ETR turned out to be a very productive undertaking and I would like to thank IEEE’s Spilios Markis, Chi-Ming Chen and Chris Mayer for all the help provided prior and during workshop.
My contribution focusing on addressing the unprecedented flexibility of advanced software defined systems and artificial intelligence. That intersection defines game changing technologies leading to zero-touch automation and, therefore, fostering self-service opportunities at both operational and service consumption levels.
“Zero touch” implies extreme automation to its fullest while self-service reveals that this new order elevates the criticality of HMS (Human Machine Systems.) More touch points surface compared to what legacy technologies allowed given their constraint and restricted nature. That prompts a new take on HCI (Human Computer Interaction) and QbD (Quality by Design) to best deliver service quality throughout: concept exploration and service definition, fulfilment and adaptation, assurance and security… across multi-domain, highly decomposed, re-configurable and exceptionally dynamic end-to-end systems involving integration and service delivery in continuous motion.
These are thought out to (a) dramatically optimize support personnel ratios and (b) shift staff’s attention and efforts to value based activities and innovation. These are small agile teams and new talent tasked with jobs involving (c) far greater scale with (d) a wider interdisciplinary scope, and all to be performed at (e) digital speed. In this next-level productivity and more demanding and challenging context, success relies on new tools embracing Design Thinking’s HCD (Human-Centered-Design.)
That is applied to capability models and subsequent modes of operation for (f) HITL (Human “IN” The Loop) Computing largely devoted to deep domain expertise supported by Science Visualization, as well as (g) HOTL (Human “ON” the Loop) for system-wide supervisory responsibilities and ease of service creation and onboarding. HOTL draws from highly abstracted Visualization techniques and Low Code Development revealing the behavior of end-to-end systems and subsystems and adequate flow control.
These are coupled with effective Cybernetics gearing up for context aware 360-closed-loop-control, zooming in and out between distributed and central levels. Last but not least, effective and efficient tools that are characterized by ease of use and consumability do attract many more new users from many more different domains to interact with these systems in a self-service fashion and create new business opportunities as a result.
“The automatic telephone switchboard was introduced in 1892 along with dial telephones. By 1929, 31.9% of the Bell system was automatic. Automatic telephone switching originally used vacuum tube amplifiers and electro-mechanical switches, which consumed a large amount of electricity. Call volume eventually grew so fast that it was feared the telephone system would consume all electricity production, prompting Bell Labs to begin research on the transistor. The logic performed by telephone switching relays was the inspiration for the digital computer.” – “Automation” by Wikipedia.
We kept extremely busy in Q1 to deliver the Lean NFV Ops demo at Mobile World Congress back in March. I am glad to share that the project’s success led to a hectic roadshow in Q2: our live demo system has been showcased at a number of industry and private events as well as in customer workshops worldwide.
Each conversation with network operators, partners, analysts and public officials has delivered a wealth of insights: most validating the project’s objectives while some challenging us to do even more to take things to the next level.
Q3 is about furthering the Lean NFV Ops conversation and we will soon make available a brief paper and a full length video sharing design principles. Stay tuned. Though, I would like to first start with a brief discussion on S2O (Self-Service Ops) given a recent batch of questions on what that entails.
This is just a quick note: all conversations regarding Lean NFV Ops involve data driven automation and the human factor. This is a live demonstration system that couples (a) flexible “automation” involving correlated metrics, predictive analytics, directories, policies and research findings on “autonomics” (machine learning) with (b) visibility and controls where “autonomation” engages human intelligence in terms of situational awareness, supervision, root cause analysis, programmability… and new skills involving workstyles and organizational behaviors. There you have it: managed to get “automation”, “autonomics” and “autonomation” in just one paragraph : )
S2O, this post’s focus subject, reflects the fact that a number of CSP (Communication Service Providers) are developing B2B (Business to Business) markets by providing services to other network operators under the carrier’s carrier model, MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) and enterprise verticals and customers of all sizes. Though, we are also learning about lengthy resource consuming operations that trigger costlier services than planned and/or limited offerings constrained by what can effectively be managed under the current PMO (Present Mode of Operations).
Thinking of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) means shifting to a FMO (Future Mode of Operations) based on cloud economics. More specifically, this means enabling business models such as Infrastructure and Platform as a Service (IaaS and PaaS) which are driven by self-service interactions.
This 10+ minute video shows the first version of the Lean NFV Ops demo where our emphasis was on communicating what NFV can deliver to CPS’ in-house ops teams. The above graphic portrays the S2O use case where:
- B2B: A CSP is in business with several customers (other carriers, MVNOs, enterprises, public administration).
- XaaS: A given CSP’s customer works with the same toolset leveraged by the CSP’s own in-house ops team and benefits from the “X” (anything) as a Service model.
- DevOps: That CSP customer’s own IT team embraces self-service by deploying apps and creating service chains at multiple sites, scaling and reconfiguring systems as needed.
Left: Screen capture of the demo’s NFV Ops Center – S2O View. Right: Screen captures of support systems involved: Motive Dynamic Operations, CloudBand Management System, Nuage Networks, Bell Labs Analytics.
In a nutshell: a significant share of operations have been outsourced by the CSP to the business customer under the S2O use case . This is a mutually beneficially arrangement as follows:
- The CSP’s business customer is empowered to best conduct timely operations as they see fit.
- The CSP leverages automation to reap self-service efficiencies whether that involves in-house teams or those engaged by business customers themselves.
S2O prompts CX (Customer Experience) implications encompassing fulfillment and assurance, as well as consumption based pricing models, in a highly dynamic environment, which makes Lean NFV Ops’ end-to-end system engineering approach of the essence.
As usual, I will be happy to address your comments, exchange emails or trade messages over LinkedIn. Our team will be doing demos at IDF 2015 (Intel Developers Forum) in San Francisco on August 18-20 at Alcatel-Lucent’s booth. Hope to see you there : )