Amdocs is taking concrete steps into the NFV network today with the launch of an Orchestrator product it is calling the Network Cloud Service Orchestrator.
If you know your ETSI MANO architecture (see pic), Amdocs views its NSC Orchestrator as forming both the NFV Orchestrator functional block and that of the Virtual Network Function (VNF) Manager (although the orchestrator can also work with other VNF Managers). In ETSI’s MANO (Management and Orchestration) architecture, the Orchestrator is responsible for onboarding network services and service lifecycle management (instantiation, scale-out/in, performance measurements, event correlation, termination). The VNF Manager, as it sounds, manages VNF instances, coordinating between the VNF Infrastructure and element management systems.
Shaul Rozen, Director Of Product Strategy, Network Cloud Service Orchestration, Amdocs, said, that the Amdocs Orchestrator is different from competitive products in three ways.
First, it is an open solution. “Everyone says theirs is an open solution,” he added, “so it can be hard to convince people but we are the only one who is truly open. We made a conscious decision to focus only on the orchestration layer of NFV, not to take into our system any cloud infrastructure. Most of our competitors not only have the orchestration layer but also their own NFV Infrastructure. So if the NFVI changes in five years then this is not really open. We really feel we offer orchestration capabilities for best of breed networks, with no vendor lock in.”
Second differentiatior: Amdoc’s partner and model-driven approach. Rozen said that Amdoc’s has created a “unique” network modelling scheme that enables carriers to model choice into the network diagram from the network service catalogue. For example a user could create a model by choosing either a Checkpoint or Juniper firewall, Rozen said, and then define in the model the security services to be applied (firewall, DDOS protection etc). “Our difference is our strength and incumbency in catalogue and service models in carriers today. Second of all, something we have not seen to date in competitive offerings, is the ability to model a choice in the service catalogue,” Rozen said.
Third differentiator is Amdoc’s fulfilment capabilities where Rozen said it has 10 patents pending for the NFV orchestrator that give it the capability to monitor between the current and desired state of the service network. This includes a semantic engine and inventory visibility function that looks at the network, monitoring systems and policies and monitors the existing state of the network against the desired state, calculates the difference and refulfils the network to provide the right SLA.
Rozen said Amdocs is also working to build a partner ecosystem, with 22 partners from VNFs (vEPC, vIMS, vCPE) and from NFV infrastructure and hardware providers. This will provide pre-integrated NFV Proof of Concepts, Rozen said, to enable carriers to move forward quickly with NFV deployments. In one example Rozen cited, a call recording service was created on a vIMS (from Metaswitch) that was modelled into the Amdocs catalogue and instantiated within five days. This enables enteprises to self-select their own service within minutes, he claimed.
So if you are open, why the need for a pre-integrated partner approach? Rozen said it is really about benefitting from shared experience, and to get around the lack of standards available so far. “Every partner comes with a different VNF Descriptor (NFV-D), and most don’t even have a VNF-D so we are creating best practices to drive the industry forward. Another issue is that our partners are looking for Proof of Concept and it’s hard to show proof of Orchestration by itself and so for that go to market we needed to bring partners on board.”
As for the issue of next generation OSS and network management in NFV-SDN networks, Rozen said that he thinks Amdocs is ahead of the curve.
I can tell you we will hear more and more talk in ETSI within the next year about real time OSS and next gen OSS, because if has not been tackled enough.
“We see ourselves as covering the orchestration and the VNF manager, as well as some even more northbound functions bordering next gen OSS because we are very much service-orientated. I can tell you we will hear more and more talk in ETSI within the next year about real time OSS and next gen OSS, because if has not been tackled enough. So we are ahead of ETSI.”
Alongside the release of the Orchestrator Amdocs has released the virtualised Amdocs Policy Controller, which it says is the first Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF) to fully align with ETSI’s NFV ISG blueprint architecture for management and orchestration.