It is a common situation when different environments communicate with each other and exchange, store, and process different types of data. This happens with OSS/BSS systems when they integrate different elements of the ISP operation and communicate with others to enrich and validate its data.
One important function of the OSS ecosystem is the ability to manage network complexity. Depending on the section of the network and the functions, this can be carried out by different telecom vendors’ devices. Even devices of the same type may have different configuration methods; they may be passive or active, virtual or physical equipment. Also, the same type of equipment may be working in different roles depending on the implementation, etc.
Under this context, creating functionalities considering all these complexities may become a problem, and not having a centralized convergent system managing the end-to-end network makes it hard to build such functionalities.
There are some solutions to these challenges, and mostly, they are mostly covered by Network Discovery and Reconciliation components. These solutions must have the ability to connect to a variety of sources using different communication protocols, the ability to clean and filter data out, flexibility for defining a set of data transformation rules, processing large amounts of data, managing user manual or automatic decisions on handling data, support to define reconciliation rules, data association and mapping from multiple sources.
Different Discovery and Reconciliation solutions use different strategies and tools to accomplish all the requirements described before; some of them use ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) data processing strategy, which allows users of such tools to EXTRACT from different sources into a centralized data processing point. TRANSFORM already centralized data using different business rules to format the data into something more manageable for the destination platform, as well as create all necessary relationships between data from different sources and filter out all non-relevant or unnecessary data. LOAD or reconciling data has to do with the ability to produce formatted data ready to upload to the final data store to be validated or processed based on additional rules, including those calculations required to be defined when data is inputted as new, existing or removed data.
One of the downsides of such solutions is that, while they could do a network discovery by themselves, the best practice for this functionality is to depend on the NMSs since they already have all the mechanisms to do data extraction and they already connect to network devices to do monitoring and activation. Therefore, discovery solutions should be flexible enough to be configured according to what section of the network and which protocols each vendor covers.
On the other hand, once you overcome the challenges and achieve a centralized network datastore, you can build many functionalities on top of such data, thus reducing OPEX and CAPEX.
Functionalities and data can be used to generate network reports, network performance monitoring and improvement, service availability, service fulfillment, network root cause analysis, feasibility and availability check, etc.
Despite the initial hurdles, establishing a centralized network datastore offers numerous benefits. The wealth of data and functionalities it provides allows for generating insightful reports, network performance monitoring, service availability assessments, root cause analyses, and more. Ultimately, overcoming the complexities results in a streamlined network management process, reducing operational and capital expenditures. As the telecommunications landscape continues to evolve, the importance of robust OSS ecosystems and their ability to adapt to changing environments becomes increasingly evident for optimizing network efficiency and performance.