When communication service providers (CSPs) adopt a new technology, it always comes with concern and hesitation. That increases when CSPs implement the new technology for a core enterprise application that may impact company revenues and customer experience. When this technology also requires a change in mindset in the operation of complex architecture with a multiple vendor ecosystem, the hesitation is
even more heightened.
However, the need for modernization, simplification, and improved operation, led this Tier 1 Asian CSP to evaluate Optiva’s new cloud-native online charging solution. Optiva and the customer agreed to hold a pilot production. The project included implementing the latest cloud-native version of Optiva Charing Engine™ with live traffic on the CSPs’ private cloud. It allowed the customer to evaluate technology benefits for operational efficiency and cost reduction in a live production environment based on agreed KPIs.
The tier 1 Asian CSP, which serves hundreds of millions of prepaid and postpaid subscribers, is one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated CSPs. It operates in a highly competitive and dynamic landscape characterized by high penetration levels, dynamic business models, and empowered customers. These conditions require it to innovate continuously, and its OSS/BSS enterprise software must quickly enable the rollout of new services.
Furthermore, the CSP faced the challenges and complexities of handling almost 20 different OSS/BSS stacks across multiple regions. With that, it needed tools to help achieve architecture simplification and unification and to reduce its operational costs.
The customer has partnered with Optiva for more than a decade, running on a legacy version of its charging solution. This was deployed across six production sites and six disaster recovery sites. It worked with Optiva to create a joint plan to upgrade Optiva Charging Engine to the latest Kubernetes enabled version. Also, one of the sites, serving a large regional hub, was moved to a private cloud to simplify operations and make it future-ready for the public cloud.
Pilot targets and success criteria were jointly agreed upon to measure the benefits of migration to a cloud-native application, including:
– Faster software setup and patch updates
– Quicker releases
– Capacity management via autoscaling (auto scale-in, auto scale-out)
– Optimized hardware and CPU utilization through cloud-native decomposition and automated software management
The private cloud migration was not an easy task with a decade-old solution and layers of customizations. However, by embracing cloud practices that embedded CI/CD and automated testing, it went smoothly and was declared a success. The CSP and Optiva teams flawlessly collaborated, executed, and migrated to cloud-native technology. That was achieved while also ensuring the new instance was compliant with the CSP’s high security and performance requirements and maintaining 100% business continuity.
The pilot production included live traffic migration from a bare metal instance of Optiva Charging Engine to a target cloud-native instance. Migration was of a single site, consisting of four million subscribers, out of the six sites the CSP operates.
The timeline from installation to full traffic migration was performed in the groundbreaking time of only four months. It included three main steps, which focused on the migration of the production traffic to comply with the CSP’s performance and customer experience requirements.
After full migration of the planned traffic to the Optiva cloud-native instance, the agreed KPIs were measured. They showed substantial operational performance and scalability improvements.
Moving all Optiva charging to a private cloud environment will also potentially yield cost savings for the CSP. Using Optiva’s proven methodology for quantifying the total cost of ownership (TCO), the CSP expects an estimated 24% savings over five years by migrating all of its sites to a private cloud.
These savings are primarily due to fewer environments being required on a private cloud (an active-active setup instead of dedicated disaster recovery environments), better CPU utilization, and automated elasticity.
With the pilot, the CSP was able to explore and experiment hands-on with new cloud-based technologies, such as Kubernetes containers.
The tier 1 Asian CSP has modernized and brought its charging system into the 21st century. It achieved this through streamlining its operation across its different instances and gaining faster time to market with the cloud-native architecture of Optiva Charging Engine™. Further consolidation will increase cost savings, and a potential move to the public cloud in the future will accelerate cost savings even further.
The operator is the first in the telecom industry to deploy a charging solution with a fully cloud-native architecture, which transforms a traditional monolithic architecture through decomposition, containerization, and function productization. It plans to leverage the agility, flexibility, and cost savings to improve and grow its digital offerings and provide a continually progressive, innovative customer experience.
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