Tuesday, 26 June 2018

MVNO in a box and cloud MVNO / MVNE - What do they mean

Cloud means many things to many people

Cloud means many things to many people, but as far as virtual mobile is concerned, it really means virtualisation, stuff that was designed to be on multiple machines, put in a single environment for operational and service effectiveness. The reason or a single virtual environment. The reason for this is that you cannot put all of the elements needed for a full MVNE in the cloud yet (like install it on AWS) so you have to create your own, which is not as easy as it sounds: many people just do not have the license or rights to sell on a complete system to a 3rd party. In short, most MVNEs are like an internet cafe, with, hopefully, licences to let their customer use computers with the software they bought on the, but they do not have a right to resell all of that software for a separate resale or resale of a resale.
Cloud and in-a-box is only a real benefit if all services are integrated on a single Single Virtual Environment 

When is cloud really a benefit as opposed to just marketing gumpf?

Just like before setting up Conecto, I worked on one of the biggest companies and best know brands in the world global MVNE strategy, not only did we have this issue, but furthermore; Not one MVNE passed our operational or financial due diligence, so we had to go with suppliers who let us deploy as we wished and build our own. My previous client, before Conecto was built, had to go with the least bad MVNE at the time, which was far from ideal.
So now we have the Cloud issue dealt with, lets get to what “in a box” means!
That means everything on a single virtual environment, not just OSS, BSS; reporting, OTA... the lot!

What does in-a-box really mean?

Conecto has spent 3 years, taking so called off the shelf "in a box”, some of them already cloud or part cloud, services, making them fully cloud, NFV, SDN capable... however we found the world of MVNE is not so in a box and we needed to put more in the box than we bargained for... like a whole new SBC, MSC, SMSC and GGSN, as well as other services like OTA needed completely re-integrating to make it work.

When is in-a-box really a benefit as opposed to marketing gumpf?

What most people mean when they say “in a box” is that they in fact have a collection of boxes prepackaged and selected for you in another box, all of which, again, cause huge operational and other issues.

In short, there is no point having a bunch of connected “clouds”, single virtual environments” or “boxes in a box”, as APIs, connectivity, and even security patching and regression, along with and other changes and even basic debugging mean that achieving over 99% uptime is impossible. 
In short, true cloud benefits are achieved by taking ALL the elements of a fully running, INTEGRATED service and putting them on one virtual machine and networking service. Only then can you:
  • Resource flexibility; instead of having to physically take a machine down, etc, you can allocate more resource remotely, 
  • Apply levels of security and operational processes above and beyond the donor services
  • Multiply connectivity for example to 8 or 16 SMSCs vs only 2
  • Assure that data stays within a single network environment when being reported, stored and processed.
  • Lastly but not least(ly); achieve 99.9xxx uptime when donors only promise 97% in some cases.

How far can the box stretch?

So next time someone tries to sell you “in a box” and / or a cloud MVNE, make sure you scratch below the surface and see what it really means, as in the last 4 years of RFPs and migrations of customers from pretty much every major MVNE player, we can only conclude that we are the only MVNE that has this, or at least has customers using and taking advantage of the operational flexibility and other benefits that true cloud and in a box offers.
There is no point having a selection of boxes in a box, as it does not give the operational efficiency to do all this!

Promotional Advert for our sponsor and only truly cloud in-a-box mvne I am aware of in the sense of offering true benefits to MVNOs and their customers as outlined above: true operational efficiency and flexibility.