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PIPELINE RESOURCES

Accelerating Digital Transformation with Unified Resource Management

By: Ulrich Schalling

In today’s on-demand world, IoT is driving a rapid rise of connected devices. Everything that can be digitalized will be. Rapidly advancing technologies and market forces such as mobile 5G, fiber rollouts, and automation are pressuring telecom providers to quickly adapt to the evolving ecosystem. That’s why an overwhelming majority of CSPs are either actively implementing digital transformation programs or are currently in the planning process.

Emerging 5G networks create new opportunities for operators to provide services at greater capacities, accelerated speeds, and lower latencies. To service both residential and business customers in this hyper-connected digital world, service providers are planning and executing extensive transformations in technology and architecture. These transformations are necessary to support the modern infrastructures that make smart cities, smart grids, Industry 4.0, and many other use cases possible.

These transformations support bandwidth upgrades and enable the introduction of software-defined networking (SDN) technologies and network function virtualization (NFV) solutions. They involve large core data centers and many new edge data center sites, all of which must be set up and outfitted with substantial IT server and storage equipment, including the virtualized applications. It’s important to note that a vast number of fiber rollouts are required to connect new mobile sites and provide the capacity in the backbone and between the data center sites to deliver high-speed, high-quality access connectivity to business and residential customers.

Although it is necessary for operators to transform their infrastructure, it can be a difficult undertaking. Enabling the Future Mode of Operation of both physical and virtualized networks and services requires massive transformation activities. These activities are easier to execute when a system of unified resource management is in place.

Making a Smooth Transformation

In the continuous cycle of change that occurs during network transformations, rollouts, and even routine maintenance, reliable information is a must-have. Documenting all changes within a central resource repository is important, as inaccurate information can cause disastrous ripple effects throughout the entire infrastructure. Having a single source for all network and service resource data is the foundation of unified resource management.

Unified resource management solves the problems caused by the diverse array of resources required to operate today’s technologies. These technologies require physical resources, logical telco resources, virtual IT resources, and VNFs based on data center resources. While physical, logical, and virtual resources can be easily managed separately, it is challenging to manage them in unison. Since the products and services that are delivered to customers use both traditional network services and virtualized components, seamless navigation throughout these different types of resources is a crucial success factor.

The transparency provided by a unified resource management solution enables the planning and documentation of all relevant physical, logical, and virtual resources, capacities, and assets across the telecommunications network, IT, and data center infrastructure. Simplifying resource management in this way gives providers the ability to manage resources via a single source that integrates with key systems. 

To illustrate why this is so vital, consider today’s mobile networks. They are a complex mix of traditional network technologies, passive fiber infrastructure, mobile technologies, a virtualized mobile core, and BBU functions. Unified resource management supports holistic management of all these resources, regardless of where they reside or whether they relate to active or passive devices or physical, logical, or virtual resources. It covers all types of mobile RAN active nodes, passive equipment, and configuration data at mobile sites. It includes the active nodes and logical connectivity in fronthaul, backhaul, and core, and comprises the underlying passive inside- and outside-plant cable infrastructure as well as the virtualized resources and space, power, and cooling capacities in core and edge data centers.



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