To best accommodate the needs of larger service providers and to be prepared for the growth of broadband communications services driven by government funding, CDG needed to rethink its data center infrastructure and migrate its OSS/BSS Platform to the AWS cloud.Solutions Cloud, Cloud Adoption & Migration, Onica by Rackspace Technology Platforms Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS)
From staffing shortages to supply chain bottlenecks, the telecommunications industry is experiencing many of the same challenges that almost all sectors of the economy face since the pandemic. But alongside these hurdles, service providers are also experiencing greater demand for innovation.
The past two years have seen increased investment in telecommunications and infrastructure in the U.S., including a $65 billion investment via the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to help bridge the digital divide by improving the nation’s broadband capabilities.
Because the majority of these federal funds ($42 billion) is earmarked for the expansion of state-level fiber optic equipment and service deployments, industry observers expect that telecom infrastructure and equipment vendors will especially benefit.
Economic realities and a faster pace of expansion are forcing vendors to review operational efficiencies. The push for innovation and efficiency is also extending out to business support systems (BSS) and operations support systems (OSS) companies that provide software solutions for service providers.
One such BSS/OSS solutions provider is Communications Data Group (CDG), based in Champaign, Illinois. Founded in 1970, CDG provides scalable, accurate billing and operational support solutions for retail and wholesale telecommunications carriers and service providers.
“We were motivated to access the advantages of AWS while focusing on our core strengths of designing and building enterprise software solutions. We also knew we would need outside experts to help us build the cloud platform we wanted to build and working with Onica by Rackspace Technology was an easy choice.”
The obstacles they faced
Among the ambitious goals on its to-do list, CDG’s technology team recognized that it first needed to move from legacy, on-premises systems to cloud technology powered by AWS.
“As we began our digital transformation journey, we relied on the deep expertise of Onica by Rackspace Technology™ to guide our move to Amazon Web Services (AWS),” said Tony Stout, Chief Technology Officer at CDG. “Our vision was to scale CDG’s BSS/OSS platform to reach new classes of service providers by leveraging the power of AWS.”
One of CDG’s core offerings, its Modularity Billing System (MBS), has a long history of providing operations management tools to Tier 3 service providers to help them deliver a wide range of telecommunications services to subscribers across the US and Canada. As an open platform, MBS makes it easy to integrate third-party accounting, mapping, payment processing and other operational tools into a single system of record. These real time integrations improve operational efficiency and data integrity.
CDG is owned by a service provider that specializes in data center operations and network connectivity so the team felt that building out this environment was something it could manage itself. However, market conditions presented other factors. With top workforce talent still in high demand, building infrastructure on-premises would mean hiring entire teams to design and configure it, and training any future employees on proprietary CDG systems.
How could CDG adapt quickly, if it were to gain a larger customer whose needs might require CDG to scale its systems by a factor of 10 or 20? In an on-premises infrastructure, it would mean adding processors and physical memory resources to handle these growing workloads. In the cloud, however, services like AWS Lambda and Amazon Aurora could help CDG automatically scale to handle workloads as needed and then back down again.
To fully prepare for future growth, CDG needed to scale beyond on-premise compute and storage solutions.
“There’s been a culture shift, and we’ve seen just how much trust our team has in our partners and how knowledgeable they really are. CDG is confident with the decision we made to select AWS for cloud and Onica by Rackspace Technology as our partner."
How we helped
CDG realized a new realm of possibilities that AWS enabled and began to view the transition to AWS – including developer tool kits and serverless – as an opportunity to modernize the company’s software platforms to better suit the serverless computing needs of larger telecom and broadband customers.
As the company began to examine its migration in greater detail, the CDG technology team realized that its on-premises solutions would not be able to handle the challenge of accommodating additional workloads without a dramatic upgrade.
“We were motivated to access the advantages of AWS while focusing on our core strengths of designing and building enterprise software solutions," said Stout. “We also recognized the need for outside experts to help us build the cloud platform we wanted to build and working with Onica by Rackspace Technology™ was an easy choice.”
With AWS and access to trusted experts at Onica, CDG developed a phased approach to identify specific areas AWS could help them scale. CDG continues transitioning to a suite of services including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, AWS Transit Gateway, Amazon Aurora Serverless and Amazon Simple Storage Service, among others.
CDG was originally set to bring on separate partners to help with the database and front-end elements of the transition. Ultimately, working with a single partner like Onica proved to be fast and hassle-free, helping CDG to reduce an 18-month project to just six. This one-stop-shop approach to working only with Onica also enabled better communications and internal exchange of information.
“The biggest benefit to CDG was accelerating the migration. Having all five data and engineering practices in our delivery group made it seamless for CDG to work with us on all phases of the digital transformation,” said Brittany Bond, account executive at Onica by Rackspace Technology.
What we achieved together
The infrastructure migration project gives CDG the ability to provide nearly limitless scalability and to serve providers of any size in North America on AWS through a single platform and common infrastructure.
The partnership also helped make for a more comfortable transition inside CDG, where team members naturally came on board with a healthy dose of skepticism about moving away from legacy systems.
“There’s been a culture shift and we’ve seen just how much trust our team has in our partners and how knowledgeable they really are,” said Stout. “CDG is confident with the decision we made to select AWS for cloud and the Onica team as our partner."
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