Oracle Communications is updating its operation support system suite to help service providers more easily design services that span both physical and virtual networks.
Communications service providers (CSPs) continue to aggressively move to more virtualized environments, but they also still have a foot in the legacy physical world, which makes the issue of service delivery even more complex, according to Oracle officials. They need to develop services for both environments, and they need to figure out ways to deliver those services.
The latest release of Oracle Communications' operational support system (OSS) portfolio is designed to help CSP be more flexible when it comes to developing and delivering their services on networks that are becoming increasingly dynamic, according to Doug Suriano, the company's senior vice president and general manager.
"As CSPs continue to standardize and virtualize their networks, agility in service design and automation in service delivery have become major focus areas—which is putting a spotlight on OSS to rapidly launch and efficiently deliver innovative services on an increasingly dynamic network," Suriano said in a statement.
The upgraded OSS suite is the latest step in Oracle Communications' efforts to give CSPs the tools they need to accelerate their adoption of network-functions virtualization (NFV). NFV and software-defined networking (SDN) are expected to enable service providers and enterprises create more flexible, agile and programmable networks.
The technologies let organizations remove the control plane and various networking tasks—like load balancing, firewalls and intrusion detection and prevention—from complex and expensive networking and put them into software, where they can be housed on less-expensive commodity systems. Spinning out new services on legacy networks is a manual operation that can take weeks or months; NFV can reduce that time to hours.
In a report last month, analysts with IHS Infonetics said they expect the NFV market—including hardware, software and services—to grow from $2.3 billion this year to $11.6 billion in 2019. Software will comprise more than 80 percent of that $11.6 billion, according to Michael Howard, senior research director for carrier networks at IHS.
"NFV represents operators' shift from a hardware focus to software focus," Howard said in a statement at the time of the report. "The software is always a much larger investment than the server, storage and switch hardware, representing about $4 of every $5 spent on NFV."
The transformation for service providers to virtualized networks will take 10 to 15 years, and the carriers are still in the early stages, the analysts said.
Oracle Communications is doing what it can to help speed up that migration to NFV. In February, the company unveiled orchestration tools and a converged infrastructure offering for NFV, and in June announced it was virtualizing four of its products—including its session border controller and application server—to be used in NFV environments.
The enhancements touch on the visual modeling, design and configuration of packet-based network connectivity capabilities of the OSS suite, as well as integrated support for Carrier Ethernet 2.0 services, including being able to deliver those services across disparate network operators in line with MEF's Lifecycle Service Orchestration architecture.
By giving CSPs a single and integrated design environment that works with Oracle Communications' Network Service Orchestration Solution, the vendor also is enabling customers to use the OSS suite to deliver services on both virtual and hybrid networks. There also is an improved catalog export capability to enable businesses to use the same fulfillment solution on multiple systems, and new tools to better process order and manage exceptions during processing.