Dynamic Service Orchestration in a 5G World. What is the Best Approach for CSPs?
By embracing intent-based orchestration, CSPs can make it easy for enterprises and vendors to flourish on their 5G standalone networks. So, how should they proceed? At FutureNet World 2023, Ari Banerjee, Senior Vice President of Strategy at Netcracker, participated in a conversation on this timely and important topic.
The 5G standalone and cloud era has begun. It is an exciting time for communications service providers (CSPs), bringing with it a world of new opportunities. By providing super-fast, reliable and widely available mobile connectivity, CSPs can become indispensable partners to enterprises across a wide range of high-growth verticals.
The transition to 5G adds a significant amount of complexity. In previous physical networks, topologies were mostly static, and services were not provisioned dynamically – they almost never changed. Because of network and IT automation, 5G is different.
Only with automation can CSPs enable the dynamic orchestration of services and slices (core, transport and RAN) across multiple domains.
According to Analysys Mason, CSP spending on 5G-related service design and orchestration (SDO) systems will grow at a CAGR of 33 percent to reach $2.7 billion by 2025. This projection shows telcos’ demand for orchestration. However, CSPs face significant challenges and a variety of approaches to choose from.
At FutureNet World 2023, Banerjee participated in a panel to explore this topic. The session was titled: Dynamic Service Orchestration Across Multiple Domains to Leverage 5G. Participants included:
· Christoforos Sarantopoulos, Senior Analyst, Omdia
· Shahryar Khan, Director & Head of Mobile Packet Core, Telia Group
· Chris Simcoe, Network Applications Architecture Director, BT
· Ari Banerjee, SVP Strategy, Netcracker
The conversation began with a discussion of how disjointed and siloed networks have become over the past decade. Khan said: "Networks have become so complex. They need to be 10x more efficient and 4x faster. We have to move away from traditional ideas of orchestration and move towards intent. New use cases are coming in – and they are demanding different requirements from an assurance perspective as well."
Simcoe was even more vocal about the fragmentation, explaining "We've been disaggregating things for years and it's all gotten so complex. We need to get back to where we were with a simple service and have some level of dynamic orchestration for management purposes."
He gave the example of IMS. "With IMS, the dream was best of breed, but instead we created numerous components. I remember a vendor wanted to sell us an expensive IMS layer just to integrate and provision it all. I couldn't believe it! We created this hugely complex thing in just this one domain. It was just voice, but we had to pay an orchestration tax on top of it. So, I think there is incredible value in intra-domain orchestration."
Banerjee agreed, but reminded the audience that orchestration need not be an ‘all or nothing’ undertaking. Instead, CSPs can choose their priorities. He said, "20 years ago group level orchestration was quite common. But now CSPs are saying: let's not boil the ocean. For example, we had a Tier-1 customer whose holy grail was core access and transport. It started with transport, and aimed to do a zero touch service that would reduce the time needed to provision new countries from days to minutes. This enabled them to go to the board and say they achieved certain savings, and the CFO would say, yes that makes sense. It helps the operator. It helps the customer. It helps the vendor. It's a win-win.”
"This minimal viable product approach has been happening with most of the larger OSS transformation programs that Netcracker has been working on all over the world."