To make this a reality, big data will have a key role to play. In addition to working with an advanced service assurance provider, operators will need a handle on the wealth of data residing on their networks for the purpose of predictive analytics. This will help identify trends, patterns and subscriber behaviour, which will be infinitely useful when it comes to maximising network performance and improving the subscriber experience. This approach will also give operators the insights needed to dynamically scale resources up and down to cope with drastic changes in network traffic. Combined with network automation, through a system fed by big data from the network in real time, operators can truly make their networks work for them.
Ultimately, migration to network virtualisation will be a gradual process. Although some implementations are already in place and interest in NFV has ramped up significantly, both physical and virtual network assets will continue to exist side by side for some time in a heterogeneous network. Yet this only goes to show how important service assurance and real-time monitoring software, capable of supporting a hybrid network design, will be for operators in 2016 and beyond. With virtualised networks representing a patchwork of different and ever-changing network functions, it’s imperative that operators consider how best to maintain the quality of subscriber experience at all times to ensure the risks associated with NFV do not outweigh the reward.
About the author
Said Saadeh is senior director of products and portfolio management for NETSCOUT’s Service Provider Business Unit. NETSCOUT is a market leader in real-time service assurance for today’s most demanding service provider networks.