Microsoft Announces Active OSS Framework Teams With Industry Leaders at SUPERCOMM ’98 to Provide Public Network Operators
ATLANTA, June 9, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. introduced the Active Operations Support Systems (OSS) Framework today to address core OSS process needs of public network operators. The Active OSS Framework facilitates the development of products, technologies and services by third parties, which encompass telecommunications company processes such as operations, administration, maintenance and service provisioning.
The Active OSS Framework will facilitate extension of existing OSS systems as well as provide the basis for new, leading OSS systems. The Active OSS Framework encourages carrier use of commercial off-the-shelf technology to build Operations Support Systems that are adaptable, efficient, well-integrated, accessible and easily programmed for today’s telecommunications markets. An additional key benefit of the Active OSS Framework for carriers is reducing time-to-market for their commercial network services.
Today’s definition of the Active OSS Framework represents a maturing of Microsoft’s OSS focus because it provides a common architectural framework that ISVs and network operators can use to apply Microsoft® technologies to core telecommunications operations and business processes. Microsoft’s focus on OSS was one of the three core areas it announced in June 1997 to address the needs of network operators worldwide. The other two areas of focus are intelligent networks, particularly work with Signaling System 7 (SS7), and enhanced services, such as xDSL high-speed services and a wide range of IP-based services.
The Active OSS Framework showcases the applicability of the Microsoft Windows® Distributed interNet Applications architecture (Windows DNA), Windows NT® Server operating system, and the Component Object Model and Distributed Component Object Model (COM and DCOM) as general-purpose object models for encapsulation of OSS business and process logic. The Active OSS Framework builds on OSS process models, such as the Telecom Operations Map, established by the Network Management Forum (NMF) ( http://www.nmf.org/ ), and the Telecommunications Management Network (TMN) models established by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) further developed by NMF as SMART TMN. The Active OSS Framework will add momentum to the rapidly expanding number of telecom solutions providers now delivering mission-critical telecommunications solutions based on Microsoft Windows NT Server and the Microsoft BackOffice® family of server products.
“OSS is key to Microsoft’s core market development strategy with industry leaders in telecommunications,”
said Jonathan Usher, telecom industry marketing manager for Microsoft.
“Platforms, applications and tools from Microsoft and key industry leaders and the Active OSS Framework help telcos reduce time-to-market of new services, improve operational efficiencies in provisioning of existing services, and provide carriers with a flexible, scalable platform to meet changing demands.”
Usher added that Windows NT Server, COM and DCOM, Transaction Server technologies, Microsoft Message Queue Server and Windows DNA are used today by specific ISVs, OEMs, management consultants, systems integrators and telecom carriers to build carrier-grade Operations Support Systems. A key benefit of these platforms, technologies and architectures is that they facilitate time-to-market and lower price/performance for OSS solutions, while providing the scalability, reliability and standards support carriers need for managing their networks and services.
Commercial Network Service Platforms and Standards for the Next Millenium
“The successful next-generation telco will be a ‘smooth operator’ that is able to streamline their OSS environment,”
said Elizabeth Adams, NMF managing director.
“Applying commercial technology is the only way service providers can achieve end-to-end automation in an acceptable time frame and at an acceptable cost. It is very encouraging that Microsoft, through its Active OSS Framework, is encouraging development of solutions in this area, and we are equally pleased Microsoft finds our SMART TMN Telecom Operations Map useful as a strategic guide.”
“One key to opening the telecom OSS arena with a new platform approach is convincing UNIX and mainframe die-hards of the scalability and telecom-specific ‘industrial strength’ of the new platform,”
said Jeff Cotrupe, program manager, Dataquest.
“The other key, however, is to offer a unified stable of software applications to the market. It is all well and good to have ‘many ISVs building on the platform,’ but it is essential to have a conceptual and technological framework like this one to focus and streamline both development by ISVs and planning and purchasing by OSS customers.”
OSS Vendors Apply Active OSS Framework
Microsoft is working with industry leaders, including AI Metrix Inc., CableData Inc., Digital Equipment Corp., Eagle Telecom Software Inc., Euristix Ltd., Intertech Management Group Inc., Minacom International Inc., NCR Corp., Nortel, Portal Software Inc., Tandem Computers Inc. and Vertel Corp. to optimize carriers’ interoperability and automation for both new and existing Operations Support Systems.
“Digital Equipment and Microsoft continue to work together to develop opportunities in the telecommunications industry, including platform and software technologies for operations support systems addressing the rapidly changing needs of network operators,”
said Pascal Coutier, worldwide communications industry marketing leader, Digital Equipment.
“The Active OSS Framework is another example of the thought leadership we share as we work together to help ensure successful implementations of Windows NT Server and related technologies in addressing operations, administration, maintenance, and provisioning with voice, data and multimedia carriers worldwide.”
The Convergence Enterprise Architecture (CEA) suite of OSS applications developed by Tandem, a Compaq Computer Corp. company, for Windows NT Server enables service providers to simultaneously process all advanced billing, network management and customer-care functions for multiple communications networks – such as wireless, wire line, local service, long distance, and Internet-based networks – with an integrated, scalable system.
“CEA helps service providers take advantage of Microsoft technologies to enhance customer service and reduce customer churn through features such as a single bill for all services and service bundling,”
said Heidi Lemker, marketing director for business support systems, telecommunications division, Tandem.
“CEA utilizes many of the core technologies and architecture of the Active OSS Framework to address key carrier operation processes.”
“Vertel Corp. sees advantages in Windows NT Server-based TMN management solutions for carriers deploying new access technologies, such as ADSL, to support the growth in demand for Internet services,”
said Bruce Brown, president of Vertel.
“To meet service-level expectations, an end-to-end view of all network elements and management systems is required. As most network operators have adopted the TMN standards for managing their backbone infrastructure, integrating the access technologies into the TMN management framework can speed the deployment and facilitate comprehensive service management. The Active OSS Framework will enable the application integration, lower cost and time-to-market advantages of Microsoft technologies to be more easily realized in the telecom operations support systems environment.”
Vertel will demonstrate a TMN-based provisioning solution for ADSL services built on the Windows NT Server operating system in the Microsoft booth at SUPERCOMM.
Active OSS Framework in Use by Network Operators Today
Williams Communications is demonstrating the market advantages of components of the Active OSS Framework. Williams is quickly becoming a serious competitor in the wholesale communications services arena following the sale of WilTel Inc. to WorldCom Inc. and completion of a three-year noncompete agreement in select markets. Starting fresh, Williams is implementing Intertech Management Group’s Network Strategies system, which runs on Windows NT Server and Microsoft SQL Server
, to take advantage of the new technologies to increase performance and reduce costs for billing, order entry and customer-care systems.
“We want to provide our customers with seamless access to their information, so we need a solution that facilitates integration of our customers with our business solution,”
said Mark Bender, director of network information services for Williams Communications.
“Our strategy has always been to minimize the amount of duplication wherever possible. By aligning ourselves with Microsoft, we are well-positioned to achieve that strategy.”
“At BC Tel Mobility, we are applying Microsoft technology today in support of core telecom processes,”
said Murray Jamieson, vice-president, information systems, BC Tel Mobility.
“We are using Windows NT, Windows NT Server, COM and DCOM to implement an OSS to speed new services to market. We believe the Active OSS Framework, as implemented at BC Tel Mobility, has made a significant difference in the adaptability and improved functionality of our core process capabilities.”
“CableData’s Intelecable, our premier customer management and open billing solution, supports video, voice, data and interactive services from a single, integrated database,”
said Lanse Leach, PhD., chief technology officer and vice president of research and development at CableData Inc.
“Developed to address the unique needs of companies offering multiple communications services, it utilizes Windows NT Server, Microsoft Transaction Server, COM, IIS and Active Server Pages as platform technology. With our focus on open-architecture solutions, we recognize the significance of the Active OSS Framework as an architectural blueprint for operations support systems in the converging worlds of telecommunications and cable.”
Active OSS Framework White Paper
Microsoft has posted a white paper at http://www.microsoft.com/industry/telecom/ that explains the Active OSS Framework.
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EDITORS’ NOTE, December 30, 2004
— This page has been revised since original publication.