30 November 2017

"Nervous Systems" for Smart Cities... but what about jellyfishes ?

The metaphor of future networks (e.g., SDN/NFV, 5G) becoming the "Nervous System" of Digital Society and Economy has been mentioned several time in this blog.

I remember I made a welcome presentation at EuCNC-2014 showing this picture, elaborating this vision for the first time (at least to my knowledge). In the talk, my take was that technology advances (SDN, NFV, Cloud Computing, AI) are creating the conditions to deploy - in the Digital Society and Economy - a sheer number of pervasive "control-loops" (or if you prefer autonomic control-loops a la MAPE-K) mimicking the role of a "nervous system" in a living being. 

...and in this paper on December, 2014:

...and more recently in this piece:

Today I've stumbled upon this press:

...so we are witnessing progresses in exploiting this vision !

We could even extend this biogical metaphor considering that the traditional view of central nervous system is not valid for some living being, e.g., jellyfish: in fact, they have a ring nervous system, located along the margin of the bell !

It this a lesson learnt from Nature about the value of decentralization in case of asymmetry ?

22 November 2017

Accelerating Network Innovation with an Open, Disaggregated Network Operating System

It has been mentioned several times in this blog (but not only) that the model of an Operating System for future SDN/NFV infrastructures evolving towards 5G, would be a "game changer" at least for reaching three targets:
  • Smart Opex (e.g., with simplified and automated Operations)
  • Smart Capex (e.g., with dynamic enforcements of customer profitability models) 
  • Better Customer Experience and also new Services

I've recently read this very interesting White Paper  from AT&T, on what they call "dNOS", disaggregated Network Operating System. The overall goal is accelerating Network Innovation and the instrumet they see for that is the dNOS.

In the paper, AT&T is mentioning three imperatives:
  • Faster introduction of technologies, designs, and features by means of a collaborative ecosystem of hardware and software component vendors
  • Flexibility in network design and service deployment via plug-n-play hardware and software components that can cost-effectively scale up and down
  • Unit-cost reduction through using merchant silicon, standard hardware and software technology components with very large economies-of-scale wherever appropriate.

White paper looks as a call for hardware and software makers, open source developers, telecom companies, standards bodies and others to others to start thinking about how to develop and push this concept forward.

Personally, I think it's a very interesting initiative !


21 November 2017

Why Omics is a "pivotal" use-case for 5G ?

The term omics informally refers to a number of avenues in biology ending in -omics, such as genomicsproteomics or metabolomics.

Let’s focus for a while on genomics. The advances in sequencing technologies is progressively reducing the cost of sequencing a human genome to the order of 1000 $. This is likely to have a big impact on a lot of applicative and societal fields (biology, precision medicine, food industry, etc) which are making use of the massive data and information stored in DNA sequences. 

It is expected that genomics will be more demanding (in terms of processing, storage and networking services) than the three main big data domains, namely astronomy, YouTube and Twitter. At the same time networks and service platforms are going to face a systemic techno-economic transformation (called Softwarization, enabled by SDN-NFV technologies advances): networks and service platforms will evolve to become end-to-end software framwork (integrating processing, storage and networking) supported by hyper-connected links (both fixed and mobile); this will mean more and more flexibility, programmability (with multi-levels APIs) to satisfy - on demand - the new dynamical needs/requirements of big data applications areas such as genomics.

Thus, today is the perfect time to cross the 5G (which is much more than the evolution of the mobile 4G) and genomics communities for demonstrating how SDN-NFV/5G can help enabling a true genomic (and omics) revolution.

New ecosystems and collaborations have to be created between universities, pharmaceutical companies, sequencing machines manufacturers, medicine and biology research centers, hospitals, and services providers/network operators. The changing point is that genomics ecosystem will require in fact not only ultra-broadband connectivity, but also the flexibility of creating and orchestrating on-demand infrastructure slices of resources for processing and storage services of big volumes of data.  

For large public facilities, such as hospitals or research centers, 5G technologies will improve the capability of massive analysis, providing automatic and scalable processing services in 5G networks, relieving them from the burden to manage dedicated computing facilities. The usage of SDN-NFV/5G will allow setting up dedicated virtual networks hooking also logical processing and storage resources where to execute Machine Learning services for big data analysis.   

In summary, gen(-omics) in general is a pivotal use case for 5G, not only for ultra-broadband fixed-mobile connectivity, but also and perhaps especially for aspects of programmability of both application and network services (through APIs), security and privacy management, low cost SDN-NFV integrated solutions for the Omics ecosystems. 

20 November 2017

Which way to the Digital Business Transformation ?

Today we are witnessing a number of intertwining of techno-economic drivers (SDN, NFV, Open Source, IT advances, etc…) which are creating the conditions for a Digital Business Transformation in Telecommunications (and not only: several other socio-economic ecosystems are likely to be impacted in the next 5 years).

In this context, Network Operators and Service Providers are looking for innovative solutions for managing this Digital Business Transformation. As we know, for example ways for: 1) managing the growing “complexity” of an infrastructure with is going to be  cloudified/softwarised: this means addressing management, control and orchestration issues for virtualised networks and services; 2) approaches for improving the Quality of Service/Experience of Customers’, for example: by integrating/orchestrating distributed architectures (e.g., Cloud-Edge-Fog Computing), by adopting more and more Big Data analytics and Computational Intelligence, etc; 3) …and enablers for new digital services and business roles.

Overall, we see for the first time a common “reference model” emerging for both Telecoms Operators and OTTs future infrastructures.

This common “reference model” in fact, in essence, will be based on: 1) a physical layer which will include and integrate compute, storage (IT) and network resources (up to the edge); 2) a virtualization layer which will allow providing high-level abstractions of all the infrastructure resources. 

On top of these layers, there will be the so-called Operating System: the conceptual extension of the OS of a laptop on a infrastructure.

To put it simple, the OS will allow Virtualised Network Functions/services (VNF) to be dynamically combined and orchestrated to create specific end-to-end “service chains” (for serving applications), which will be executed in “slices”, as “isolated” pool of resources, (specifically made available to meet QoS requirements). 

Overall (from 10,000 feet) it looks like a transition from a business model with “90% customized hardware and 10% software" to one that is "10% common hardware and 90% software" for quoting this press.

In reality, the scenario is rather “chaotic”, at least today: there is a “plethora” of open source software platforms and tools are available and other development and…a number of functional architecture being defined in various SDO and Forum.

As a matter of fact, this is a very big transition, with several socio-economic and cultural implication, so it is more than natural that the Telco ecosystem is surfing such a “chaotic” transition…

...but is this the only way to look at this "transformation" ?

Can we "think differently", as the Google and FB for example ?