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Beyond HA: The Middleware Factor in Rapid Services Deployment in Next-Generation Networks
As the migration to "all-IP" next-generation networks continues, this trend has fundamentally transformed the Service Provider (SP) landscape, presenting numerous opportunities to offer exciting new services. But with intense competition from all sides, and from new players, this has also brought challenges in agility, network operational efficiency and lifecycle management, while struggling to maintain the profitability and reliability that the SPs had achieved with legacy networks. The Network Equipment Providers (NEP), who supply the communications infrastructure gear for these networks, are being asked to help rectify the situation by delivering their products to market more quickly and cost effectively, while also taking on more responsibility for the operational success and efficiency of the network.
This dynamic has caused NEPs to re-evaluate their focus in the telecommunications supply chain, evolving from their historic role of "equipment manufacturer" to a more progressive "solutions provider." The NEPs have been streamlining and focusing on the applications and services that they can truly differentiate themselves on and have led an industry-wide movement to standardize and commercialize major components of their equipment's platform infrastructure, beginning with the Hardware and Operating System. The next phase looks towards the crucial middleware layer where the new applications and services must (ideally) seamlessly overlay onto often heterogeneous, distributed hardware platforms.