Operators will gain significant competitive advantage with shortened time to market from weeks to less than a day with Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration, says Indranil Das, Head of Digital Services, Ericsson Middle East & Africa.
What is Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration?
Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration answers the call through a flexible and modular service orchestration solution that fully automates the multiple layers of complex processes for service creation, delivery and assurance. It is an end-to-end, automated service orchestration solution that provides rapid validation of Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), design and onboarding of new services, inventory and resource management, service design and configuration management, and closed-loop policy-based service assurance for SLA compliance. It also supports capacity management to provide the right level of resources in real time.
Ericsson offers the most comprehensive solution to manage the high velocity turnaround needed to enable, scale and repair applications in hybrid environments. The solution spans the full lifecycle, from onboarding of new services to delivery of those services to end customers with guaranteed quality. Anything an operator wants to sell, they can deliver at lightning speed using the most cost effective solution available in the marketplace.
What are the operators’ benefits of this solution?
Operators need an easy but comprehensive solution that transitions their operations from providing traditional services to offering a hybrid of physical and virtual services. In this environment, innovative services are not only delivered to customers on demand, but must be able to respond to surrounding dynamics in real time. Customer provisioning must move from weeks to minutes and SLAs must be measured and enforced. Thus, they are seeking a solution that reduces both the time and cost to deliver all service types – those available today as well as those envisioned for the future.
As operators transform to meet these needs, enabling automated orchestration of available resources at scale is foundational. To accomplish this, operators are shifting their focus from implementation of OSS “stacks” made of vertical fulfilment or assurance silos with heavy reliance on SI services, to a simplified pre-integrated horizontal architecture that can be readily configured to support specific service offerings including those that leverage VNFs. Examples include SD-WAN, enterprise and mobile hybrid VPN, and 5G network slicing. This need goes beyond what ESTI MANO NFV Orchestrators and VFN Managers can offer.
Why is Ericsson offering this new solution?
Stimulated by the advances in IT networking and driven by the migration to 5G/IoT, services are becoming more and more cloud-based. In this environment, innovative services are not only delivered to customers on demand, but must be able to respond to surrounding dynamics in real time. Customer provisioning must move from weeks to minutes and SLAs must be measured and enforced. As operators transform to meet these needs, enabling automated orchestration of available resources at scale is foundational.
Is this new solution relevant to Middle East operators and why?
Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration enables our customers to excel at traditional services delivery while simultaneously incorporating virtualisation capabilities to embrace emerging market and business opportunities driven by 5G and IoT. Operators in our region will gain significant competitive advantage with shortened time to market from weeks to less than a day with this new offering.
What is the edge that Ericsson offers through this new solution?
Operators should consider Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration if they want to:
• Speed up time to market. Quickly create and package new service bundles that can be offered to consumers and businesses via self-service.
• Achieve zero-touch automation. Enable closed-loop orchestration for flawless provisioning, configuration and assurance.
• Visualise end to end services. Let system users and end customers alike see across multiple domains, including the cloud domain.
• Maximise resource usage. Load balance cloud-based assets for better data center utilisation.
• Benefit from hybrid orchestration. Seamlessly orchestrate across physical and virtual network domains in a consolidated solution for lower TCO.
• Gracefully transition operations. Evolve naturally from any system to Dynamic Orchestration.
Can you give us examples of the benefits?
Business benefits have been proven in market operation with Verizon, our first Dynamic Orchestration customer. In fact, the solution is based on our close collaboration with Verizon in two product areas.
The first example concerns the Verizon requirement to set up a Mobile Private Network Service for their mobile enterprise market. Before, Verizon had a semi-automated process with many manual steps that took about 21 days to onboard a customer (from service order to service ready). Through the solution, Verizon brought this time down to less than a day, typically minutes, or hours at most when some additional manual work is intentionally inserted in the process.
The second example is aimed at Verizon’s enterprise market where rapid service introduction is one of the highest priorities. Our orchestration solution is key to launching multiple VNFs and VNF-based services globally with the ability for a service to scale up or down based on an individual customer’s need. It is designed to support thousands of data centers on Verizon enterprise customer’s side and thousands of VNFs on Verizon’s data center side, and just as rapidly to scale down or move to other data centers when circumstances warrant.
However, orchestration of service creation and service instantiation is just one side of the equation. Closed-loop policy-based assurance is also an essential part of the solution that is providing Verizon with the ability to guarantee SLAs by detecting and correcting issues automatically and dynamically.
Finally, the ability to offer end customers flexible commercial terms is a critical part of business model. As an example, customers no longer want to pay a constant monthly fee, but rather to be billed based on usage or capacity. Once an operator has the base capability to introduce services rapidly and scale them as needed, there are multiple ways they can offer flexible price plans. In the end, it’s all about capturing new revenue but also lowering cost. When you eliminate manual processes, it lowers opex.
How is Ericsson different versus competition?
Competitors in the marketplace are at various stages of offer development, but none have such a comprehensive and proven approach as Ericsson. Traditional OSS vendors such as NetCracker have a lot of good marketing material, but lack the real code that backs up the messages. SIs such as HP claim to have a solution, but lack the product assets and the skills to combine multivendor solutions into a cohesive solution that provides the high level of automation that Ericsson has been shown to achieve, and high cost is always an issue for operators. New players to the market such as Blue Planet (now part of Ciena) have many smart people working on the problem, but are still many months away from having a comprehensive offer.
“Other folks had prettier Power Points but they [Ericsson] had prettier code”, says Shawn Hakl, VP Networking & Security Solutions, Verizon.
Ericsson is proven to achieve very high levels of automation, end-to-end across the service lifecycle that includes both physical network functions and virtual network functions. Automation is achieved through abstraction and integrated management of complex processes for service creation and delivery based on policy and rules configurable for each operator requirement.
With automated closed-loop operations based on repeatable policies, service issues are quickly detected and corrected, helping operators to provide guaranteed SLAs that even the customer can monitor. Closed-loop operations run across planning, provisioning, configuration and assurance to enable extremely high levels of automation.
The ability to automate VNF onboarding and validation adds a unique capability that speeds up the inclusion of VNFs from any vendor into a service offering. It allows for inclusion of these contributions of through self-service onboarding, automated validation, and lifecycle management. Once validated, VNFs are automatically available for inclusion and consumption in product offerings assembled by the operator.
Flexibility and modularity are hallmarks of the solution. Operators can purchase only what they need for their business purposes. They can use existing individual software assets (e.g. for inventory management) as the API-based solution is open to any integrations to other systems. Through its flexibility (e.g., configurability, openness, rules-based, abstraction) the solution allows operators to extend new and innovative commercial models to its customers, such as customer self-service, automated service delivery, consumption-based pricing, and self-healing services. In addition, ready-to-go use cases delivered as value packages provide for faster deployment.