Careers: Interviews
Manfred Reitenspiess: Renowned Expert and Director Business Development RTP 4 Continuous Services, Fujitsu Siemens Computers

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P., has an exclusive interview with the internationally respected authority, Dr. Manfred Reitenspiess.

Dr. Reitenspiess is Director Business Development of SAFE 4 Continuous Services (SAFE4CS) at Fujitsu Siemens Computers in Munich, Germany. SAFE4CS is a high-availability middle-ware to address the growing demand for carrier-grade applications and services in the telecommunications and e/m-commerce markets. In 2004, Manfred served as elected President on the Service Availability™ Forum, www.saforum.org, an industry consortium of leading communications and computing companies that are focused on creating and promoting open, standard service availability programming interface specifications for on-demand, uninterrupted communications services.

Manfred has a proven track record of more than 10 years in the telco arena acting as principal consultant for mobile business solutions and as development director for Unix-based core-telecommunications products (Service Control Point, Web Integrated Information and Communications Platforms).

Prior to this, he was a CERN, Geneva fellow and was system software architect for fault-tolerant, secure, distributed multiprocessor systems with an extended stay at Intel in Portland, Oregon and BiiN Computers in Nuernberg, Germany.

Dr. Reitenspiess gained a Ph.D from the University Erlangen-Nuernberg, Germany in 1983 with a thesis on 'Specification and implementation of security properties in software systems'. He is the elected speaker for the "Security and Safety" division of the German Computer Society (GI). Manfred contributes his world-renowned expertise in program committees and as an organizer of national and international symposia (e.g. ISAS 2004 in Munich, Germany) in the security and advanced telecommunications areas. Manfred is also co-author of patents in the area of communication and information convergence.

Due to his expertise and widely sought reputation for excellence, Manfred is in high demand worldwide as a lead presenter at conferences. (For example: Wireless Enterprise Track, 2005 Wireless & Mobile WorldExpo held in Toronto on May 18th and 19th.)

Discussion:

Q: Manfred, with your distinguished background and considerable notable accomplishments, thank you for taking the time to share your deep insights and widely regarded expertise with our audience. 

A: It is a pleasure for me to share my expertise with the CIPS audience of distinguished individuals and organizations.

Q: Your long history of innovation and career successes provides a rich background of experiences. Share the many important events throughout your life that led to your current position. What lessons did you learn? Which major challenges did you face and how did you overcome them? 

A: Throughout my career, I was very closely following security and availability related topics and application areas. At the same time, taking advantage of new technical trends was decisive for my career. Let me give you just a few examples, Stephen.

In 1985 when working at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, I got a call from Siemens asking me to work on a new joint project with Intel. The project allowed me to apply my university security and system design background in a revolutionary, extremely secure, high-availability system development. Results of this project have been brought to market in a number of implementations.

In 1993, I was asked to take over responsibility for the design and implementation of a Unix based Service Control Point, the core function in advanced Intelligent Networks which have later been used in mobile and fixed telecommunications applications worldwide. 

Last, but not least, in 2001, I represented Fujitsu Siemens Computers in the foundation of the Service Availability Forum. The SA Forum standardization is decisive for the wide introduction of availability functions in commercial off-the-shelf computing environments for the telecommunications and enterprise markets. 

It turned out that the combination of new technical trends, core competencies and personal integrity and perseverance is an extremely helpful entry for business success from a personal perspective as well as from a corporate perspective. I still would like to mention that some additional economic and business background would have been even more helpful from my personal perspective.

One of the major challenges I was facing was the long-term aspects of the security as well as the telecommunications business. This is why perseverance is so important.

Q: Describe in more detail your current areas of focus.

A: With the development of advanced, high-end telecommunications services such as Intelligent Networks, carrier-grade of these services is a must. A number of high-availability functions and corresponding interfaces have been developed by Fujitsu Siemens Computers, which have been sold under the brand name RTP4 Continuous Services for more than 5 years. With the evolutions of the SA Forum high availability specifications, I am responsible for the planning and marketing of a standards compliant implementation of these services under the brand name SAFE4 CS. A first televoting service based upon the SAFE4CS standards compliant implementation has been shown at CTIA Wireless in March 2005 in New Orleans. In this responsibility, I am also representing Fujitsu Siemens Computers on the board of the Service Availability™ Forum.

In the SA Forum, I am active in the marketing working group in different functions, with a recent focus on marketing programs such as CTIA Wireless.

Last but not least, as speaker of the security division of the German Computer Society, I am focusing on integrating a number of safety and security activities on a national and international level. An important step was the organization of the International Service Availability Symposium 2004 in Munich, where we were able to bring together academia and industry to discuss future strategies in the use of academic research and its transformation into industrially exploitable results.

Q: What growth opportunities do you forecast due to shifts to convergent telecommunications and information technologies using open, standardized system platforms? What is the value to businesses?

A: Technology convergence on network layer (IP protocol) and execution platform layer opens a wealth of growth opportunities for component and computer vendors, for ISVs, for network equipment manufacturers, for operators and, last but not least, for enterprise customers.

One key value from this paradigm shift is the change in the overall value chain and in the opening up of a number of interface layers, which can be used to create new, interchangeable products and services. The ART4 CS (Application Ready Telco Platform) from Fujitsu Siemens Computers is an excellent example for this opportunity as it brings together a number of computing standards, networking components such as Advanced TCA blades, high-availability middleware and related integration and maintenance services.

Another key value is the narrowing of the technology gap between telecommunications networks and the enterprise IT infrastructure. This will open new business and outsourcing opportunities for service operators (important to compensate for the shrinking revenue stream from voice transport). Enterprises will be able to use the evolving IT based network infrastructures (supporting the expected level of quality) of the operators to focus on their core competences.

Q: What new business options do you foresee for network operators? 

A: In addition to the outsourcing opportunities mentioned above, network operators now take more and more advantage of the convergence of media and entertainment services based on digital standards. Operating one network for all types of services and data reduces costs and creates the opportunity for new integrated services such as Push to talk, interactive games on mobile devices or the offering around music and films. 

Q: Share your views on the “service quality assurance” drivers for outsourcing vital business processes today and into the future, and the impact of “quality supporting functions” on their decisions (security, availability, scalability)?

A: In all customer inquiries of importance, (e.g. Forrester named unreliable IT systems with 16% as the most important cause for reduced B2B project productivity reduction), security, availability and scalability are indispensable for the success of new network services or for the exploitation of increased outsourcing opportunities by enterprises. Adequate processes and architectures need to be applied as a foundational prerequisite. Beyond that, the broad use of security, availability and scalability functions in the development of new applications needs to be promoted and facilitated. Standards are the adequate means to achieve this goal.

Q: Talk about the first standards based products and their interoperability on exhibition at SuperComm 2005.

A: A number of standards compliant components and products (Software and hardware) will be shown at SuperComm 2005 underlining the statements above. For example, Advanced TCA blades from different vendors will be shown in combination with SA Forum compliant middleware and services. Another example is the support of a number of platforms by high-availability middleware components. For example, already at 3GSM in February in Cannes, SAFE4 CS was shown on the Fujitsu Siemens Computers ATCA platform as well as on IBM’s BladeCenterT systems.

Q: Can you comment on your work with the Service Availability (SA) Forum to accelerate the standardization of suitable availability functions and meet the highest quality expectations of businesses? Also describe your current work on the validation of labs and on the installation of a viable business model. [Ed. note: The SA Forum standards are referenced in OSDL requirements specifications.]

A: As mentioned above, I am personally involved in the SA Forum marketing working group (MWG). The MWG is responsible to “Promote and facilitate their [the SA Forum specifications] adoption by the industry”. In particular, starting in 2004, the number of articles and presentations could be increased considerably. In 2005, promotional activities have been intensified by the participation at CTIA and SuperComm, support for ISAS 2005 in Berlin April 25/26, and plans for activities in Europe and Asia. 

Of course, the agreement with a test lab to assure the independent certification of product compliance with SA Forum standards is another important step forward for the adoption of SA Forum standards. An important aspect in my involvement is to make sure that the validation process is implemented as smooth as possible to have as many products as possible being certified at affordable costs.

Q: The SA Forum is engaged in the specifications for APIs for the hardware platform interface (HPI) and high availability (HA) services for application programmers (AIS). Plus you have your work on a standard object model for system entities and standard distributed systems management interfaces for providing common management application access. Can you go into more detail about the System Management Specification (SMS)?

A: The content of the planned systems management specification from the SA Forum consists of two major components. 

1) Distributed management for the Application Interface Specification (and Application Management Framework). This is further broken down with the SNMP management definition of the AIS and AMF specifications, the Web based common information model portion of the specification, as well as the underlying notification API and new configuration XML portions of systems management.

2) Distributed management for the Hardware Platform Interface (or HPI) specification. This again defines the SNMP management underpinnings for HPI, the extensions to the CIM model to support HPI, along with the ATCA mappings to HPI.

The SA Forum has over the course of 2004 been involved in the creation and evolution of SNMP management instrumentation. We are in the second generation of SNMP agent design, for both HPI and AIS/AMF. The HPI MIB was a collaborative effort between the OpenHPI open source effort and SA Forum. The AIS and AMF MIBs were developed by the SA Forum. As of Feb 28, 2005, the second generation of these SNMP MIBs is available to the industry at large from the SA Forum as an experimental set of MIBs to provide a preview of the management technologies, and provide an opportunity for industry input on the work as it is progressing from the SA Forum before it is formalized.

Currently the SA Forum is working with the Distributed Management Task Force to define a management model for AIS Services, the AMF, and the HPI interfaces. The DMTF technologies afford the implementers access to several open source object managers compliant with the DMTF specifications and APIs.

The realization of the DMTF technologies, WBEM (Web Based Management), provides a well realized communication model, transport encoding, integration with SNMP and DMI, a well realized event model, and pervasive industry support with the IETF, the Open Group, Storage Network Industry Association, and many more organizations.

Q: Can you share with us three case studies that illustrate your work and best practices for enterprises?

A: 1) Paper “Value generation by availability and open standards” Abstract: Technology shifts to convergent telecommunications and information technologies based on open system platforms offer network and service providers and their customers’ new growth possibilities. Most of all, the flexible, often mobile connection of employees, customers or suppliers to distributed corporate networks by highly standardized, IP-based communication networks opens up new opportunities for the optimization of business processes. Linked to this are new business options for network operators, who will be able to provide their corporate customers with suitable outsourcing offers.

However, corporate customers are only willing to outsource vital business processes if respective quality guarantees are accepted by the service provider. On the basis of open system platforms, this is only possible by usage of appropriate quality-supporting functions (security, availability, scalability). That means standardized interfaces for scalability and availability functions must be provided for. Manufacturers of communications and solution components, but also network providers have organized themselves in the Service AvailabilityÔ Forum to accelerate the standardization of suitable availability functions. Thus, network providers are now able to offer their corporate customers services and meet their high quality expectations. Furthermore, companies are able to concentrate on their core processes without compromising the quality of network-based business processes.

2)  Fujitsu Siemens Computers Solutions Facts “Advanced Televoting Service based on Application Ready Telecom Platform ART4CSTM”

Contents

  • The Business Challenges of Next Generation Network and Service Operators
  • Is Your Infrastructure Ready to Address these Challenges?
  • Are Your Suppliers Ready?
  • Fujitsu Siemens Computer’s Answer: ART4CS™
  • The Advanced Televoting Service - based on ART4CS™
  • Advanced Televoting Service - in detail

3) Fujitsu Siemens Computers Solutions Facts: «RTP on Linux»

Contents

  • Linux is Ready for Wide Deployment even in Critical Applications such as Telecoms
  • The Linux Business Case
  • Market Evolution and Requirements
  • Transition to Linux - The Do’s and Don’ts
  • Potential for Cost Savings
  • Linux and Its Use in Telecoms
  • Carrier-Grade Requirements: Some Remarks
  • Service Offerings
  • Security Considerations in Applying Linux
  • Source Access and Openness of Sources
  • Security and Confidentiality when Using Linux
  • Availability of Open Source Applications or Systems
  • Linux and RTP4 Continuous Services™
  • Full Support for Linux by Fujitsu Siemens Computers
  • Business Opportunity of Carrier-Grade Solutions Are Based on RTP and Linux
  • Linux in Production Mode Environments
  • Literature

Q: Can you describe the success factors in the telematics value chain and your views on technology, industry, and market convergence?

A: Despite a close correlation between telematics and telecommunications, the telematics value chain has developed in a different manner due to considerable differences in the value chain. A number of players such as car manufacturers, network operators, media companies, road administration and public institutions create a much more homogeneous view on the business model and on the overall business potential.

However, in many cases, the car can be seen as a mobile device such as a mobile phone or a PDA for navigation. The access to a mobile network is a necessary precondition. A number of services will be very similar (e.g. gaming, music, navigation). However, other services such as finding a parking lot downtown or allowing remote service of the car via the Internet will create value to customers.

Q: What are the key challenges for the Telecom value chain?

A: It will be extremely important for players in the telco value chain to understand the ongoing technological and business transformations and map them to their respective business models.

Proprietary technology is out, and know-how and expertise in standard IT paired with the excellent know-how of the telco operators and their customers need to be combined and applied to the development of new services and business models. This will not be without pain as we have to cope with a huge installed base using proprietary solutions.

Network and service operators need to understand the potential of convergent, IT based standard technologies in their relationship with their corporate customers. Their procurement processes need to reflect these findings.

Q: Share your views on the Asian marketplace and specific areas we should be watching. Why?

A: The Asian market will need close watching for two reasons:

1) As standard IT allows one to take advantage of large scales in manufacturing, a traditional strong-hold of Asian manufacturers.

2) The huge number of potential users in the Asian market also creates tremendous business opportunities for advanced, new services (if the local buying behaviour is well understood).

Q: Manfred, you are in an ideal position to make predictions. So make your top predictions in any areas of your choosing and provide specific time frames? What are the solutions and the value to businesses? Who are the winners and losers?

A: 1) Standardized availability interfaces will become common place in the next two years starting with applications in the telecommunications market. This will allow ISV and service implementers to sell their services independently of the underlying architecture or user environment. Network manufacturers and operators need to use those interfaces to implement the necessary cost reductions and to take advantage of the evolving software and solutions market for their business.

2) Standardized availability functions will penetrate the enterprise market (e.g. finance), thereby eliminating the needs for proprietary, expensive development of cluster technologies in a number of middleware (e.g. database systems) and application products (such as customer interaction services) within 5 years. Early adopters of these standard technologies will be able to take advantages of the changes in the value chain due to a wider market (based on standards) and reduced costs (less complexity, HA functionality available on the market).

3) Security technologies will make it to the standards based IT platform market within 5 years, thereby eliminating the need for proprietary, expensive development of crypto technologies, authentication and auditing. See 2 for details on business values and winners/losers.

4) Virtualization will create additional flexibility in the provision of computing power to advanced, standards based application suites within 5 to 10 years. The standardization of advanced platform capabilities such as availability, security or scalability will be required for this to happen. This will allow completely new business models to be developed based on the separation of the computing platforms from the applications and application environments running on them. Computer manufacturers, IT centers and ISVs need to be able to absorb such changes in their business models and development models.

5) The continuous standardization of platforms and development environments will accelerate the potential for new integrated services in the telecommunications and telematics markets (and more such as entertainment and media) within 10 to 15 years. The scalability for services will multiply the business opportunities for all players of the value chain, if they understand this model and transform their business accordingly.

Q: What are your favorite information links, tools, and other resources? Why?

A: 1) Daily and weekly newspapers still form an important part of my information sources as they are reliable and trustworthy.

2) Without my notebook, business would no longer be possible for me. The mobile phone and a PDA are supportive tools. 

3) The availability of hot-spots has become a given for my regular business interactions. This importance is expected to increase with the introduction of peer to peer or operator supported VoIP technologies.

4) Networking within Fujitsu Siemens Computers, but also with business contacts outside the company are another trustworthy source of information, back-ground, as well as latest news. This includes, of course, analyst studies from well known market and technology research companies.

Q: If you were doing this interview, what three questions would you ask and then what would be your answers?

A: Q1) What is your expectation of the speed of adoption of standard technologies (hardware architectures or software programming interfaces) in the telco area?

A1) Standards platforms and technologies will find their way to wide use and deployment within the next three years.

Q2) What are major inhibitors?

A2) Major inhibitors are existing deployments and implementations and the available know-how base. As IP networks and information technologies will become prevalent in the standards based, off-the-shelf approach, changes in expertise, development technologies and infrastructures will be required.

In addition, telco operators have not yet migrated their procurement processes to take the effects of convergence and standards based platforms into account. Standards such as SA Forum high-availability interfaces need to show up in their requirements.

Q3) What needs to be done to speed up adoption of standards based platforms?

A3) As the migration to new platforms and development environments is not without pain, the business values and cost savings must be clearly understood and proven. This requires more involvement of the decision makers with a business and cost view. Technological improvements and new developments must be accompanied by parallel business models and analysis.

Q: Manfred, thank you for taking the time to do this interview and sharing your invaluable expertise with our audience.

A: Stephen, I enjoyed the interview as it also helped me to structure and consolidate a number of ongoing evolution steps. I would see the interview as extremely worthwhile if I could get a number of decision makers in the telco and telematics value chain start to work on their future business models and priorities.

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