It is not every day that you hear about one of the world’s largest enterprise software vendors being shunned. But, that’s what happened recently when a global Tier 1 operator evaluated a User Data Repository (UDR) solution from the software behemoth quite close to these parts. The solution had all the bells and whistles operators don’t really need and it all came with an eye-watering license-fee and a high rate of Maintenance and Support (M&S). All this made the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) unnecessarily high. The operator looked around and we were delighted to help.
Why are some vendors missing the boat?
Operators are gathering data in various silos and diverse locations. With nearly eight billion devices in everyday use, telcos are sitting on hundreds of thousands of terabytes of subscriber data. This was the situation facing the Tier 1 operator and they needed to consolidate their subscriber data into a carrier-grade UDR. The User Data was spread across multiple applications including PCRF (Policy Charging & Rules Functions), AAA (Authentication, Authorization and Accounting) SMSC (Short Message Service Centre) and MMSC (Multimedia Messaging Service Centre).
The data schema related to subscriber data for mobile operators is relatively simple. It can be supported with hierarchical databases and accessed via the lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). They don’t require complex relational databases that some vendors will always try to sell.
What do mobile operators (really) want?
Mobile operators want a straightforward scalable, geo redundant UDR with five nines availability - 99.999% uptime. Along with this reliability, carriers also need a high performing user repository with full read, write and notification capabilities and unbeatable speed of access to their data. The UDR solution also needs to be flexible and interoperable with the capability to handle various protocols such as LDAP and SQLNET from multiple applications that depend on the user repository.
What’s more, a growing number of mobile operators are looking to virtualize their networks and adopt SDN/NFV to benefit from the flexibility automation offers. So, asking operators to deploy UDRs on proprietary applications such as Exadata, and throwing in extra hardware, does not really help carriers. That’s why Openwave Mobility was able to help this particular Tier 1 telco to deploy the UDR on their own private cloud and enabled them to achieve a significant milestone. It was the carrier’s first NFV application.
Being subscriber smart
As more and more devices get connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), operators will increasingly find themselves sitting on a mountain of data that could grow by the hour! No wonder then that the SDM market is set to be worth over $2.5bn by 2018. To be able to capitalize on this, operators need a flexible, robust and crucially, a virtualized solution with centralized management of all subscriber data no matter where or how it is actually stored – with minimal cost of ownership. All this is available today.
Operators should not feel compelled to settle for SDM solutions that are over spec’d, overpriced and yet not fit for today – or even tomorrow’s needs. There is another way.