In late 2016, when European Communications conducted a survey of 60 Communication Service Providers, an astounding 76% of them rated inventory discovery and reconciliation functions as “critical or very important.” With the difficulty of tracking inventory rapidly increasing, whether due to the sheer scale of today’s networks or the push to virtualization, an inventory system with discovery and reconciliation functions is now critically important.
Without an accurate view of a network’s inventory, an operator may not be able to fully utilize all resources and assets. And, in an industry as volatile as telecom, every resource is crucial for success—especially when it comes to scaling the network quickly and cost-effectively.
The systems accomplish this by auditing live network data against an existing inventory system, applying a set of business rules to identify discrepancies between the two datasets, and reconciling those discrepancies by writing them back to an inventory system through its native API.
With these systems becoming more and more of a necessity, there are a variety of potential solutions available. When analyzing the landscape of available options, however, it becomes apparent that most are lacking in key areas:
Most existing solutions run on expensive appliances: If the system needs to scale out (to deal with the explosion of data mentioned above), it will be costly to do so.
The majority of available solutions rely on third-party, commercial software: This software usually requires a license fee, and is often tied to a specific vendor. If a company needs to update their solution’s software, they may only be able to do so at the whim of their vendor.
Fortunately, there are ways to combat these issues. A solution could be designed to run on commodity hardware, which removes the reliance on high-cost appliances and makes scaling the system out both easy and low-cost.
In today’s world, more and more data is being generated. According to recent research published by Domo, a data management company, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are being generated daily, and 90% of all data was created in the past two years. As a result, new tools and methodologies are continually being developed to process these vast amounts of data. These new technologies can then be integrated as part of an effective solution.
Additionally, a successful inventory reconciliation and discovery solution will make use of open source software. This eliminates third-party license fees and allows the system to maintain flexibility. By using open source software, the system could easily be updated or changed without relying on an outside vendor.
Inventory discovery and reconciliation systems are rapidly becoming an essential part of the inventory tracking process. With the scale of networks growing ever larger and virtualization becoming widely adopted, it will soon become impossible to manage network inventory without one. To best prepare for this eventuality, a system that is built to handle future workloads must be implemented.
With careful thought, a system can be and should be designed to avoid many current solutions’ shortcomings. To learn more, check out our new white paper on how to design a system to effectively meet the challenges of managing inventory in today’s world.