities (e.g. lines 45, 46 and 47). Additional details on the VNF themselves are contained on their own descriptors (VNFDs) which are shown later.

Next are the details of the external connection points (CPs). These are demarcation points for the NSD as depicted in Figure 4 and they are described in lines 65, 73, 81 and 89.

Figure 4: External Connection Points

Figure 4: External Connection Points

Finally, the networks interconnecting the VNFs themselves. In this case, all networks are point-to-point connections (e.g. ELINE) except for the management one, which is shared across all VNFs (ELAN). Every declaration, as seen in lines 97, 108, 113, 119, 125, 131 and 137 indicates the number of network entities attached to them.

The Virtualised Network Function Descriptor

The VNFDs provide details on the specifications of the individual nodes. The vPDN GW descriptor is shown below as a reference. Starting on line 42 the connectivity is described. This VNF requires two computational resources as expressed on line 48 (VDU1 & VDU2). Two of its interfaces (CP21 & CP22) are enabled to support Forwarding Graphs (line 51). In this specific case, four standard transactions types are supported through self-contained scripts: create, configure, stop and delete (line 54). The interfaces and their respective networks can be appreciated in general the topology depicted in Figure 5.

Figure 5: PDNGW_VNF Topology

Figure 5: PDNGW_VNF Topology

At the end of the VNFD template are two Forwarding Paths (Line 144 and 151). They represent the incoming and outgoing traffic for the PDN gateway. Figure 6 and Figure 7 provide a visual perspective of the traffic flows they control.

Figure 6: Forwarding Path1 on VNFD

Figure 6: Forwarding Path1 on VNFD

Figure 7: Forwarding Path2 on VNFD

Figure 7: Forwarding Path2 on VNFD

NSD_vEPC.yaml – File contents:

vPDNGW_VNF.yaml – File contents:

Comments

The standards provide enough tools to cover the most general of use cases, but we expect to see future updates that can target elements of the service description that represent more complex and realistic scenarios, for instance:

  1. Quality of Experience (QoE) or in general Quality of Service (QoS) features. There are some brief references in the existing standards but this area requires further development.
  2. The transactions/interfaces need to support more complex features that can allow them to be referenced and consumed more easily by higher order service orchestration processes.
  3. Forwarding Graphs should include indications of the traffic types.

Although Comptel has worked out these areas for its own products and specifications, the real value materialises when these specifications become open and seamlessly interchangeable by the different components in the architecture.


Moving Forward on Comptel’s Road to the Cloud

Posted: December 5th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Moving Forward on Comptel’s Road to the Cloud

Cloud imageBy Anand Adhiappan

Every great journey has a destination. In a business journey, your ultimate goal should be to find new strategies, ideas and approaches that benefit for your customers. The cloud might be the biggest such destination for many businesses in the telco industry today, and at Comptel, our cloud journey is about embracing the emerging platforms and solutions that will make life easier and better for our customers.

Comptel’s cloud journey took another big step forward at this year’s Nexterday North, where we announced the addition of another cloud solution, Fastermind. Everything about Fastermind is influenced by or tailored for Generation Cloud, the savvy digital natives whose buying and engagement preferences are changing the ways telcos have to service their customers.

Generation Cloud wants services on their terms, at their speed and personalized to their specific wants and needs. The cloud is the only way to deliver the dynamic, personalized services these customers crave.

As an industry, the benefits that we have realized by cloud adoption is unquestionable. We are on a journey powered by the cloud for our infrastructure, engagement and business models. Therefore, a well-balanced cloud strategy that drives focus back to business top-line and in parallel drives up the cloud maturity is needed.

The cloud has opened new business models that weren’t feasible in the past. It accelerates partnering, experimentation and building of ecosystems. But, it also creates complexity and dilemma with all the options that are achievable – stretching from NFV/SDN to private cloud to public cloud applications and hybrid environment, from do it yourself options to SaaS options.

Service providers are on a road to cloud. Many service providers have matured their cloud infrastructure strategy and have collaborated with their vendor partners to deploy solutions in the cloud and have demonstrated clear efficiency gains.

So, what’s your cloud journey look like? Are you running at the speed of business? Are unlocking new revenue streams? Is stakeholder engagement better than before? Do you have free hands to experiment new propositions? Even a small tweak to a service has a significant positive impact to the top line and experience.

Future success relies on being proactive and open to engaging as a part of a broader ecosystem. Cloud as an engagement model is bringing businesses closer so they can collaborate and win together. Cloud native strategy will bring the needed maturity. Cloud directions taken today with the focus on future proactive needs is a road to cloud!

At Comptel, we love the cloud. It brings us closer to our customers than ever before. We have been on a cloud journey for a long time already, as our operator customers serve more than 300 million end-customers in the private cloud environment. To date, our cloud solutions have provided our customers with important improvements in efficiency, but our upcoming product roadmap includes several important steps that will help us draw even more value out of the cloud. Stay tuned for more, and share your cloud journey!