Operations, Administration and Maintenance

By Greg Gum  |  Posted 2010-01-13 Print this article Print

Operations, Administration and Maintenance

While Carrier Ethernet is economically attractive, the focus of innovation has shifted to the area of Operations, Administration and Maintenance (OA&M), given the lack of new tools and software to manage demanding new service applications. Due to the dynamic nature of new real-time and near real-time bandwidth-intensive, IP-based multimedia applications, new OA&M management systems are expected to support and optimize the feature functionalities that are needed for better service performance and network efficiencies.

They're expected to do this while minimizing operating expenditure (OPEX) impacts to carriers and IT managers. Recent data from the FCC suggests that over 77.1 percent of an operator's service revenues are being spent on OPEX alone. This may explain the increasing trend toward outsourced management activities such as hosted services or software as a service (SAAS), given the large amount of technical and economical challenges required to maintain these services.

Thus, options available to large, in-house IT management departments are being scrutinized by corporations because, as service applications become more complex and OPEX heavy, pressure mounts to lower corporate operating costs-with managed services being viewed as one of the means to control expenses and head count within organizations.

Although outsourcing network management may still be the preferred option for some, there is clearly a need for new, advanced OA&M solutions to place the control back in the hands of the IT Managers-by decreasing IT's burden of network management and lowering the dominating factors of OPEX as the complexity and exponential growth of IP-based applications continue.

According to a recent FCC study, a typical enterprise's LAN administration costs constitute about five percent of the overall corporate OPEX model. However, with WAN services, this may grow significantly-especially since WAN service costs are monthly, recurring charges (which may also include premium services due to the service-level agreement (SLA) guarantees that are required to maintain high availability performance metrics). Therefore, IT managers must ensure the performance and efficiency aspects of the delivered services, and do so without further increasing their monthly operational budgets.

Over the past few decades, performance-monitoring tools for predicting network problems and enhancing network service reliability have been developed and implemented successfully for time-division multiplexing (TDM)-based networks. While the service space is changing, many of the problems and challenges of packet-based Ethernet networks are similar to those of the TDM era. Enterprises are demanding the same monitoring tools for IP networks that they used for TDM networks.

Greg Gum is the Chief Marketing Officer at ANDA Networks. Greg brings over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications and networking industry, having served in various product management, marketing, corporate investment and business development roles at both startup and Fortune 500 companies. He can be reached at ggum@andanetworks.com.

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