When the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) announced its vision for the “Third Network” last September, it brought into better focus the transition that many in the networking community were already going through. Communications service providers (CSPs) had begun their “remarkable journey” toward a new network paradigm, with the hope of rolling out agile, assured and dynamic network services.
The Third Network vision provided a basic framework for this new service environment, and we were pleased to see the MEF fully embracing NaaS during MEF GEN 14 last November, when the industry gathered to define the future of network-enabled services. During GEN14, I participated in the panel, “Assuring Service Performance and Quality over Virtualized & Dynamic Networks,” where I joined representatives from Cox Communications, CENX and Spirent in discussing the industry's evolving service assurance needs, from both CSP and OSS vendor perspectives.
In this video, I recap that presentation and summarize my discussions with retail and wholesale product managers within CSP organizations. As I explain, real-time service assurance and OSS are critically important tools for CSPs in this new service environment. Furthermore, MEF 35 and 36 metrics will help CSPs generate reports that allow them to achieve network and service performance management transparency with end customers and meet their SLA requirements.
I also shared InfoVista's Performance Assurance Maturity Model at GEN14. The model is a pragmatic, five-step approach that shows CSPs how to manage service quality as they transition to a service environment that includes software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV). This is important for CSPs, as they must consider the impact of virtualization on their existing services, revenue streams and customer KPIs.
The Performance Assurance Maturity Model addresses these concerns directly, by helping CSPs maintain customer quality-of-experience (QoE), even as they re-architect their OSS.
By following these steps, CSPs assure that they are able to achieve their virtualization goals — accelerating time-to-revenue and reducing OPEX — without dismantling their existing technology infrastructure and ultimately impacting customers.
Only then — when CSPs finally achieve Network as a Service (NaaS) that is agile, assured and orchestrated — will they truly meet the MEF's Third Network vision.