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Why Low-Cost, Fast Time-to-Market Is Essential in Today’s NMS World

By Eric Wegner Comments
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Eric WegnerIn my previous three blogs I’ve talked about some of the key attributes you need to consider when selecting an NMS framework – attributes such as system flexibility, performance, scalability, and high availability. Now all of those qualities are management system essentials, but in today’s world, if you also can’t deliver a low-cost/fast time-to-market solution, then you may not be in a position to compete for the network contract in the first place.

Consider the way management systems were built in the pre-bubble days. Large network equipment operators might have 50 developers on staff building a large-scale NMS. And those dozens of developers would be teamed with a few lead architects, a gang of testers, documentation staff and  product manager and marketing folks. That’s a costly and resource-intensive build.

Now at the time, the “Field of Dreams" philosophy prevailed: “Build it and they will come." The idea was to create network elements and a management system in the hope of getting a customer because the stock market was climbing on low fundamentals and VC money was flowing. Today, of course, that approach would be way too risky. Instead, a common strategy is to create a small proof of concept to help sell the customer, and only when the customer is likely to commit do you build out the management system in a phased approach.

We have seen this scenario at carriers, major network equipment providers and startups. Now working that way certainly reduces risk. Trouble is, it also puts a premium on achieving fast time to market. Is it any surprise that leveraging a commercial NMS framework is a key way our customers are getting around this time-to-market issue?

As an example, an Alcatel-Lucent group needed to demonstrate a management system with standardized OSS/BSS interfaces and custom fault and performance monitoring capabilities in a matter of a few months. Phase I was successful, now continuing to build up the system for Phase II.

As another example, Viasat, the leading satellite and ground station equipment supplier, was tasked with building an LTE-satellite network and management system. Their first prototype was measured in months and general acceptance of a distributed, fully redundant and highly complex signal processing system was achieved in a little over 2 years.

Conclusion

At the outset of this blog series on essential NMS attributes, we talked about how disposable devices and transient technologies are a given in the telecom territory. Much as we may wish otherwise, we work in a highly competitive industry where dealing with constant change and managing chaos are the keys to survival. Nevertheless, an NMS framework that’s architected right can lend some much needed stability and structure to your management system designs.

So before investing in a framework, insist that your supplier show you how the solution manages the five key attributes we’ve discussed: scalability, flexibility, performance, high-availability, and low-cost/fast time-to-market. 

Eric Wegner is a 20-year veteran of the industry and has 10 years of experience with ZOHO Corp . (formerly AdventNet) working on large and complex network management infrastructures for network equipment manufacturers, service providers and military contractors. Eric joined the company as the first sales person and is now business development manager leading the WebNMS division in North America.

 

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