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What is Next-Generation Operations Support Systems (NGOSSs)?

The networking world is changing. New requirements in mobile, IoT, and cloud are driving a need for dynamic and on-demand services. At the same time, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) are taking the world by storm. These systems, which are on the forefront of the software-based revolution, are fundamentally changing the way networks run, using software and virtualization.

This shift significantly changes how providers and enterprises build and operate their networks. At the same time, SDN and NFV have upended how services are created and delivered. The change, while providing significant benefits to enterprises, providers and operators, strains the limits of traditional OSSs.

NGOSS improves on traditional OSSs with a more modern, highly agile, modular, and scalable approach to network management systems, service delivery, fulfillment, and assurance, and customer care.

To keep pace, operators know they’ll need a transformation. With that in mind, standards are in development for NGOSS, with TMForum, MEF, and others leading a group of standards organizations. Meanwhile, organizations such as ONF and IEEE are also trying to get in the game. But building the consensus required to establish standards is hard work and can be time-consuming. It's probably too early to pick a winner between the TMForum and MEF approaches.

A delay in these standards deliberations may not be altogether bad, because networks are rapidly changing and it’s unclear whether any standard arrived at today can accommodate yet-to-be-conceived networks and services.

But, much as they support the efforts, waiting for future standards to become a reality is not practical for operators—either from a business or technological standpoint. Network operators need to make changes now to adopt SDN, NFV, and orchestration, or risk losing to competitors.

Nonetheless, it’s critical that any approach the industry utilizes should be flexible enough to accommodate today’s network and services as well as new requirements, standards, and services that will appear in the future.

Any NGOSS standard should adhere to three basic standards:

  • Agility: NGOSS should be able to quickly and easily bring new equipment and new technologies into a network.
  • Modularity: NGOSS should be able to choose best-in-class functions from different vendors or open source, and those functions should interoperate without issue.
  • Scalability: NGOSS should be able to scale to manage and control a network of potentially millions of physical and virtual 'things.'

In addition, because network operators are transforming their networks with NFV and SDN, NGOSS must be well-suited to operating in this dynamic, on-demand world.

Ciena's Blue Planet enables network transformation and intelligent networking. Blue Planet gives network operators the control they need to spin up new equipment, technology, and network functions, and the ability to create new services from the combination of new and existing infrastructure.

Ciena’s Blue Planet Multi-Domain Service Orchestration (MDSO) breaks down silos by supporting end-to-end lifecycle service orchestration across multiple technology and vendor domains.

The MDSO capabilities provide an open software layer that eliminates management silos and enables network operators to automate end-to-end service provisioning and orchestration. With open APIs and model-driven templates, Blue Planet integrates with third-party SDN controllers, element/network management systems, and orchestration platforms to manage and orchestrate services composed of physical and virtual resources across multiple technology and vendor domains.

Blue Planet MDSO includes the following features:

  • A modular and programmable structure that supports control of multiple technologically diverse domains, such as cloud, multi-layer WAN, NFV, IP/MPLS, and more
  • TOSCA-based templates that enable rapid network services programmability and self-service in operating the network
  • Integration with Ciena and third-party SDN controllers, element/network management systems, and cloud management platforms
  • Support for service chains composed of physical network elements and SDN/NFV-enabled virtual components across multiple domains
  • Standardized and automated service delivery via repeatable, simplified, and auditable processes

By seamlessly provisioning and managing service chains comprising physical network elements and virtual components, Blue Planet provides more flexibility for network operators and their customers. Services can be deployed more quickly and changed in real time rather than requiring complex, manual changes.

In addition, working with Blue Planet MDSO, Blue Planet incorporates powerful analytics for deep insights into the network—helping you make smarter, data-driven business decisions. Built on Blue Planet’s open design and extensible micro-services-based architecture, Blue Planet Analytics (BPA) includes a robust and flexible framework and upper-layer analytics applications.

The BPA framework collects and normalizes data from multiple sources across the network, and seamlessly integrates with third-party big data cluster systems. The upper-layer analytics applications from Ciena (or third parties) also integrate with BPA and provide data visualization to address requirements like service assurance, customer experience management, or capacity planning. Network Health Predictor (NHP) is the first analytics application developed to work with BPA for enabling proactive network assurance.

Key BPA features include:

  • Simplified data collection across multiple data sources using Blue Planet Resource Adapter (RA) technology
  • Computational scale and accuracy through a robust framework that includes advanced processing libraries such as machine learning and data streaming
  • Automated, data-driven network control through integration with actionable systems like Blue Planet MDSO, OneControl Unified Management System, or third-party systems
  • A path toward intelligent, autonomous networks when combined with orchestration, policy, and control
  • Enriched support and collaborative development through the Blue Planet DevOps Toolkit and DevOps Exchange

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