Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) are continuously under stress to meet the huge bandwidth demand and the need for innovation to deliver differentiating services. It is challenging for CSPs to achieve these rising needs without eliminating the existing barriers between network services and infrastructure and introduce an elastic and scalable network. It is no longer an option for CSPs to bring network transformation by introducing new network technologies and innovative services. This significantly improves the end customer experience and reduces CAPEX and OPEX spends over the long run, as new technology maturity and roll-out cycles are continuously becoming shorter.
Tata Elxsi’s customer, a leading European CSP is providing services today on a heterogeneous network in over 10+ countries. As consumers demanded newer services like IoT (smart home & industry 4.0), entertainment (IP video), unified communications, healthcare, education etc., to be rolled out faster, the CSP is facing major challenges in creation of new network infrastructure while upgrading the technology at the same time.
The ability and cost-effectiveness offered by virtual routing and switching with Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Virtualized Network Functions (VNF) provided the best direction forward to solve their challenges of today and make ready their infrastructure for tomorrow.
The key drivers for choosing the SDN and VNF approach are:
- Increased maintenance cost of heterogeneous network elements and technologies spread across countries
- Huge network operating costs due to redundancy across networks and countries
- Long roll-out times due to complex network technology elements
- Decentralized network administration imposing challenges in administrative efficiency and effectiveness
A multi-year and multi-phase strategic business program was required to manage the network transformation without impacting the existing legacy business services and revenue. As a first step customer wanted to enhance the enterprise segment user experience by rolling out an innovative digital business service that interconnect distributed branches and remote locations through personal computer, mobiles or tables.
For CSPs, a Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) solution based digital services are recommended for initial commercialization by reputed researches, because of the minimum performance issues which in turn protects their existing revenues; deliver higher revenue due to high service agility, while the TCO is reduced significantly. The SD-WAN solution acts as an overlay network on top of existing physical network that virtualizes and decouples the network management function from the physical hardware. The SD-WAN based solution is also secure and optimizes business efficiencies.
Tata Elxsi Solution:
Tata Elxsi helps CSPs to build, transform and operationalize their next generation network infrastructure by providing solutions based on SDN and NFV technologies.
In this particular case, we helped in the architecture and design analysis to confirm the SDN and NFV (Network Function Virtualization) based SD-WAN solution is definitely scalable, centrally manageable by setting policies in real time for the enterprise connections across distributed branches and network traffic is prioritized to ensure Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are met. We co-created with the CSP, an approach and plan to integrate the SD-WAN solution for dynamic & secure inter-connection across broadband, cable, DSL, wireless networks.
The SD-WAN solution aligns to the new digital service business model, but since most vendor solutions are not industry proven yet, it carries potential risks during roll-out in an enterprise network environment with such a multi-vendor, multi-technology infrastructure distributed across multiple regions. To mitigate these risks Tata Elxsi carefully designed an end-to-end test strategy specific to the business service and also built a robust test process and execution strategy. Our experience and technical leadership in integrating and certifying SDN/ NFV based products and solutions in a multi-vendor multi network environment are key to deliver such high impact activities.
The end-to-end integrated network solution had to be validated for its entire service lifecycle stages, new service creation/insertion, service assurance, monitoring and tear-down. It also included scenario that can stress the scalability and reliability of the solution before production scale deployments. Using a fundamental use case of end customer that addresses a global VPN deployment with rapid service insertion, ensured end to end coverage. Such benchmarking and certification of the next generation network components was a critical aspect of achieving successful future deployments.
The test strategy and creation of a test book during the initial discovery phase guided the end to end Integration, validation, benchmarking and certification processes and enabled a faster solution roll-out.
The value addition in the verification of end-customer experience such as use case scenarios of indicators for service agility and high availability by increasing the test cases from 2 digit to thousands (18 times) to test different key performance indicators has brought out several issues in a very early stage, which otherwise would have been identified by the end-customer post roll-out.
Operational efficiency of the entire end to end certification in an agile development environment saw an increase of more than 30%. This was possible by using Tata Elxsi’s test framework that made possible automation of ~56% of test cases within a short period of time.
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