TM Forum Catalyst: Building a Dynamic Architecture with DGIT Systems, Vodafone, Cisco, & Deloitte to Deliver MEC over 5G

August 12, 2021 | Morgan Stern
TM Forum Catalyst: Building a Dynamic Architecture with DGIT Systems, Vodafone, Cisco, & Deloitte to Deliver MEC over 5G

At Itential, one thing we’re always focused on is ensuring that we’re not only talking about and participating in innovative ideas and projects, but actually making them a reality for customers. That’s why we’re excited to participate in our first ever TM Forum Catalyst Project, “Dynamic Edge Enabled Applications” that will be showcased at the TM Forum Digital Transformation World Series taking place digitally from September 22 – October 14, 2021. The project is comprised of an ecosystem of great vendors and partners including DGIT Systems, Cisco, Deloitte, and Vodafone, all focused on re-imagining and proving an automated, dynamic architecture for end-to-end service activation.

If you’re unfamiliar with TMF Catalyst projects, they are rapid-fire proof-of-concept projects to create innovative solutions to common challenges, leveraging key TM Forum best practices and standardization principles. To put it simply: It’s about making technology solutions a reality.


Building a Dynamic Architecture to Enhance Customer Experiences

So what are working toward making a reality? Our catalyst project takes a fundamentally different approach to digitizing the customer service order-to-activation journey through the adoption of dynamic architectural principles throughout the fulfillment stack – from Self Management Portal to real-time Network Control. TMF API’s are leveraged throughout the stack to seamlessly harmonize application interactions and we are employing dynamic network automation capabilities to federate and expose network service capabilities through a unified Network API. To further showcase how all of this is realizable using technology that is available today from the likes of Itential, DGIT, and Cisco, we are building this for the 5G with multi-access edge computing (MEC) use case, based on a complex, composite service involving multiple, multi-technology, and vendor domains; on-net/off-net, underlay MEF services, overlay SD-WAN, and a full multi-access edge compute stack based on Azure, Kubernetes, with example IoT apps.

In order to help CSPs deliver innovative MEC applications over 5G, our Catalyst uses SD-WAN to simulate network slicing and offers a service catalog to enable dynamic provisioning of complex, composite services spanning all network domains, edge compute and partner-provided applications. This alternative approach allows the network slice to extend across fixed networks, legacy networks as well as off-net partner networks and is therefore easier for the CSP to monetize.

“Dynamic Architecture is all about how fast you can change and in turn out-position competition” – Lester Thomas, Vodafone

There are many interrelated service components, such as the off-net service ordering, overlay and underlay networking components, edge compute and edge applications from partners. A product and service catalog based on TM Forum Frameworx architecture is used to manage these components, and TMF API used throughout to seamlessly align the multi-vendor application stack – making the solution modular, scalable and commercially viable. The project also utilizes a major IT cloud platform to provide the edge compute in a developer friendly way to enable edge applications and TMF Open APIs for zero touch partnering to operationally integrate with application and network reach partners.


Itential’s Integration Capabilities Enable the Dynamic Customer Experience

In order to make this innovative project successful, Itential is a key enabler for dynamic customer experience. The Itential Automation Platform is being leveraged to deliver a Network API due to our robust and easy to use integration capabilities, providing the highest level of flexibility to integrate with any system and readily define complex service-chaining using simple component-based building blocks. Our platform allows users to integrate both through TMF API specifications as well any other type of APIs required.

We look forward to sharing more as our Catalyst progresses. Join us in our journey as we continue to work together with this great list of vendors to build a truly dynamic architecture and stay tuned for more details on the exciting developments of the innovative architecture build.


Morgan Stern

Vice President, Automation Strategy ‐ Itential

Morgan Stern serves as the Vice President of Automation Strategy for Itential, where he is responsible for assisting Itential’s global customers in developing, implementing and deriving value from their automation strategies using the Itential Automation Platform. For the majority of his career, Morgan has focused on assisting large enterprise and service provider organizations in maximizing the business impact of new technologies as an architect, consultant, author, and industry speaker.

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