Autonomous operations requires a new approach to telecom inventory management
In the modern digital age, seamless communication is the cornerstone of global connectivity. Today’s complex and intricate telecom network needs to enable reliable services for consumers, enterprises and mission-critical purposes. Telecom inventory management is at the heart of this expansive modern communication infrastructure.
Defining dynamic telecom inventory management
Telecom inventory management solutions provide a comprehensive database tracking detailed information about physical and logical components. This traditionally includes cell towers, cables, switches, routers, antennas, and network devices. Modern inventory solutions leverage a data-mesh approach to go beyond this, mapping end-to-end services to the physical network. This enables root cause analysis (RCA), domain stitching and correlation analysis for software configurations, network connections and relationships between elements. The inventory provides data aggregation, normalization, and network observability, serving as a single source of truth for operational support systems (OSS) and business applications in communications service provider (CSP) organizations.
Automation requirements for CSPs
Today, CSPs face the challenge of having to shrink operating costs while implementing new services faster and boosting revenues at the same time. Automation is critical to achieving these objectives. A precise and dynamic inventory system forms the foundation for effective automation by leveraging a deep understanding of network and services and real-time insights. Let's explore the characteristics of a modern inventory solution designed for autonomous networks.
The ability to discover existing and new network elements (physical, virtual or containerized) in a highly dynamic environment is crucial. Creating the relational connections and graphs for these elements provides the foundation for RCA, as well as further processing by machine learning (ML) platforms and other automation tools. The accuracy of models is directly linked to the quality of data, the oxygen for any modern system.
Data aggregation, normalization, and labeling are crucial to efficiently link to northbound systems. For any network today, multi-domain and multi-vendor stitching and the creation of service abstraction are essential functions. Additionally, defining relationships between physical elements and logical services is crucial to establish the effects of a failure and to perform service impact analysis.
The insights available in modern inventory solutions can be used to recommend the most efficient routes, optimize energy usage and perform spectrum optimization. ML tools can enable pattern recognition among similar services, facilitating suggestions for the best route or service path based on the knowledge graph of past service utilization. When integrated with intent-based orchestration, this results in a highly intelligent system capable of autonomously defining services and KPIs.
One notable feature of digital twins is the ability to emulate network elements and their corresponding behaviors. They also allow for the definition and emulation of service impact. Combined with RCA, this can provide insights into the future state of the network.
Digital twins also aid the identification of critical network resources through prioritized monitoring, determined by the number of services utilizing each resource. They also enable redundancy simulation and planning for these critical resources and paths within the network.
To avoid vendor lock-in for products or services, it’s essential for inventory systems to work and integrate with multiple vendors while enabling CSPs to create their own models, adapters and configurations. A powerful software development kit (SDK) assists in achieving this flexibility.
Nokia clearly recognizes the need for automation. That’s why we’ve developed our award-winning Digital Operations Center to help CSPs accelerate their journey towards autonomous service and network operation.
Digital Operations Center is a modular solution comprised of Orchestration Center, Assurance Center, and a common Unified Inventory. This combination enables CSPs to manage the entire service lifecycle by designing, delivering, and assuring services at scale and with speed.
The Unified Inventory provides all necessary capabilities for services and service assets in near real-time. This is essential for modern functions like MLOps, AIOps, orchestration and assurance. It also offers a common data plane to those applications, enabling better data integrity driving the adoption of network automation.
Inventory management might seem like a behind-the-scenes aspect of modern telecoms systems, but it’s the backbone that upholds the seamless connectivity we often take for granted. As the world becomes more interconnected and reliant on robust communication, effective inventory management remains pivotal for enabling progress and ensuring a connected future.
A modern inventory solution as used in Nokia’s Digital Operations Center provides the foundation for increased automation and service enablement.