Comarch Bets Operators Will View SDN Through OSS Lens

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

  • Comarch introduced support of SDN throughout its OSS/BSS portfolio.
  •  Comarch must show it can deliver on BDA, NFV and OpenDaylight portfolio and developer support to enhance its SDN proposition.

Last quarter, Comarch unveiled support of software-defined networking (SDN) for its OSS portfolio suite. Comarch is betting that OSS/BSS platforms can play the pivotal role in driving operator adoption of SDN. This presents a significant opportunity for Comarch to influence operator selection of the SDN controller technology needed to centralize network control function and thus accrue the benefits of programming the network according to service and app requirements while also avoiding expensive hardware investments.

Comarch identifies the OSS/BSS ecosystem as essential in providing operators the holistic view required to achieve smart programming of the network. The OSS/BSS ecosystem components include:

  • Network inventory systems enabling a comprehensive view of the physical infrastructure;
  •  Catalog-driven service fulfillment platforms used for orchestration and policy management of network programming; and
  •  Service assurance platforms that give SDN controllers the data needed to craft virtual networks to meet customer experience criterion.

With the adoption of its SDN solution, Comarch asserts operators could realize operational benefits such as:

  • Accelerating adoption of SDN technology by employing OSS/BSS tools;
  • Enhancing customer focus though pre-integration with the service fulfillment stack to enable the SDN controller to make decisions driven by customer service needs;
  •  Boosting pro-activeness via pre-integration with the service assurance stack to enable the SDN controller to optimize network behavior and prevent customer service degradation;
  •  Expanding innovation potential by providing an API to the comprehensive view of the network and customers for centralizing network control functions; and
  • A controlled approach toward opening up the network for OTT players.

However, Comarch has its work cut out in using its OSS/BSS portfolio to drive operator adoption of SDN. For starters, big data analytics (BDA) platforms are needed to harness historical OSS data, such as KPIs/KQIs and alarms, to generate trend analysis that can inform SDN controller decisions. This requirement can steer operators toward deeper consideration of competitor OSS/BSS portfolios, such as IBM, HP and Oracle. These portfolios can offer tighter integration between OSS/BSS platforms and foundational big data platforms, which can perform a greater magnitude of meta-analysis of operator network data in relation to non-operator data sources such as OTT and verticals (e.g., connected cars, IoT).

Moreover, Comarch did not directly link its nascent SDN development and marketing push to network function virtualization (NFV) considerations. The ETSI-sponsored NFV regime proposes to use SDN technology to apply IT virtualization techniques throughout network nodes to spur service creation and innovation. Key OSS/BSS rivals, such as Amdocs, have already devoted substantial development and marketing resources toward influencing operator adoption of NFV; Comarch can ill afford to fall behind in terms of meeting burgeoning operator expectations to use SDN to anchor and move their own NFV ambitions.

Finally, Comarch invoked its approach as in line with the Open Networks Foundation (ONF) work to promote SDN standardization, including the creation of use cases and defining SDN areas. Curiously, Comarch did not point to working in line with the Linux Foundation-sponsored OpenDaylight Project, which seeks to empower developers to deliver a common open source framework for SDN across the chain of ecosystem contributors (e.g., OTT). The OpenDaylight project supports the ONF OpenFlow networking standard and its activities extend to coordination with the ONF on fostering baseline references for SDN controller applications.

As such, Comarch faces notable channel challenges in driving developer and ecosystem support for its SDN OSS/BSS proposition. Comarch needs to beef up its BDA story and relations, include NFV support and messaging, and inject OpenDaylight plans to entice more operator interest in adopting its SDN solutions.

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