Next-gen service orchestration sector set to boom: Report

  • Telcos need next-gen service management capabilities to take advantage of the enterprise service opportunities they crave
  • Automation is a key enabler of the new management layer
  • Vendors have been hard at work developing new products
  • Appledore Research expects significant growth in next few years

Communications service providers (CSPs) are desperate to grow their business with enterprise customers as demand for industrial Internet of Things (IoT), private 5G and other ‘digital transformation’ services grows, but to take full advantage of the growth opportunities CSPs will need what the team at Appledore Research refers to as “a new management layer that supports automation, agility, and therefore cost-effective innovation, often by 3rd parties, and also often by exposing APIs and NaaS.”

That management layer is often referred to as “end-to-end” or “cross-domain” orchestration, notes the analyst firm, and requires new capabilities compared with existing orchestration tools, especially those that enable automated processes. Those capabilities are now highly prized by operators: “CSPs have increasingly realised that automation is a business requirement, not a technical feature,” notes Appledore’s Grant Lenahan, one of the authors of the new report, Market Outlook: End-to-end Service Orchestration.

Members of the vendor community have recognised this, have been busy with their R&D efforts and look set to reap the benefits, as the Appledore team expects the market for such ‘cross-domain’ orchestration tools to grow to $1.9 billion in 2024 from $509 million in 2021. Companies vying for the operators’ business include Amdocs, Blue Planet, Cisco, Comarch, Ericsson, HPE, IBM, Inmanta, Itential, Juniper Networks, Netcracker, Nokia, Oracle, Rakuten Symphony and VMware.

But the CSPs aren’t keeping pace, in terms of their deployments, with the advances being made by the developers. “Adoption of end-to-end automation, within domains and then across domains, continues to be gradual, lagging the capabilities of vendors in the market. Nonetheless, we expect that commercial pressures on CSPs will make adoption of greater automation irresistible,” notes Lenahan.

What is key, ultimately, is that CSPs approach their orchestration needs by considering themselves as “one cloud,” comprising multiple cloud platforms (including public clouds) that feature a broad array of tools and functions, from software-defined networking (SDN) to virtual and cloud network functions – the days of siloed networks and services is coming to an end.

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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