Adam O’Keefe, Head of OSS Transformation at Three UK, and Mounir Ladki, President and CTO of MYCOM OSI, will discuss a case study “Assuring the World’s First End-To-End Telco Cloud Network” (fully integrated cloud-native core network) at the TM Forum Digital Transformation World event on the 15th of May in the Zero-touch NFV/SDN track. The case study will cover the drivers, benefits and challenges of deploying and assuring Three UK’s telco cloud. It will also cover the wider challenges and benefits of assuring virtualized telco cloud environments and how assurance driven end-to-end orchestration that integrates analytics and AI/ML can provide end-to-end QoS in telco cloud networks.
As part of a brand initiative, Three UK decided to make major changes within its business and technology to meet the challenges of digital transformation and the evolving UK marketplace.
Through this transformation, Three UK aims to double its current NPS of +19 while delivering exceptional customer experience and a highly reliable network delivering competitive speeds and performance.
The technology component of the transformation involved a major network architectural change to a telco cloud core for scalable, elastic and reliable networking for improved agility, reduced time to market, supported new services and revenue models, customer experience and efficiency at reduced cost. This resulted in Three defining and beginning deployment of a fully integrated cloud native core network that supports existing 3G and 4G but also future 5G technologies.
Reality dictates that most networks will be hybrid virtualized and physical for some time to come, as we see with Three UK virtualizing the core first and re-using the existing RAN technology. The diagram below shows a typical telco cloud deployment.
An integral part of the transformation included service assurance; this needed to change on a fundamental level to deliver the transformation aims, as particularly so that customer service could be maintained during the transition.
Key objectives of the assurance part of the transformation included:
Provide a single end-to-end silo-collapsing service-focused fault and performance management solution supporting physical, hybrid and telco cloud with integrated root cause analysis, where most of the capability was available “out of the box” to simplify integration.
Analytics and automation
Support end-to-end change-aware automated analysis and ticketing with predictive analytics and assurance-driven closed loop automation.
Ensure focus on service and customer experience with integrated service and network views combined in a silo-collapsing single pane, with service impact analysis correlated with alarms and reports across all deployed technologies and services.
Whilst assuring the world’s first telco cloud is very exciting, the journey is not a linear one, with as many routes and starting points as there are CSPs moving towards the ultimate goal of transforming to a digital service provider (DSP) supported by virtualized networks. For those CSPs not quite ready to deploy telco cloud, there are massive gains to be made through NetOps automation that delivers increased agility, scalability, operational efficiencies and cost reductions. The benefits of a cloud native assurance solution also apply to these non-cloud networks where high agility, low cost of ownership and implementation, rapid adaptation through DevOps CI/CD processes and integration through open frameworks such as TM Forum ODA and Open APIs, deliver real benefits.
Automation is rightly a hot topic that offers the promise of zero touch operations and networks that “just work”. However, there is a real danger of multiple orchestrators (RAN, CORE, SDN) working in a non-concerted manner by treating the issues “in their patch” rather than taking a holistic end-to-end approach, potentially causing reductions in efficiency and customer experience.
The concept of service assurance governing more focused orchestrators (NFV, SDN, SON) by assuring QoS objectives for services and customers and using AI/ML technologies to provide self-learning and adaption, is rapidly gaining traction as virtualization moves from concept to reality.