NetCracker’s Analyst Day – Part I: Shining a Light on the Cloud and Virtualization Ambitions

Jason Marcheck
Jason Marcheck

Summary Bullets:

  • NetCracker CEO Andrew Feinberg gave a lengthy talk at its analyst conference that was candid, but also shined a light on the challenges that lie ahead for OSS/BSS vendors looking to play a central role in telecom network virtualization.
  • Somewhat under-marketed outside OSS/BSS circles, NetCracker’s relationship with NEC is being positioned as a ‘best-of-breed’ arrangement that results in an ‘end-to-end’ solution which encompasses both the technology and processes needed for successfully adopting SDN and/or NFV.

NetCracker might be best known as an integrated OSS/BSS platform provider, but it is also making its ambitions to be viewed as one of the market’s leading SDN/NFV technology enablers clear. At its recently concluded industry analyst conference (held in Boston from May 13 to 15), the company dedicated the entire first half of its Day 1 sessions to presentations by Andrew Feinberg (NetCracker CEO) and Phil Jordan (Telefonica Global CIO) that focused almost entirely on their respective companies’ goals and ambitions for SDN and NFV.

If you think that seems telling, we’d agree.

NetCracker Looking to Drive NEC’s Virtualization Efforts

Among the many things that Mr. Feinberg talked about during his introductory session was that NEC had originally approached NetCracker back in 2008 to solicit help in modernizing NEC’s approach to the market. In turn, Feinberg shared that, even then, NEC’s research into ways of virtualizing ICT hardware was impressive. Fast forward to 2015, and NetCracker’s strategy of taking an ‘end-to-end’ view of virtualization is equally apparent. To NetCracker’s way of thinking, while most of its competitors are focused on demonstrating PoCs that speak to piece parts of the overall SDN/NFV market (think MANO demonstrations, or VNF PoCs), NetCracker has chosen only to highlight PoCs that bring all of the pieces together. To NetCracker, this means using NFV to turn up vEPC instances, with NEC’s SDN assets controlling and orchestrating the required networking resources while NetCracker’s OSS and BSS assets allow for the service running over the virtual instance to be fulfilled, assured, and billed. Of course, implicit in any view that includes the back office implications is that NetCracker can help operators to drive operational change across the organization.

All in all, the message sounds impressive. While the NEC/NetCracker combo may have struggled to gain widespread visibility for this message to date, to hear them talk about it in a closed room is to hear them say that this is technology which is nearly ten years in the making, and is now already being widely deployed throughout Japan due in large part to the mandates of the Japanese government. Similarly, the message seems logical. Simply put, why would an operator want to invest in virtualization unless they can charge real money for the services running over the infrastructure? Moreover, how can they do any of this unless their back offices processes and technology are equipped across the board to handle the requirements?

If nothing else, these messages seems to coincide with what most operators are saying that they require from either SDN or NFV. If they are going to deploy, it needs to be about more than cost savings; it needs to be about how to generate additional revenues (while also realizing cost savings). It also needs to mesh with their existing operational model, while providing a clear, methodical path to transforming operations to support the agility that virtualization enables.

Click here for Part II of this post, which focuses on the unfolding network operator strategies related to SDN/NFV deployments.

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