Traditionally, telecom and other enterprise networks were built using OEM-provided infrastructure with the assurance stack deployed near network elements for easy management. After the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) developed norms for software-defined data centers and virtualized network elements, enhanced virtual network functions for containerized networks became more widely adopted. The ETSI standards promoted more innovation and faster roll out of new networks at lower cost through cloud providers.
When governance allows, companies are now creating edge sites. These private, cloud-based data centers process critical data sets near a customer location while hosting the core network functionality (which processes less-critical information) on the public cloud. This hybrid approach provides many benefits, but as usual, when new technologies are introduced, new challenges emerge. With hybrid multi-cloud networks, assurance is critical to prevent major customer and performance impact.
Hybrid Multi-Cloud Networks: Advantages and Challenges
Hybrid multi-cloud networks are gaining momentum because they offer several valuable benefits. They provide on-demand, low-level latency bandwidth based customer requirements and offer a more flexible network deployment scenario based on available capacity. Hybrid multi-cloud networks are easy to scale, and application requirements are more resilient and fault-tolerant. And of course, they are easy to adapt for multi-tenant or multi-operator scenarios.
But there are various challenges and potential risks when adopting hybrid network solutions. Network functions spread across multi-cloud environments can lead to observability issues and challenges managing inventory due to self-healing (resolution without people) and scale in/out functionality. Additional issues can arise from managing upgrades to network functions and orchestrating the network based on customer demand and bandwidth requirements. Finally, data privacy must be maintained based on local government compliance requirements. With all of these challenges, the goal is always to protect the end-to-end system performance, customer experience, cost, and data security.
Recommended Assurance Solution for Hybrid Multi-Cloud Network
As enterprises adopt and deploy their services within a hybrid multi-cloud environment, it becomes more important to maintain the state of the network, specifically to assure there is no negative impact to customer experience, data privacy, and cost.
Through our decades of experience helping global companies research, deploy, integrate, migrate, support, and manage different AI-driven assurance stacks, we’ve found that a disintegrated digital hub solution is very effective at overcoming the challenges of hybrid multi-cloud networks. These hubs collect all necessary fault, performance, inventory, and software quality metrics data from different cloud regions. They then aggregate, anonymize the data to protect important customer information, and send it to a centralized assurance platform. When all data is combined in one location, visibility, analysis and insights are possible.
The centralized assurance platform uses AI/ML to provide true network insights. This modern assurance platform – with support from service topology, federated inventory, and AI/ML – can predict impacts on customer experience and service quality with the help of platforms like Wipro Holmes and other similar tools. Companies can monitor their networks by using concepts like service quality anomalies, network anomalies, customer experience and capacity enhancement to ensure major impacts to customers can be avoided.
By integrating the assurance stack with multi-domain service orchestrators, companies improve the assurance of their hybrid networks. The assurance stack allows companies to experience other benefits such as the concept of closed-loop automation, zero-touch provision, self-healing, and scale in/out based on demand. The centralization of data gives companies the comprehensive view that makes managing network activities like upgrades and enhancements a seamless task. These extra benefits contribute even further to improve the customer experience, service quality and cost management. And that means companies can adopt hybrid multi cloud networks that deliver maximum benefits while controlling risk to customers and network performance.
About the Author
Lead Architect ER&D - OSS, Networks and Security, Wipro
Ashish Nagar has over two decades of experience in network, OSS/BSS, and security. He has helped customers design, develop and deploy solutions around the customer experience and support, service quality management and security related products. At Wipro, he is responsible for the OSS networks and security segments. Currently, Ashish is designing a next generation OSS platform integrated with AI/ML driven approach evolving towards zero-touch provision and self-healing.