Douglas A. Suriano is Vice President of Products for Oracle Communications, who are Diamond sponsors of the Broadband Asia conference, taking place on the 29th-30th April 2014 at the Suntec, Singapore. Ahead of the show we catch up with him to find out how Oracle is at the heart of the NFV and SDN revolution.
Last year new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said we live in a ‘software powered world’. Is that something you agree with and what is Oracle’s role in creating that world?
There is no doubt programmable networks are the key to personalising and mobilising digital-lifestyle services. Operators need to rapidly configure and reconfigure networks according to the dynamics of people, services, devices and resource availability. This would be impossible without “cloudification” and virtualization of infrastructure.
By abstracting the complexity of the network control plane from the data plane, control is centralized on servers rather than multifarious pieces of hardware and devices. Commodity hardware platforms and open ecosystems will enable operators to blur the lines between enterprise IT and network management.
The ensuing transformation of service creation and orchestration will mean significant improvements in the BSS/OSS arena.
The differentiator for Oracle is the enormous investment made in all facets of BSS/OSS, as well as network session delivery and control infrastructure. The breadth of Oracle’s BSS/OSS assets combined with the experience in both IT, telecom environments and networking gives its service-provider customers a unique opportunity to leverage critical pieces of next-gen service delivery, including:
- Central order management
- Sophisticated policy, charging and revenue management
- Advanced session border control (session delivery layer for IP networks)
- Signaling (Diameter and SS7)
For example, Oracle Communications Convergent Charging and Policy solution is designed to move operators toward extreme personalisation and dynamic interaction with customers through QoS-driven controls and enforcement points built into services. They can pursue the “order-for-one” paradigm and gamification of services that will soon characterize digital-lifestyle offer design, delivery and evolution. Customers want to define their own services, and operators want to give customers the service and payment choices they desire to regain control over the customer experience, which is currently dispersed among a confusing universe of players including content, device and OTT companies.
Oracle is best positioned to help operators personalise the overall usage experience, and to hand control over that usage experience ultimately to customers.
Because there is so much variation in how SDN and NFV will evolve, most IT professionals remain confused about what is the best approach. The fact the global mobile market will reach $1.65 trillion in annual revenue, operators will focus on mobile digital services, and Oracle will be the provider with experience in telecom, IT and BSS/OSS.
The Broadband Asia conference is taking place on the 29th-30th April 2014 at the Suntec, Singapore. Click here to download a brochure.
NFV is certainly on the agenda in a big way in 2014. Please tell me why it’s an important part of your strategy, and what the main challenges implementing it are.
The biggest obstacles to NFV are inflexible BSS/OSS systems that cannot adapt to the parameters and variables important to dynamic digital services. Additionally, the cumulative impact of connected devices, personalisation and mobilisation will mean surges in Diameter signaling traffic. In fact, worldwide LTE Diameter traffic will soar, reaching nearly 99 million messages per second by 2017 – a 140% five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR), according to research done for Oracle Communications LTE Diameter Signaling Index. The greatest contributor to that growth will be policy-related signaling, which will more than triple in the next year, accounting for 62% of signaling volumes by 2017. Another culprit will be online Charging (OCS), the fastest growing Diameter use case with a global CAGR of 180% expected through 2017.
For these reasons, intelligent orchestration capabilities will be of paramount importance in NFV frameworks. That intelligence is derived from the sophistication of the Diameter infrastructure and its communication with policy, charging and other BSS/OSS components.
Managing this mix of what will be virtual and physical functions could lead to high operational costs and to-market obstacles if operators struggle to manage the many moving parts that will have to interact for new services (policy servers, online charging systems and mobility gateways, etc.). To avoid opening up points of failure that can lead to network outages and degradations, our customers are taking strides to converge telecom systems and networks.
Another challenge they are addressing is that of bridging legacy environments with LTE environments. For example, they have to commit to Diameter and SIP as well as to maintaining and enhancing SS7 assets.
At Oracle, the commitment to signaling is clear with the Oracle Communications Diameter Signaling Router and Oracle Communications EAGLE solution, which embodies SS7-focused Signal Transfer Point and Signaling Gateway products, as well as a migration path to 3G- VoLTE.
The goal is to achieve efficiencies and costs savings by integrating platforms that can handle many applications spanning 3G and 4G domains.
Where is Oracle with SDN? What benefits will it bring and what are the main challenges to making it a reality?
Oracle has solutions built around orchestration of SDNs, network functions, applications, EMSs and cloud infrastructure. The Oracle Virtual Machine and continued virtualization of different aspects of its portfolio of products and solutions gives Oracle a leg up in empowering operators to conquer the challenges of NFV and SDN. The combination of high-performance hardware, flexible operations systems, intelligent orchestration, coordinated signaling routing and orchestration, and a full portfolio of network functions adapted, or in the process of adaptation, to NFV make Oracle Communications a fully committed partner to operators.
It is a company that has command over all orchestration layers, thus equipping it to provide operators with critical management, control and intelligence.
Diameter signaling is another focus for Oracle. What are the new possibilities that implementing Diameter signaling will bring to operators as they move further into LTE deployment?
The Diameter protocol coordinates all activity among Internet Protocol (IP) network elements, such as policy servers, online charging systems and mobility gateways. As services become more sophisticated, Diameter signaling will increase, as detailed in the above answers. The ensuring “signaling storm” in core networks could increase the chances of network outages and degradations. A robust and proven Diameter Signaling Controller is needed.
The Oracle Communications Diameter Signaling Router has already been proven on the world’s largest LTE networks. The solution has a 60%—70% cumulative market share from 2011-2013, according to Exact Ventures, with customers in more than a dozen countries. Customers include T-Mobile USA ,Telstra Global, Telenor Global Services, C Spire Wireless, and multiple Tier 1 operators in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
With a proven DSR, operators can support tens of millions of concurrent sessions and hundreds of millions of subscribers and devices. The DSR becomes the foundation for elastic, intelligent networks handling the most challenging data and signaling loads.
A centralised-routing approach eliminates the problematic Diameter mesh created by having direct signaling connections between each network element. If each end-point only needs one connection to the DSR to gain access to all other Diameter destinations, operators cost-effectively relieve 3G, IMS and LTE endpoints of routing, traffic management and load balancing tasks.
This also greatly simplifies network expansion, as routing updates, maintenance and interoperability tests (IOTs) are centralized at the DSR.
Another benefit is the capability to implement network-wide policy binding and protocol mediation thanks to the DSR’s unique vantage point in the network – communicating directly with Policy Servers (PCRFs) essential to defining business rules for new service plans, charging systems that account for consumed data, and subscriber data management (SDM) essential to personalising services according to consumer circumstances and preferences.
That unique vantage point also makes the DSR a central location from which to defend a network against potential attacks. As the single interconnect point to other networks, the DSR provides a first point of contact at a network’s edge for LTE roaming or partnership with over-the-top (OTT) application providers.
In essence, the DSR makes decisions regarding load balancing and congestion control based on its knowledge of the entire network, as opposed to a specific segment of the network. And, with virtualization, operators will gain further architectural agility through the cloud.
Douglas A. Suriano: Vice President, Products, Oracle Communications
Doug Suriano assumed his current role as Vice President, Products after Tekelec was acquired by Oracle Corporation in 2013. He is responsible for product management and product development for the former Tekelec portfolio of products including Diameter and SS7 Signaling and Policy Management.
Prior to this role Doug served as Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Engineering to develop Tekelec’s solutions for the mobile broadband era. Doug is responsible for product innovation, leadership in standards bodies and industry forums, and advocacy for innovative mobile data solutions. Doug led the initiatives to transition Tekelec from hardware-centric products to software-centric solutions and expand the market share of Tekelec’s text and voice solutions. He also headed the development of Tekelec’s Diameter Signaling Router (DSR), the undisputed market leader and the first product of its kind sold to multiple LTE networks.
Prior to Oracle Communications, Doug served as Vice President of Engineering for dynamicsoft, Inc. and Chief Information Officer for QAD Inc., Prior to QAD, Doug managed the Information Technology division for the United States Marine Corps. Doug earned his Master of Science in Information Technology at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and a Bachelor of Science at the U.S. Naval Academy.