Deepfield – A major new force in Telco advanced network analytics

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As voice is rapidly being replaced by data as the major driving force within Telcos, the importance of network performance, its resilience and availability, become of ever more paramount importance. Whilst Marketing may feel that offers such as priority booking for concerts and similar add to the customer experience, and whilst Telcos appear to be caught up in a race to the bottom on price and customer service, I cannot help but think they are missing the point. My loyalty is won not by marketing froth and the cheapest cost for a flaky network, but by someone who can offer me at an affordable price a resilient performant network. I need bandwidth and reliability and will pay a fair price for it. No-one wants to see a pixellated movie, have a music download stop half way through, or lose a game because of network lag, no matter what the price that is so damaging it is unacceptable to the majority of the audience. It is here that the new generation of analytics can be so transformative within a Telco, and where analytics is fast spreading out from the customer warehouse and crossing into the OSS to reap the greater benefits. It is where big data is translated into big results, and it is here that Deepfield operates.

Deepfield are the latest addition to the roster of vendors attracting my attention because they focus not on capability, offered in an abstract sense, but on the delivery of real capability, addressing the use cases that need to be tackled by everyone in the real world, and where people want that capability without having to add the cost of expensive professional services onto the license fee before they get anywhere near to an actionable insight. Deepfield describe their offering as the Splunk for large networks, and those who have read my past writings will know that Splunk is a product I hold in the highest esteem.

The heritage of Deepfield stems from Arbor Networks, so you know that core to their interest will be network security and network monitoring. So the emphasis unlike many of the products I have discussed in the past is with an emphasis on OSS rather than BSS, within a Telco. They have started from where Arbor were and looked at what they would do differently if they had a blank canvas to work with. Accordingly the engine is based on an ability to scale and to operate as close to real time as possible with open APIs to make the data available to a variety of applications. That makes possible the delivery of a solution that can look at security threats, network performance, and the configuration and control of the network free from the legacy issues of the incumbent products.

As a further aid to flexibility, and to match the needs of the emerging marketplace, the product can be installed in-house (on-prem) for tier 1 operators, but for the smaller players it is offered as a cloud service as a software service offering, you send the data to the cloud and you get the results returned.

So what they have is an engine capable of ingesting data from a variety of sensors generating massive volumes of data, which can be ingested in near real time. The data is analysed and reported using very attractive readily assimilated visual dashboards and reports.

As an example of the types of insight they can readily generate they showed me an application that looked at the customers using the network to access Netflix. The results showed the full picture of who, what, where and when. Such a view would enable the network operator to understand the big picture of the true impact of these headline apps. The picture I was shown surprised me, whilst the percentage of the user base using Netflix at any point in time is relatively limited compared to the overall base, as you would expect, the picture of resource utilisation shows just how resource hungry the application is, quite staggeringly so. So a very disproportionate amount of resource is being tied up. Whilst I am sure others can arrive at this insightful analysis I have not seen it produced so readily and clearly before.

Using this core capability they have applications in the market offering Cloud Intelligence and Defender with paying customers and a sizable base being established within the Telcos of the US. It is clear that they offer a really sophisticated, cost effective solution to the problems such as denial of service attack that represents a major step forward. Deepfield are a real game changer and should be monitored by all looking at security, customer loyalty and the optimisation of the expensive network resources within a Telco.