Ryan O'Grady

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    3 Questions Every Telco Cloud Professional is Asking

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Apr 30, 2015 9:40:45 AM


    Discussions at this year’s Annual Telco Cloud Forum demonstrated distinct trends amongst telecommunication professionals.

    The following questions were common during the debates, workshops, and panels:

    “How can we monetize what the cloud can offer enterprises?”

    The cloud data center market is not only highly competitive, it’s highly unforgiving. To be a leader, the market demands predictable and guaranteed high-performance interconnections 24/7/365. It also involves facilitating and streamlining the ordering and deployment of cloud services from a provider.

    In order to expand service offerings and deliver compelling competitive-differentiating value to end customers, while maintaining the quality connectivity assurance today’s data center customers demand, service providers need a solution to establish interconnectivity between cloud data center operators, process customer orders, monitor services and assure connection quality, and manage adds, changes, and disconnects.

    “How can we make sense of the vast volumes of data that we are now presented with?” 

    The answer to this question involves some of the biggest buzz words from the past few years “big data analytics”. Thankfully, these buzz words are now a reality and by combining distributed virtualized computing with big data analytics, service providers are able to:

    • Create logical connections between cloud data centers cages, i.e. the "cloud exchange"
    • Automate ordering, billing, and provisioning through a customer-facing, self-service portal
    • Integrate Service OAM and customer SLA reports to measure service performance and real-time service state
    • Rapidly extend inter-carrier SLA connectivity to branch offices

     “How can we manage our growing and complex networks?”

    Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) is becoming a big topic in the telecommunications world. Service visualization modules provide actionable insight around network management and assurance operations across all segments of the network.

    To learn more about CENX’s innovative Lifecycle Service Orchestration solutions, read the complimentary white paper: Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks.

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    Topics: Events, Cloud

    Top 4 Business Trends at Cloud Innovation Summit

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Apr 27, 2015 3:30:00 PM


    Last week in San Francisco, NetEvents held their Global Cloud Innovation Summit. This year’s event featured the new Clouded Leopard’s Den award; a competition that recognizes top innovative cloud computing start-ups.

    5-Cloud-Innovation-Awards-Finalists-938253-editedFinalists for the event were chosen a week prior to the event and they were split into two categories. The early-stage innovator finalists were Taplink, Truedash, and Innovate Create Ltd. The later-stage, pre-IPO finalists, were Mirantis, Viptela, and CENX.

    For the final stage in the Clouded Leopards Den competition, finalists presented “Shark Tank” or “Dragon’s Den”-style elevator pitches to the judges on the merits of their start-up.  Representing CENX at the competition was Nan Chen, Co-Founder and Executive Vice-Chairman.

    In addition to the premiere of the Clouded Leopard’s Den award, this year’s Global Cloud Innovation Summit provided organizations with a lot of valuable information on business trends and the future of cloud. Here are a few key points from the event:

    1. The #1 issue for the public cloud is security

    Standards bodies are recognizing that they need to move faster to set guidelines and provisions to ensure assured services. The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is working to define Software-Defined Networking (SDN) standards and they are now trying to use the Dev/Ops agile method for standards. A trend that is emerging recently is collaboration between standards bodies. For example, the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) and TM Forum are collaborating on a model to accelerate delivery of on-demand, cloud-centric connectivity services.

    2. Organization process is the biggest barrier to cloud migration

    When it comes to cloud migration, the biggest barrier is actually the organization process. There were lots of references to Lifecycle Service Orchestration being required at different layers (e.g. MANO) to help with the transition.

    3. Private to hybrid private/public cloud

    Enterprises are moving from solely private cloud approaches to hybrid private/public cloud approaches.

    4. CIO and CTO are merging

    The roles of CIO and CTO are merging as network infrastructures are evolving and next-generation SDN and NFV solutions are gaining popularity. 


    To learn more about CENX’s innovative cloud solutions, explore our cloud exchange service orchestration use case.

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    Topics: Industry Awards, Cloud

    CENX Named as Finalist for Cloud Innovation Award

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Apr 17, 2015 11:36:00 AM


    In early 2015, nominations opened for the Clouded Leopards Den competition, which recognizes top innovative startups that are early-stage innovators or later-stage, pre-IPO companies.

    A shortlist was chosen by a group of media and analyst judges and the finalists for the Clouded Leopards Den 2015 were chosen by a panel of five top venture capitalists, technology innovators and industry luminaries. This panel was chaired by “Top Cat” Dr. Bob Metcalfe, Ethernet inventor and Professor of Innovation and Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise at The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering.

    Today, CENX is proud to announce that it has been named as a finalist for this cloud innovation award and is recognized as top innovative startup in the later-stage, pre-IPO company category. The other later-stage finalists are Mirantis and Viptela.

    Metcalfe_Bob_011-3Dr. Metcalfe said, “The finalists for the Clouded Leopards Den are inventing new technologies, products and services. These companies are leveraging communications technologies to make a positive change. I offer CENX my congratulations and wish them good luck in the next phase of the competition.”

    The final stage in the Clouded Leopards Den competition will occur at the NetEvents Global Cloud Innovation Summit which will be held at the Corinthian Yacht Club, Tiburon, San Francisco on April 23. The finalists will present “Shark Tank” or “Dragon’s Den”-style elevator pitches to the judges on the merits of their startup, and one winner will be chosen from each category at the Global Summit.

    Rounding out the judging panel are Jim Lussier, Managing Director and Head of Dell Venures; Janice Roberts, Partner in Benhamou Global Ventures; Dan Scheinman, an angel investor in high-growth emerging tech companies; and Murli Thirumale, Co-Founder and CTO of Portworx Inc.

    Jim_LussierJim Lussier of Dell Ventures said, “We see enormous market opportunity in the cloud. The finalists for the Clouded Leopards Den 2015 demonstrate creativity, talent, vision and potential for tremendous growth. Early-stage and larger-stage startups like CENX are to be commended for their hard work and success. As entrepreneurs, they are the future.”

    The Clouded Leopards Den 2015 prize is sponsored by OpenCloud Connect (OCC), a global industry alliance founded in May 2013 to address the need for scaling and enhancing Ethernet technology to meet the stringent demands of delivering cloud services.

    Previously known as the Cloud Ethernet Forum, the OCC is creating an open test and iterative standards development program for service providers, industry vendors and over-the-top cloud service providers and includes a dedicated proof of concept test laboratory based in Silicon Valley, to provide ongoing testing and support for the iterative development of OCC’s CloudE 1.0 open cloud framework.

    The name “Clouded Leopard’s Den” is inspired by the elegant but threatened Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), a rare and beautiful big cat barely surviving in the Himalayan foothills. US$10 for each nomination will be donated to the Clouded Leopard Project, which works to save these endangered animals.

    Follow the Clouded Leopards Den on Twitter @CloudLeopardDen.

    To learn about CENX’s innovative approach to lifecycle service orchestration, download CENX and Heavy Reading’s white paper, “NFV’s Biggest Barriers: Overcoming the Operations Challenge".

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    Topics: Industry Awards, Cloud

    Orchestrating the Internet of Things

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Apr 9, 2015 9:00:00 AM

    What is the "Internet of Things"?

    In 1999, when the Internet was still in its infancy, a British man named Kevin Ashton coined the term “The Internet of Things” (IoT). At the time, this phrase was a simple prediction of how the Internet would develop and enhance our day-to-day lives. Kevin forecasted that eventually, all physical objects would be interconnected through embedded electronics and they would be able to communicate and transfer data through the Internet. 

    It has been over 15 years since this theory emerged, and our new reality is the Internet of Things. We see this in Mobile World Congress’ theme, “Connected Life”. Companies were showcasing revolutionary new personal products such as smartphones, virtual reality headsets, smartwatches, and even enterprise solutions for next-generation software defined networks.

    The rise of M2M


    Statistics show that by 2020, there will be 24 billion total connections and $1.2 trillion USD generated in the machine-to-machine (M2M) market. The rise of M2M is underway and because of this, network operators connected devices and 1.2 trillion USD worth of revenue are faced with new challenges. Most machines aren’t as intelligent as smart phones, so connecting to these machines and coordinating their services on demand requires a Lifecycle Service Orchestrator.

    Why is LSO the next big thing?

    In Scott Raynovich’s report “Why LSO is the Next Big Thing” he states:
    “54.6% of operators regard their OSS systems as ‘outdated’ with a need to be updated or overhauled, according to the survey results. Sixty percent (60%!) said they were lacking a capability to launch new services in a cost-effective and time-effective manner”.
    CENX wants to ensure that a connected life is an agile life for software defined networks operators and virtualized service providers with the use of Lifecycle Service Orchestration. With Cortx Lifecycle Service Orchestrator, we're actually allowing our service provider customers to get connected to their data services. We provide a real-time search capability, and the ability to take that search and turn it into actionable analytics and actionable management capabilities. Because of this, the carrier gets better agility in how they're bringing services to market and how they're managing their ongoing services. 

    To learn more about how Lifecycle Service Orchestration 
    can help manage the complexity associated with the Internet of Things and how it can ensure the best user experience, read the free White Paper “Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks”.

    SDN White Paper

    Topics: Service Orchestration, Internet of Things

    MEF President Discusses the Future of Ethernet

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Mar 24, 2015 9:20:55 AM

    While at Mobile World Congress, Global Telecoms Business (GTB) interviewed Nan Chen, the President of the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF). Here's what he had to say:GTBTV

    Brian Dolby: I'm joined by Nan Chen who is the president of the MEF. Nan, welcome to Netscout here in Barcelona. First question: you've taken Ethernet from virtually a theory, into global domination. Tell us some of the highlights of the MEF and its work over the last few years.

    Nan Chen: Thank you for the compliment. We are obviously very proud of how Ethernet has grown from enterprise technology to the Carrier Ethernet which is known today. The MEF started in 2001 and we started from zero. 2012 marked the first year Carrier Ethernet bandwidth globally surpassed the entire legacy data bandwidths combined. Finally, Ethernet bandwidth is projected to be 75% of the overall global business bandwidth by 2017, so we’re obviously very proud of it.

    Brian Dolby: And of course it's an integral part of LTE.

    Nan Chen: Absolutely, because of the standards we have defined, every single LTE backhaul is Ethernet based and we see even more growth in the mobile industry. To a certain degree, it's also attributed to many of our industry colleagues that have contributed a lot. We’re proud of the Ethernet and being able to deliver all the mobile capabilities that we see today.

    Brian Dolby: Yes, and of course LTE networks are growing rapidly around the world aren't they? So nearly every day there's more and more Ethernet.

    Nan Chen: That's right; it’s music to our ears obviously.

    Brian Dolby: Just moving to fixed networks now; everyone is talking about SDN & NFV, is that an area for your organization?

    Nan Chen: Yes, in fact most of Ethernet growth we've seen both in fixed and wireless networks require a dynamic feature of Ethernet, and that's what we have started in the MEF body called Lifecycle Service Orchestration. It’s a new standard to control the Ethernet bandwidth and allow it to be dynamically manipulated. Our goal is to build global networks which will allow multiple carriers to deliver dynamic bandwidths across the globe. 

    Brian Dolby: Now we're here in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress, it gets bigger and bigger and they say it gets better as well. What for you are some of the big things this year?

    Nan Chen: It's actually pretty amazing to see a lot of the things here, not just the handset innovations, but also the ability to virtualize network functions. When you virtualize network functions, you not only reduce the cost of deployment, you also gain the agility to deploy services on both fixed and mobile networks. With that, you need a Lifecycle Service Orchestrator to manage the network, and we're really pleased to be a part of that overall momentum.

    Brian Dolby: So, some interesting insight there into the work of the MEF and also the increasing importance of Ethernet in the world that we all share and enjoy in terms of our communication.

    To watch the complete video interview, please click here.

    To learn more about CENX's Lifecycle Service Orchestration solutions, download the complimentary white paper: Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks.

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    Topics: Service Orchestration, Ethernet, Metro Ethernet Forum

    What does LSO mean?

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Mar 19, 2015 9:00:00 AM

    CENX Talks LSO with TelcoProfessionals, Tony Poulous

    While at MWC15, CENX Co-Founder and Executive Vice Chairman, Nan Chen, talked with Tony Poulos from TelcoProfessionals about what LSO is, and why it is useful for NFV users and operators. Here’s what they had to say…


    Tony: I’m here today with Nan Chen, who is the Executive Vice Chairman of CENX. Nan, great to catch up; I’ve got to start by asking an inevitable question. There’s a buzzword: LSO, what does it stand for and what does it mean? Please tell me.

    Nan: That’s a great question; LSO stands for Lifecycle Service Orchestration, which is a layer above the SDN and NFV. It provides full lifecycle service delivery as well as fulfilment, ongoing management and capacity planning. Basically, the entire service from the cradle to the grave.

    Tony: Now, you talk about SDN and NFV, aren’t they also just buzzwords at the moment or are you actually starting to see some traction there?

    Nan: We definitely see NFV as a way of moving forward. A lot of service providers are starting to deploy NFV and are doing some trials with SDN, but LSO is actually enabling technology to deliver the agility and cost savings that people are looking for.

    Tony: Are you saying that it will allow them to deliver services and assure services more quickly or more rapidly?

    Nan: It does multiple things beyond assurance. It also takes care of the ongoing management, capacity planning, automations, fulfilment, provisioning, testing, and reconciliation. As I said earlier, the end-to-end service lifecycle.

    Tony: So how does your LSO help the transition to something like NFV?

    Nan: That’s a great question, because it’s what we specialize in. What’s really needed is a service orchestration layer above the existing infrastructure to provide the end-to-end connectivity. This allows service providers to migrate to the new SDN NFV based infrastructure at their own pace. Our service orchestrator facilitates this migration for mobile operators, data centre operators, and wireline operators.

    Tony: Is it restricted to an all IP network or are you able to work in hybrid networks through the transition from say circuit switch onwards?

    Nan: We’re able to do both the existing infrastructure and the new infrastructure networks while transitioning services from the old to the new. Many of the new services are a mix of Ethernet and IP, which is making the transition from circuit to packet much smoother and easier.

    Tony: So operators now have some comfort in that transformation project. They’re not going to lose that service quality or assurance or the continuation of services with their customers, presumably.

    Nan: That’s absolutely right. One of the challenges with packet based networks is assurance. Unlike a circuit, that always has the same bandwidth, a packet has a bursting nature. This is exactly why it’s so popular and why it’s really applicable to today’s data traffic. Our service orchestrator helps to assure service delivery with packet networks by monitoring delay, connectivity, packet laws, and availability, to assure all the applications are running to the user expectations.

    Tony: Well I can understand that the biggest fear of most operators, particularly mobile operators, is the fear that during a process of transformation they will lose service and that orchestration all the way through to make sure that the customer gets the service properly and happily, so I think you’re in the right place at the right time.

    Nan: You’re absolutely right!

    Tony: I wish you all the best, thanks very much, Nan.

    Nan: Thank you so much, I appreciate it. 

    The video interview can be viewed here.

    To learn more about CENX's Lifecycle Service Orchestration solutions, download the complimentary white paper: Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks.

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    Topics: Service Orchestration

    Behind the Scenes at MWC 2015

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Mar 17, 2015 2:00:00 PM

    The CENX executive team was in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress this year. With the theme of “the connected life”, and roughly 90,000 attendees, the event proved to be both exciting and productive. Here’s what the CENX executives had to say while at MWC15:

    How does CENX’s technology fit into this year’s MWC themes?

    Ed Ogonek, President and CEO

    cenx-1B_LinkedIn"Well, we've wrapped up an exciting and productive Mobile World Congress 2015 for CENX. We really lived the theme of a connected life. Within 90,000 attendees we were able to expand or build new connections with global service providers, with partners, with system integrator, with analysts, with the industry as a whole, around the exciting solution we're bringing to market with Cortx.

    With Cortx, we're actually allowing our service provider customers to get connected to their data services. We provide a real-time search capability, and the ability to take that search and turn it into actionable analytics and actionable management capabilities. Because of this, the carrier gets better agility in how they're bringing services to market and how they're managing their ongoing services.

    We're really excited with the feedback we've gotten from our customers and partners with all these connections that we've made at mobile world congress and we're looking forward to ensuring that the connected life is an agile life for software defined networks and virtualized services."

    Paul McCluskey, Director of Business Development

    paul"The big themes this year were connected life and the Internet of things. Everything connects to the internet now and the ability to manage that is actually much harder than it sounds. Billions of devices all connecting to the same network means we need to understand how that network performs and how to fix problems. This is really important and that's where CENX can help in managing service assurance with machine-to-machine for example." 


    What new things are being showcased by CENX at MWC this year and what sets CENX apart from its competitors? 

    Jay McMullan, SVP Sales


    "This year at mobile world, CENX will be showcasing our next generation release for VoLTE visualization, NFV, and real-time search for your entire network."






    Andrew Doyle, VP EMEA Sales

    dk"Really, what separated CENX from all the other orchestrators is the full breadth of functionality that we offer. It's just absolutely end-to-end and has the ability to mine the data extensively but meaningfully which is one of the things which I've picked up when I've been speaking to people so far this week. They just love the information that's presented to them, the way it's presented to them, and what they can do with it." 





    Marc-Antoine Boutin, Director of Product Management

    marc-2"This year at mobile world congress we're showing something very exciting. Basically NFV and virtualization are the focus. We're actually showing full end-to-end visualization of a back-haul connection going through a core with ram performance data, back-haul performance data, and VoLTE performance data all going through a virtual infrastructure. We actually have virtual gateways in our network and we're capable of visualizing a full virtual infrastructure. Marc Antoine Boutin, Director of Product Management: This year at mobile world congress we're showing something very exciting. Basically NFV and virtualization are the focus. We're actually showing full end-to-end visualization of a back-haul connection going through a core with ram performance data, back-haul performance data, and VoLTE performance data all going through a virtual infrastructure. We actually have virtual gateways in our network and we're capable of visualizing a full virtual infrastructure."

    How do CENX's solutions fit into the growing markets at MWC? 

    Marie Fiala Timlin, Director of Marketing


    "Well with all the excitement at MWC, you really get the feeling that service providers are stepping up to the challenge of delivering IP services in the best way possible and that's where Cortx service orchestrator fits in.

    It's a software tool that allows service providers to roll out those differentiated services so much more quickly because they have a single very intuitive gooey by which you can quickly provision those needed Ethernet IP MPLS connectivity services from one end-point to the other end-point. On top of that, not only is it about service fulfillment but after those services are provisioned and deployed, you need a real easy quick way to troubleshoot and to keep your service performance up at a high level of quality for the end consumer. That's what Cortx Service Orchestrator does." 

    Chris Purdy, CTO

    cenx-269_LinkedIn"I think everyone understands the telecom market is undergoing a massive shift with the virtual CPE that’s taking place and the whole SDN movement from hardware based networks to software.

    One of the greatest challenges associated with making that transition from the old to the new is how that’s going to be operationalized and how services will be assured during that migration to software and I think CENX is one of the leaders at actually helping to make that transition possible."





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    Topics: Service Orchestration

    A Different Take on the Business Benefits of NFV

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Mar 3, 2015 2:00:00 PM

    When NFV first emerged, the immediate benefit operators envisaged was capex (capital expenditure) savings. Fairly quickly this reason for doing NFV started to drop down the list because people realized that a high percentage of the cost of network elements is in the software not hardware.

    There’s also been a lot of noise around NFV and opex (operating expenditure) savings, but given all the operational and organizational changes associated with transitioning to NFV, some operators believe that a reduction in opex will only be achieved long term.

    One of the greatest challenges that mobile operators face is growing demand for bandwidth. The following example will provide a different take on the real business benefits of NFV.


    The image above displays regular use, as data goes from the handset to the cell site, then from the cell site across to the first aggregation site. Traffic is then typically brought back to a distribution site where all of the content is actually delivered.

    If you're running an application on your handset like ESPN, Google, or Netflix for example, the traffic is going from that distribution site back to your application. This drives a massive amount of bandwidth and the highest value is between that aggregation site and that distribution site.

    The content companies like Google, Netflix, and ESPN are typically willing to build closer to the edge of the network. They'd move their traffic to the aggregation site for example, because they're trying to ensure the best quality of user experience. Since those services go through S and P gateways as the anchor points, they usually end up staying at the distribution sites because of the cost of moving physical gateways.


    If however, those gateways were virtualized (like in the image above) and could run on standard computer hardware, it would be possible to run whatever you needed at the distribution site and whatever you needed at the aggregation site. That would enable these heavy content users to move more of the traffic out to the edge. This would relieve the pressure and create a significant cost reduction for the mobile operator.

    The flexibility that NFV is offering here has real potential for business value. To learn more through operational use cases watch the on-demand webinar, “NFV’s Biggest Barrier: Overcoming the Operations Challenge”.

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    Topics: Network Functions Virtualization

    Do You Know the Difference Between NFV MANO and LSO?

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Feb 24, 2015 2:00:00 PM

    In order to break away from the current ineffective OSS model, there must first be a proper separation of concerns.

    The point which a lot of people are missing at the moment is that NFV MANO (network functions virtualization management and orchestration) and LSO (lifecycle service orchestration) are different.

    What’s the difference?

    The MANO is responsible for managing the network functions virtualization infrastructure. So it understands the capacity of the system and the utilization that's already been assigned to NFVs in normal operations. The most important difference between the NFV MANO and the LSO is that the MANO does not know the operating capabilities of the VNFs it is managing. To the MANO, a VNF is a VNF and that is all. It doesn't know or care whether a VNF is a virtual firewall, a virtual router, or a virtual voice-bridge; it just knows what the VNF requires to operate properly.

    The LSO on the other hand, is capable of understanding the semantics attached to VNFs. While the MANO is responsible for ensuring proper NFV operation, the LSO is responsible for coordinating the specific workloads to fulfill service requests. For example, if a service is requested and a VNF firewall needs to be instantiated, the LSO will request the MANO to create the required firewall. The MANO doesn’t know that the VNF it is instantiating is a firewall, it just knows it’s instantiating a VNF. It’s the LSO that recognizes that firewall and understands how it’s interconnected to physical and logical network elements. This displays the interplay between the LSO and the MANO.


    To learn more about NFV MANO and LSO through operational use cases watch the on-demand webinar, “NFV’s Biggest Barrier: Overcoming the Operations Challenge”.

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    Topics: Service Orchestration

    The Solution to Managing a Complex Network

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Feb 17, 2015 2:00:00 PM

    Networks are incredibly complex!

    So what’s the solution to managing a complex network? A lot of people say the solution is simplification. They come up with something that's simpler, but unfortunately they never remove the “old world” technologies. This leaves them with new and old technologies, making things infinitely more complex.

    What’s the solution?

    The key lies with the concept of abstraction, which hides the underlying complexity of a network. For example, almost everyone can use PowerPoint to create visually appealing presentations, but very few people know what’s going on under the hood. All you need to understand is PowerPoint’s basic user-friendly interface.

    For some reason, this isn't what's happening with OSS.

    The standard is a functional silo model, where each OSS has to hold detailed information for each domain to fulfill its function. The challenge is trying to keep each information model in sync with what’s going on in all of the networks. Every time a change is made in one network domain, changes need to be made in all other systems and they must all support each other.

    This image helps to understand the complexity. It represents a complete lack of abstraction. 


    If we really are going to move to a more agile, high-speed world, it's essential that people break away from this model of OSS. 

    To learn more about the role abstraction plays in service management, watch the webinar, "NFV's Biggest Barrier: Overcoming the Operations Challenge".

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