Network Infrastructure

Amdocs Intros NFV Orchestrator, Aligns Policy Solution with ETSI Work

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  December 04, 2014

We’ve long been hearing from telecom equipment and software companies about the need for facilities-based service providers to better monetize their assets.

Telco operational support system company Telcordia (News - Alert) was a big proponent of this messaging early on, even before its acquisition by Ericsson. And now many of the infrastructure equipment and software providers – both new and old – are reiterating this message, and talking about how the rise of network functions virtualization and software-defined networking will make telco networks more agile and efficient.

Amdocs (News - Alert) is among the well-known software suppliers spreading this message. The company, a $3.3 billion outfit best known for its leadership position in the telco billing space, recently launched a new solution and enhanced an existing one that aim to help service providers move from the physical world of networking to a more software-centric one that will enable carriers to expedite the delivery of services that better meet the needs of specific applications and users.

New from the company is the Amdocs Network Cloud Service Orchestrator. An orchestrator does OSS coordination of network elements, and can act as a central source to collect, analyze, and act on data received from network elements, which can be from different vendors.

Ruth Zamir, who’s in charge of Amdocs NFV product marketing, says what’s noteworthy about this particular orchestrator is that it is catalog driven, and has already been proven as having an open/vendor-agnostic approach to NFV orchestration. The catalog part seems especially intriguing, as it leverages the company’s existing product catalog and fulfillment assets so network operators have immediate access to reusable building blocks to enable their to easily create new service definitions and link those definitions to their business processes and networks.

Another important differentiator of the Amdocs Network Cloud Service Orchestrator, Zamir adds, is its ability to do continuous assurance and fulfillment, meaning Amdocs is constantly evaluating the status of the network to ensure all the necessary pieces are in place across the network’s virtual and physical infrastructure to support a service as necessary. This speaks to the dynamic nature of networking, particularly in the new software-centric and virtualized world the carriers are moving toward.

Virtualized enterprise connectivity and security services, IMS core and enterprise voice services, core mobile network services are among the use cases for its orchestrator that Amdocs already has demonstrated with its ecosystem of partners. Juniper Networks (News - Alert) is an Amdocs ecosystem partner for this first use case. Metaswitch and Tropo are among its ecosystem partners for the second. And Connectem is an Amdocs ecosystem partner for the vEPC use case. Other Amdocs NFV ecosystem/integration partners include Dell (News - Alert), HP, IBM, and Red Hat.

While Amdocs didn’t offer specifics on what service providers were using which applications, the company did note that AT&T previously announced Amdocs as one of the suppliers for its Domain 2.0 effort.

Amdocs news also included the enhancement of an existing product. That product is the company’s PCRF, or Policy Controller. The company virtualized this PCRF more than a year and a half ago, and now it’s aligned the product with ETSI work, made it orchestration ready, and is promoting its template-driven approach to service definition and its scalability.

Ann Hatchell, director of marketing and strategy for the Amdocs data experience business unit, which was created three years ago following the Bridgewater Systems (News - Alert) acquisition, explains that service providers can take virtualized slices of the PCRF and apply instances to different things like advanced LTE, policy per enterprise customer, public safety, or whatever. This lets network operators dedicate specific policy to each customer or application, meaning more granular control of the end user experience.

Edited by Maurice Nagle