Multi-vendor Integration and Smooth Evolution Help Operators Embrace Innovation
Digital transformation is now inevitable if telecom operators are to remain relevant and competitive in a constantly changing digital world. However, digital transformation requires a strong digital business ecosystem to help navigate the road from rigid legacy business systems to a digital-first environment.
Many operators have struggled to innovate their business models, but to thrive in this new era they need a radical shift to a value-driven business model - one that offers customers a Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY, and Social (ROADS) experience.
Huawei is helping operators drive business-model innovation and place digital transformation at the heart of their operations to provide a rich digital experience for their end users. Huawei advocates an All Cloud Strategy to cultivate a healthy digital business ecosystem. Huawei believes that without an All Cloud network, operators will be challenged to achieve the digital maturity required to succeed in the digital era.
The cloud enables transformation to a more dynamic and on-demand business model, helping operators deliver high-quality user experiences while accommodating rapid expansion and room to experiment with emerging technologies. However, ‘cloudification’ isn’t without its challenges and operators need to address three major areas on their All Cloud journey:
1. Multi-vendor integration
The product interface standards between different vendors will differ widely, and overcoming this marks the first step on the path to ‘cloudification’.
2. Seamless network migration
Smooth migration from an existing network to a new, targeted network is vital to ensure the business continues to operate seamlessly during the process.
3. Smart digital transformation
Customers expect operators to deploy the latest technologies for a better user experience. A key concern for operators is how to implement a smart transformation in a short timeframe.
The case studies below demonstrate how Huawei’s consulting and system integration services capabilities have enabled operators to overcome key challenges in these areas. Huawei’s interconnected facilities across four Cloud Open Labs provide purpose-built pre-integration and pre-verification solutions in a multi-vendor environment to support network migration to the cloud.
Huawei Cloud Open Labs has completed the integration and certification of more than 70 industry partners covering SDN, NFV, Cloud DC and IoT domain etc. and provided pre-verification support to more than 1,100 ICT projects around the world. The labs also collaborate with many open-source communities, including OPNFV, OpenStack, and ONAP, establishing an open innovative ecosystem for a distributed, multi-vendor, multi-layer and cross-domain network environment. Based on knowledge gained through many verification, sharing and optimization projects with open-source communities, Huawei has developed new automated test models and professional services, such as Testing-as-a-Service, to speed testing and verification of services for operators.
Huawei Cloud Open Labs Case Studies
Huawei Cloud Open Labs focus on the following key capabilities to create deliverable solution capabilities and help customers achieve business success:
1. Quick integration: Cloud Open Labs provide a professional integration certification system that builds and promotes testing standards, and is based on a multi-vendor environment.
- The multi-vendor test environment covers core ICT including NFV, SDN, DC and IoT. Huawei formulated a comprehensive set of test standards, based on more than 1,100 ICT projects and its work with industrial organizations and open-source communities. There are three main types of multi-vendor validation /certification tests:
Inter-operation and interconnection test between third-party and Huawei products: to ensure compatibility so that operators can use both product functions without running into problems
End-to-end integration verification test between the third-party and Huawei products: to provide operators with efficient joint solutions
Joint test between Huawei and a third party on the application’s functionality and reliability: to open the API capacity of Huawei products so the third-party can effectively use their ICT capacity
Ooredoo’s UNIFY strategy is centered on driving ICT transformation to deliver a digital customer experience through simple and agile IT. As part of the strategy, it aims to deliver any service that consumer and business customers want, to anywhere within days at a competitive price. In addition to providing network-based applications, Ooredoo wanted the network to manage new and advanced services, such as high-definition VoLTE and Internet of Things (IoT) etc.
Ooredoo also wanted to implement leading-edge NFV technology via a multi-vendor approach including Huawei, VMware, HP and Cisco in projects across Qatar, with Huawei as the Prime System Integrator (PSI). Integrating a range of services and solutions from different vendors involved inherent complexities and unique challenges. The primary challenge of the project was the end-to-end (E2E) integration and delivery of third-party NFV infrastructures, including installation and testing. The entire E2E NFV solution included technologies from VMware with new customized features and functionality, posing further integration challenges for Huawei.
Huawei used its NFV OpenLab in Xi’an to develop ICT solutions and ensure seamless E2E integration. In the lab, the telco-over-cloud architecture feasibility was validated and tested in a live, synthesized environment. Certain features were also validated in the lab, such as disaster recovery capabilities. Huawei also validated the integration and feasibility of the new VMware features, such as the distributed logical router (DLR) and edge service gateway (ESG).
Once Ooredoo had achieved it’s UNIFY ambition, the operator completed its ICT cloud data center construction in less than two months. This enabled a complete vIMS deployment within just three hours, enabling a rapid VoLTE deployment.
2. Smooth evolution: Cloud Open Labs simulate live networks to verify targeted network architectures and ensure a smooth digital transformation.
With a distributed, multi-vendor, multi-layered and cross-domain integrated verification environment, Huawei can simulate a real three-level data center network architecture that integrates NFV, SDN and unified cloud management technologies. Throughout the project, Huawei provides collaborative architecture verification for a PNF and VNF co-existing network and offers verification on the feasibility of network migration.
- With more than 10 testing tools and more than 110 business solution scenarios, Huawei Cloud Open Labs covers more than 80% of mainstream test scenarios, which helps to lower integration risks and ensure a smooth network evolution.
Company name: China Telecom
China Telecom wanted to establish an agile, on-demand intelligent network while reducing operational costs, improving network openness, and driving business innovation and competitiveness through its entire network architecture.
There were two fundamental changes that China Telecom network architecture reconstruction required:
1. Transforming from a reactive network model to a more proactive, faster and flexible network model to support fast-changing internet applications.
2. Moving network resource deployment from hierarchical structures, based on administrative regions, to brand new networks based on China Telecom’s data centers
Huawei Cloud Open Labs and China Telecom Network Restructuring OpenLab worked together through MV integration testing and verifications. The key joint innovations included:
- On-demand network (intelligent cloud private line): SMEs (small and medium enterprises) are important entities helping China achieve an innovative-driven development economy. In November 2016, China Telecom's Network Restructuring OpenLab in partnership with Huawei Cloud Open Labs’ SDN experts, completed various product designs and innovate program verifications. These products were deployed in four trial commercial scenarios (cloud-and-network synergy, smart campus, IoT, and multi-point enterprise connections) achieving satisfactory results. This enabled China telcos to provide an all-round service to SMEs and develop the “cloud, network and value-added service” ecosystem, thereby improving the efficiency of SME operations.
- Unified cloudified NFVI: The vIMS network built for the NFVO/NFVI cross-decoupling test to verify the hierarchical decoupling NFV construction mode is considered the world’s largest. The test involved basic capability verification, a connection between China Telecom’s unified cloud manager (VIM) and Huawei Hypervisor, the deployment of the NFVI for multiple NEs, and the verification of resource sharing and isolation mechanism for different businesses.
- Data center resource pool planning: To help China Telecom transform from central office equipment rooms to data centers, Huawei Cloud Open Labs developed a data center layout design and equipment room reconstruction planning guide to simulate the initial planning and practice on the live networks. Working with China Telecom Shenzhen, this was completed using a central office equipment room and a data center to address selection and planning proposals.
- Huawei and China Telecom have made significant progress in creating joint technical and product innovations and demonstrations, and Huawei is now working to establish cooperative alliances. Based on its vast partner resources and wealth of project verification experience, Huawei Cloud Open Labs will help China Telecom build five basic capabilities to ensure a smooth evolution process. These capabilities include: R&D for new product and platforms; evaluation for new technical network devices; live-network operational simulation; and verification and demonstration for new technologies and business products. It will then help to improve China Telecom’s network reconstruction capability maturity, to enable and reshape the SME digital ecosystem.
3. Enabling innovation: Huawei adopts the DevOps’ α + β model and uses its capabilities to facilitate faster incubation of new services between partners.
Company name: HKT Limited (HKT)
- Huawei Cloud Open Labs use IES (Infrastructure Enabling System) Studio, achieving simple development through graphic-based drag-and-drop operations without coding in the α model to test the technological feasibility of an application.
- In the β model, an application will go through integration and verification in the DevOps mode to prove its business feasibility. After the verification of both models, the Cloud Open Labs help operators launch the services in a real business environment with continuous O&M support.
- With a library of many API assets, supporting seven network capabilities (communication, connection, bandwidth, cloud computing, data, operation and security) and including over 1,200 atomic API libraries, Huawei Cloud Open Labs can incubate online services quickly and verify APIs in a variety of business scenarios.
- The α+β service incubation model and strategies for opening telecom infrastructure capabilities, can help operators verify the feasibility of new services and decrease time to market by more than 50%.
HKT and Huawei worked together on ‘Project Earth’, a real-life project on ROADS experience-driven operations and infrastructure transformation. Huawei Cloud Open Labs has been used in this project for the pre-validation of new solutions and services incubation processes to prove its technical feasibility. After verification in Cloud Open Labs, the new services were deployed in HKT’s environment, undergoing integration and verification in HKT to prove business feasibility. This helped HKT shorten the development cycle while minimizing the risk of digital transformation.
- HKT is the market leader in fixed, broadband and mobile services. However, intense competition from operators and market erosion by OTT players is casting a shadow over further growth opportunities.
- With customer behavior shifting from offline to online, from manual support to self-service options, HKT needed to deliver a Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY, and Social (ROADS) experience.
- HKT’s ability to meet customer expectations was constrained by its legacy systems, which delayed time to market for new solutions and services.
- HKT’s end-to-end transformation was extremely complex throughout its operations from BOSS to network cloudification, and needed to be completed in a short time frame while ensuring low business risk.
- OpenLab has successfully demonstrated the following:
- Enterprise customer self-servicing:
- Allows HKT enterprise customers to manage mobile data usages of their staff online, with functions such as service subscription, quota management and splitting of bills for business and personal expenditure
- Allows HKT enterprise cloud customers to easily increase cloud resource consumption and subscribe to new cloud services online.
- Intelligent monitoring and alert: Allows proactive service monitoring and provides intelligent recommendations to customers.
- Account Manager one-stop-shop sales portal: HKT Account Managers can offer an enterprise-to-enterprise service to customers online all the way from service subscription, service configuration to service activation.
- Intelligent Operation and Maintenance for Cloud-based Network: Enables HKT to manage their cloud-based network more efficiently, such as through self-deployment of services and capabilities.
These industry successes have gained widespread recognition, winning several industry awards for their contributions to cloud development. At the SDN/NFV World Congress, Huawei Cloud Open Labs won the ‘Best Validation/Certification Program’ award in the Ecosystem & Partnership category in October 2017. It’s collaboration with UK EE won the Informa 2017’s ‘Most Successful Deployment of NFV’ Award, and the partnership with China Telecom's Network Restructuring OpenLab also received a commendation for its ‘Telecom Transformation’.
These industry examples demonstrate that Huawei Cloud Open Labs are improving the capabilities of the new digital ecosystem, helping businesses on their digital transformation journey to take advantage of new possibilities.
“The Huawei Cloud Open Labs are designed to support operators’ network evolution and operation transformation,” says Xun Su, Vice President of Global Technical Services, Huawei. “We believe that by continually investing in R&D, expertise and innovative offerings to the telecom industry, Huawei Cloud Open Labs will grow and transform as a Lab-as-an-Ecosystem model in the future, attracting more industry partners to join in the deployment of a more open and agile digital transformation environment.”