Case Study for OpenCloud


Company Profile

OpenCloud

OpenCloud delivers open, standards-based network transformation products to the telecommunications industry.  OpenCloud products enable the agile delivery of classic and telco2.0 telecommunication services at a dramatically lower price-point across next generation IP and legacy networks.

    The OpenCloud Next Generation Service Layer comprises:
  • RhinoTM Telecom Application Server ― Agile development and delivery of traditional and Telco 2.0 telecom services at a dramatically lower price-point
  • Service Interaction ServerTM ― Telecom Service Broking that enables the creation of personalized, tailored telecom services from existing service assets that span IP and legacy networks
  • Charging SentinelTM ― Session control for real-time convergent charging for online charging of all telecom services

OpenCloud is privately held and VC-backed.  It is headquartered in Cambridge, United Kingdom, and has offices in New Zealand, Spain, Singapore and Indonesia.

Business Situation

OpenCloud Rhino provides a graphical JAVA development environment together with a high performance runtime environment for Telecom Services.  It implements the JAIN SLEE Java standard, which is designed to meet the specific and exacting needs of an application server operating in the service layer of telecommunication networks. The network service layer has extreme transaction processing requirements in terms of latency, throughput, availability and management, commonly referred to as carrier-grade requirements.  Rhino provides an asynchronous run-time environment which allows telecommunication systems to be modeled as Finite State Machines (FSM) connecting to a number of external systems by asynchronous signaling protocols.

A major feature of the JAIN SLEE is the ability to "plug in" Resource Adaptors (RAs) that provide connectivity to other networking elements in the telecom network.  Rhino provides a large range of RAs to provide connectivity via IP and legacy SS7 communication protocols.

Technical Situation

There are many SS7 protocols – 3GPP (GSM), 3GPP2 (CDMA), ETSI, proprietary vendor-variants of standard-based protocols in addition to a significant number of national variants.  In addition of course, for each protocol there are a number of versions and specific vendor implementations.

The large number of protocols and versions means that whenever OpenCloud's customers and partners elect to implement Rhino, there are a huge number of permutations of protocol combinations.  This means that interoperability testing must be performed for each Rhino installation and the protocols adapted as necessary.

The JAIN SLEE RA architecture provides an extensible mechanism to alter and add new RAs with zero platform down-time.  However, the protocol itself still needs to be changed, tested etc.  To do this in a cost-effective and timely fashion, OpenCloud really needed to be able to change the logic of the protocols rather than utilize third-party protocols within the Rhino RAs.

Solution

SS7 protocols are thoroughly designed and formally specified in ASN.1 format.  OpenCloud wanted to develop a complete telecom protocol development and test environment. To do this, it was very important to be able to inspect the ASN.1 and exercise control over the code that is generated, in addition to the more straight-forward aspects of ASN.1 encoding/decoding. The OSS Nokalva ASN.1 Tools provided us with a much more comprehensive and complete toolset for this than is available from other sources.  In addition, OSS Nokalva were prepared to enhance their product to address a specific Java protocol performance requirement, and secondly were able to provide commercial terms to support OpenCloud's software evaluation and distribution model.

OpenCloud engineers were able to develop a semi-automated protocol implementation process which uses the OSS ASN.1/ Java Tools.  First, the ASN.1 for the protocol is "marked-up" with various annotations to instruct the tool-chain.  Next, the ASN.1 source is pre-processed, and then the OSS ASN.1 compiler / Java Tools are used to compile the source into runtime Java and to package it into a JAIN SLEE RA.  The tool-chain also automates the production of a test-harness and a complete set of test cases.  The resulting RA uses the BER encoding/ decoding components of the OSS ASN.1 Java tools.

In this way, new and variant protocols can be implemented and tested quickly ready for testing against the live telecom equipment.

Benefits

SS7 protocols are still widely used in telecom networks and carry a huge amount of revenue-generating traffic.  Proprietary vendor-variants of these protocols are very common; formerly, this severely constrained what operators can do in terms of introducing new services and charging mechanisms into their network. Open standards and "designed for customization" RAs has changed this and operators are now back in charge of their services roadmap.  A Rhino TAS-based Service Delivery Platform delivers service agility and high performance on modern commercial-off-the-shelf hardware at a fraction of the price of traditional IN platforms.

Products and Services OpenCloud Used

  • OSS ASN.1/Java Tools

Services Provided

OSS Nokalva has provided software maintenance of their products and support to OpenCloud.

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