Posts tagged ‘network function virtualisation’

Ericsson buys Sentilla to bolster cloud management, analytics capabilities #telco cloud

Source: Business Cloud News

Swedish networking incumbent Ericsson has acquired Sentilla, a California-based provider of datacentre infrastructure management and visibility software, for an undisclosed sum. Ericsson said the move will create new revenue opportunities in the enterprise segment.

Following the acquisition Sentilla, which was founded in 2003 and provides real-time infrastructure monitoring capabilities and analytics for multi-vendor datacentre environments, will be folded into the company’s business unit support solutions division.

Ericsson said it intends to combine Sentilla’s monitoring and analytics technology with its cloud management and automation platform, which will expand its managed IT service capabilities and its appeal outside the telco vertical.

“As more businesses leverage mobility and cloud-based applications, the unique combination of automation and just-in-time intelligence that we can provide enables necessary agility and responsiveness. As a result, Ericsson helps drive increased operational and financial efficiency,” said Elisabetta Romano, vice president and head of OSS and service enablement, business unit support solutions at Ericsson.

“By combining our capabilities with key Ericsson offerings, we can support dynamic optimization of workloads across physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures, including constantly changing data centre environments,” said Mike Kaul, chief executive officer of Sentilla.

“This functionality is imperative for service providers that want to continue to deliver a compelling enterprise offering,” Kaul added.

The acquisition is likely to give Ericsson a leg up on one of its key competitors in the enterprise segment, Cisco, which in August began offering a monitoring tool for UCS (Performance Manager) – though it only really works for the Cisco stack.

Ericsson has for the past year aggressively targeted cloud initiatives, including strong increases in cloud-related research and development spending, and a greater focus on rolling out both cloud-enablement technologies and cloud-based services.

The company recently bought a majority stake in Apcera, a US-based startup providing multi-workload deployment and management platform as a service, and is also working with a number of telcos to help rollout software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV).

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Telefónica Group CIO: Using cloud to regain ground lost to OTT players #telcocloud

Source: Buisness Cloud News

With operations in 24 countries, over 120,000 employees globally, Telefónica Group, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world, is looking to put at IT at the core of everything that it does in order to compete globally in an industry currently in the throes of a digital revolution. Phil Jordan, group chief information officer at Telefónica tells BCN that cloud is at the centre of how the company plans to regain terrain lost to over-the-top (OTT) players, make its core mobile and fixed line operations more flexible and scalable, and enable it to provide next generation digital services.

“IT is a strategic differentiator for the company, but it hasn’t always been perceived that way, even when I became CIO,” says Jordan, who took up his current role at Telefónica in 2011. Context, he says, is essential to understanding why this perception proliferated within the company and throughout the telecoms sector more broadly, and why the operator is currently spearheading so many new digital initiatives.

“We’re a business operating in an industry that failed to innovate fast enough, which has probably created the opportunity for the Vibers and the WhatsApps of the world, and I think we’ve failed to innovate in our own product because, like a lot of businesses, we felt we didn’t need to because we were making lots of money,” he explains. “You get complacent.”

The situation is cause for concern, not just at Telefónica but for most telcos, which could be losing up to $386bn cumulatively by 2018 to OTT players like Skype and WhatsApp according to research and consulting firm Ovum.

It is within this context that Telefónica has sought to become more digital, an effort complicated by its continued growth and a series of acquisitions. As one of the biggest and oldest telcos with lots of fixed line heritage, it has accumulated a very complex IT systems landscape over the years, which Jordan says the company is constantly trying to simplify.

“One of our big challenges as a federation of separate businesses is that we have to remove complexity. We’ve managed to overcomplicate the industry, our business, and our internal systems over the last 20 years,” he says.

But the biggest challenge, he explains, is inextricably linked to what Jordan believes is the biggest opportunity for the operator: data.

“We’ve always had a tremendous amount of data, we’ve always been a big data company, but how do you derive insights from the data? Because of systems fragmentation, we’ve struggled to derive real insight and particularly global insight through the use of data. Getting a 360 degree view of our customers is actually a much bigger challenge for us than working out how to leverage analytics and big data systems.”

Driving core platforms and systems change at Telefónica

Because of the way the industry grew, Jordan explains, the lack of recognition in how important IT was moving forward, “we’ve ended up with such fragmented systems that they don’t really lend themselves well to forming that 360 degree customer view. But that’s a problem because data is the new battleground and the future differentiator for our industry.”

“We’ve gone from having almost 7,000 systems three years ago, down to 4,200 now, so we’re slowly simplifying our estate.”

The company’s SaaS and virtualisation strategies are central to this process. Telefónica is a large user of Office 365, SAP SuccessFactors and Salesforce among other big name cloud services. It deploys these services from a private cloud platform hosted in its massive datacentre in Spain, which at a whopping 65,700 m2 is one of the largest in Europe, dwarfed only by Portugal Telecom’s recently announced Covilha datacentre.

By centralising these services the company is able to leverage its cloud platform and generate operational efficiencies through a shared services approach, while ensuring local standards and businesses processes can be maintained where necessary, and by purchasing commoditised solutions off-the-shelf the company has enjoyed significant cost benefits.

The operator has also virtualised a number of its internal platforms, which allows the company to sweat its existing assets and make its datacentre resources more scalable and flexible.

By the end of this year Jordan’s team will have virtualised about 40 per cent of the group’s IT servers, and the company is now taking this approach to the most mission-critical system of all – the core network, through network function virtualisation (NFV). Along with global CTO Enrique Blanco and his team the company is working on a proof of concept for a virtual radio access network (vRAN). Work on a virtual Evolved Packet Core, vIMS, vDNS and vDHCP is also set to conclude this year as the operator looks to virtualise 30 per cent of all new infrastructure by 2016.

Virtualising these system will allow Telefónica to deploy network assets in a way that allows them to be managed centrally and deployed globally, while making them more flexible, scalable and less expensive to acquire and maintain than legacy networking hardware.

The operator has taken a slightly different approach with its business support and operational support systems. Telefónica recognises the need to transform BSS and OSS in order to have these digital capabilities and a foundation for the future. But it’s not consolidating these systems or putting one BSS or OSS across the group because it’s just not practical or doable across many group companies, Jordan explains.

“We are doing greenfield BSS implementations in 14 separate countries at the moment, so we’ve accelerated beyond belief in pace and the urgency, and these are with the same standard processes and architecture, using three different vendors, heavily based on standards and reused on processes. So core BSS and OSS processes reused country to country, in clusters of the same technology.”

The company’s multimillion dollar investment into its global BSS overhaul has as much to do with eliminating data systems fragmentation and simplifying the back-end of the services it offers as much as driving digital engagement with customers and readying itself for the company’s future, which Jordan says increasingly sees digital services at its core.

“We must become more digital in our interactions with our customers. The new generation of Telefónica customers don’t engage with us in the way they used to. Online is an important channel for us but a ‘digital only’ channel experience needs to be created in all the countries we operate in.”

But Jordan says this is part of a broader strategy to drive digital services – particularly platform-based services – within Telefónica, and as a key component of its market offerings.

“I don’t think we’ll ever be able to innovate as fast as the model that now exists around the internet and around the digital world, so adopting an open platform that innovators and entrepreneurs want to base their applications and their services on, and provide capabilities to innovate with, is central to where we want to go, and becoming a platform business, offering platform as a service, is a key element to our future.”

View the full article here!

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Alcatel, Fujitsu join AT&T’s cloud-focused network architecture effort

Alcatel-Lucent and the networking communications arm of Fujitsu have joined AT&T’s ‘User-Defined Network Cloud’ programme, the telco’s bid to rearchitect its core network in a move that will make it more elastic, scalable, and capable of handling massive volumes of IP-based traffic.

Earlier this year AT&T announced a bold move to embrace software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV) in its core network because of the changes it has foreseen in how customers will use its network.

Underpinning this is the company’s ‘Domain 2.0’ effort, an initiative that sees key vendors like Ericsson and Juniper working with AT&T to develop the underlying technology platform allowing network services and infrastructure to be used, provisioned, and orchestrated like a cloud platform.

As part of the announcement both Alcatel-Lucent and Fujitsu will join in the effort to develop the Domain 2.0 platform.

“The architecture and deployment teams are finalizing their planned introduction of this new architecture, which we expect to roll out later this year and early 2015,” said Tim Harden, president, AT&T Supply Chain.

“We look forward to collaborating with Fujitsu and Alcatel-Lucent to achieve our next-generation network.”

The Domain 2.0 platform is a direct response to both actual and forecast growth in cloud services uptake among AT&T’s customers; legacy networks simply aren’t dynamic, flexible or scalable enough to keep up with the growth in IP-based traffic.

“The rapid growth in IP endpoints requires greater scale and efficiency in handling the number and diversity of devices than we are getting from traditional network solutions. Movement of data to the cloud for use on any device and increasing use of virtual machine models redefines the endpoints and timeframes for provisioning network connections. These drivers require the business of networking to significantly improve the capital efficiency and human operations per unit of business,” the operator said.

“It will allow AT&T and our customers to share a common pool of resources (& CAPEX) and to use those resources in order to compose network capabilities and services on-demand, with elasticity, and driven with orchestration techniques similar to those seen managing the workloads in cloud datacentres.”

AT&T said other benefits associated with its network overhaul include better utilisation of physical assets, more flexibility with customers, greater access to a wider range of suppliers and open source technologies

Written by Business Cloud News

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According to research, IT Practitioners don’t seem to understand SDN yet.

However, all evidence highlights that enterprises must take the opportunity to manage the speed of change made possible by the virtualisation of other data centre resources and provide the perfect complement to cloud computing.

Recognising the unity between network virtualisation, cloud and enterprises, the Cloud World Series is pleased to bring the timely Software Defined Enterprise Forum.

Confronting the difficulties Enterprise IT experts and vendors face when grasping the SDN momentum, the two day conference agenda brings key case studies and best practice from those already ahead of the Software Defined Networking, Storage and Datacenter game!

Download the latest agenda here.

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