Bringing the Industry Together: 3 Takeaways from OpenStack Summit

    Posted by Matt Mariani on May 11, 2016 9:41:30 AM

    OpenStack recently held its third annual OpenStack Summit providing developers and users of the software a truly unique opportunity to meet and exchange ideas on a grand scale. IT leaders, telco operators, cloud administrators, app developers, and OpenStack contributors gathered in Austin, Texas, April 25th to 29th, to learn what people and businesses are doing with the technology. Hands-on workshops were also held in the OpenStack Marketplace, where companies, like CENX partners Cloudify, CPLANE Networks, and Ericsson, had the opportunity to market their cloud strategy and showcase how they are utilizing OpenStack.


    As a company who has established interoperability with OpenStack, we sent two senior developers to the summit to gain insight into the hot topics currently making headlines within the community. Based on the sights and sounds of the five-day event, here are the three big takeaways that caught our attention at this year’s OpenStack Summit.

    What does OPNFV mean for NFV technology?

    Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) are revolutionizing network operations, as these systems provide the necessary programmable and elastic infrastructure that service providers need to meet customers’ growing demands. At this year’s summit, we noticed OPNFV—a carrier-grade, integrated, open source platform which accelerates the introduction of new NFV products and services—being discussed often. The goal of OPNFV is to establish an ecosystem for NFV solutions based on open standards and software to meet the needs of customers.

    This development, which aims to help NFV seamlessly integrate into existing network operations, presents significant opportunities for us as a vendor of orchestrated service assurance solutions. Exanova Service Intelligence’s ability to provide end-to-end, cost-effective NFV service assurance across multiple vendors, NFVOs, VIMs (such as OpenStack), VNFMs, and VNFs in the core, provider edge, and customer edge is a necessity for service providers as NFV technology becomes more established.

    OpenStack is more stable, now what?

    According to OpenStack’s User Survey, over half of respondents are “interested in utilizing containers in addition to OpenStack clouds for production uses”, so it’s no surprise that exploring the opportunities of containerization was a trending topic. Now that OpenStack has achieved a more stable state, it has paired with Docker to offer more complete cloud services and to better enable microservices. Containerization in OpenStack offers two significant benefits to CENX customers:

    1. Application containers require less storage and computing requirements than virtual machines, allowing for more dynamic services.
    2. Containers can run on any hardware running the relevant operating system, making them portable.

    Therefore, service providers deploying OpenStack are able to run hundreds of application containers on a single server, allowing them to reduce cost and make better use of resources. However, with servers able to run significantly more applications, network operations become more complex. CENX provides service provider operations personnel the ability to visualize and monitor service performance in real-time, assuring service quality and agility.


    What’s the future of OpenStack?

    One of the defining features of OpenStack is that its software brings the industry together. The technology is built by a thriving community and, therefore, relies on the collaboration of users. From our time spent at the show, the general feeling is that, in order for OpenStack to establish something carrier-grade, service providers have to continue to work and develop within the community. Due to the increasing rate of demand, it wouldn't be possible for a service provider to keep pace with the development required to meet the needs of end-users on its own.

    Currently, a prominent Tier 1 service provider is a major contributor to OpenStack, helping the project to roll out new functionality quickly and improving their time-to-market. While OpenStack technology remains a work in progress, from what we have seen during our time at the summit, there are a growing number of companies contributing to the development of the technology to help move the telecom industry into the future.

    Topics: OpenStack

    Shining the Light on Orchestrated Service Assurance

    Posted by Matt Mariani on Apr 25, 2016 9:45:29 AM

    Light Reading, the market-leading online news source to the global telecom industry, released the list of finalists for their 2016 Leading Lights Awards. Of the record 300+ submissions, we’re proud to announce that CENX’s Exanova Service Intelligence has been shortlisted for the Leading Lights Award for Most Innovative NFV Product Strategy (Vendor).


    What’s our industry-leading NFV strategy? It’s to provide service providers with end-to-end orchestrated service assurance and management for their networks with our Exanova Service Intelligence software. However, that’s not as simple as it sounds. Such a strategy is in great demand since Exanova solves the complex challenges service providers face when integrating a disruptive technology such as NFV into their day-to-day network operations.

    With Exanova, service providers can rapidly deploy and assure differentiated, revenue-generating services over hybrid physical and NFV infrastructure, allowing them to deliver the high quality of experience their customers expect, and leveraging their existing network investment. Now that’s an innovative proposition! No need to swivel chair between multiple legacy OSS and new MANO systems – Exanova continuously collects data from various sources, across physical and hybrid networks, correlating the data, and analyzing KPIs, to deliver actionable intelligence to the operator user through an easy-to-use graphical interface or automated workflow.

    Of note, the value of Exanova Service Intelligence was also cited by globally-regarded analyst firm, Analysys Mason, in its recent profile of CENX: “[Exanova’s] real-time data and predictive analytics capabilities are critical for automated orchestration of dynamic NFV/SDN networks.”

    The winners of the Leading Lights Awards will be announced on May 23rd, in Austin, Texas, the evening before the Big Communications Event kicks off. See you there!

    Topics: Leading Lights Award

    Wrap Up of CENX's Time at MWC 2016

    Posted by Matt Mariani on Mar 3, 2016 11:39:00 AM

    This year’s edition of Mobile World Congress (MWC) was as energetic and exciting as ever. Over the course of four days, the event saw a record breaking 101,000 attendees and more than 2,200 exhibitors descended onto the “Mobile World Capital”, Barcelona, Spain, to take part in the industry’s largest event. Once again, CENX had the opportunity of joining telecommunications vendors and service providers in the unparalleled experience of showcasing new and innovative technology to the world.

    At CENX, we believe our Exanova Service Intelligence software truly fosters MWC 2016’s mantra of “mobile is everything”, by assuring the quality of mobile data services! Our mission going into the event was simple: to show the industry we are trailblazers in delivering service providers with end-to-end data service assurance over existing physical and emerging virtualized hybrid networks. Those who stopped by our booth during the show got the chance to see a live demonstration of how CENX’s Exanova Service Intelligence’s real-time troubleshooting makes the difficult tasks of aggregating network data, collecting alarms, analyzing them, and presenting them in a easy-to-understand format, an easy automated process.

    CENX also had the privilege of collaborating with other industry leaders at MWC 2016. Prior to the event, we announced successful interoperability with Ixia, Mitel and VMware for our demonstration of comprehensive real-time assurance of mobile data services for virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC). We showcased that demo at VMware’s NFV Pavilion. Furthermore, our own Director of Business Development, Paul McCluskey, was invited to take part in the “Managing Operational Transformation for NFV” panel at VMware’s Theatre. CENX co-founder, Nan Chen, participated in NetScout System’s video taping discussing how virtualization helps enable IoT services, alongside Guillaume Le Mener, Business Development Director at NetScout. Nan also sat down with Cisco CTO, Dave Ward, and Ericsson VP of Technology, Mats Karlsson, at the tail-f panel “Model-driven Technology Vision”, where he elaborated on MEF’s move towards NETCONF and YANG for information modelling.

    In addition to the CENX representatives, there were a few A-list celebrities who also generated buzz by making an appearance at MWC. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, attended a panel discussion where he highlighted his company’s desire to continue to venture into the mobile industry, and Mercedes’ Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton was on stage promoting the new concept for a “connected” car. It is clear by such presentations that the market for reliable Internet of Things (IoT), dynamically scalable connectivity, and cloud services is increasing. As a result, there is a driving demand for service providers to expand differentiated service offerings, and leverage the agility, elasticity and cost-efficiency of NFV infrastructure (NFVI). 5G is still a ways in the future, but IoT is already placing demands on networks today. Our Exanova Service Intelligence solution, as seen in our demo, can certainly help service providers meet those market demands by providing rapid service assurance across hybrid networks.



    Topics: Mobile World Congress

    Bring Life to Your Network Operations with Real-Time Orchestrated Service Assurance

    Posted by Matt Mariani on Feb 9, 2016 10:02:37 AM

    Picture a world where various aspects of your life can be effortlessly attended to through a single device. Take the Fitbit technology for example. In the future, a Fitbit may be able to send health data to the wearer’s personal trainer who will analyze it and devise a customized workout. The wearer receives the new workout and it is automatically downloaded to a treadmill when they next visit the gym. In the meantime, their nutritionist plans a suitable post-workout meal. The Fitbit wearer’s fridge identifies if any of the ingredients from the meal are missing, and orders them from the online retailer in time from the wearer’s return from the gym.

    The evolution of services, where billions of things are going to be connected, over networks that will be largely virtualized, is a powerful combination. As a result, this will have significant implications for the way in which digital services are created, delivered, and the way they need to be assured.

    Service Assurance Today

    In order to get a better grasp of where we are headed, we first must have an understanding of where we are today. In particular, looking at how services are currently assured. It is often the case that every operator has multiple network domains, which are specific areas of the network made up of thousands of network elements. Now, in order to manage a network domain, there must be an inventory system in place. These systems are typically manually populated which results in huge data integrity issues. Despite this untrustworthy data, that system is the heart and soul of the association between the resources in the network and the services provided by that network domain.

    These network domains are instrumented so that, in the event of a failure of one of those resources, an alarm will get raised. The biggest issue associated with the fault systems typically in place is that a network domain could be sending hundreds of alarms a day. Therefore, people are relied upon to look at the output of these alarms and take the raw alarm prioritization and decide what to work on first, and what to fix, as problems occur. In the end, you end up with a team of detectives for each aspect of the network, trying to dig through information in order to try to understand what is going on. 

    NFV Stage 1: Virtualization of Existing Network Elements

    Now what happens when Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) comes along? The first stage of NFV would be categorized as the virtualization of existing network elements. The impact of this stage on service assurance is three-fold. The first is that ultimately the virtualization layers of the underlying NFV infrastructure (NFVI) need to be managed. The second is that these virtual network functions cannot be managed in the same fashion as existing physical networks, since they have different attributes that cannot be handled by existing OSS. Thirdly, and most importantly, there is going to be a mix of existing physical network elements as well as virtual network functions. As a result, there is going to be a substantial increase in complexity and potential failure modes you somehow need to address.

    So what can be done regarding OSS strategies to address this stage one of NFV? Firstly, you need to add new systems to manage the new virtualized network elements. Existing OSSs cannot be used to manage these new network functions due to the fact that significant gaps exist. There is substantially more complexity here, for example, CPU utilization down in the compute infrastructure can cause issues, delay, and delay variation of VoLTE calls. However, this still requires significant investment and does not even provide the agility, which is the main rationale for introducing NFV in the first place.

    NFV Stage 2: Micro-Services

    The second stage of NFV occurs when micro-services start being deployed. Currently there are, for example, shared firewalls, or shared DNS across multiple customers. However, what happens in micro-services is that each customer will instantiate their own VNF for their own firewall, or DNS. In this world, with the separate VNFs per customer service, versus shared multi tenant VNFs, there is going to be a migration to container-based virtualization. Additionally, the network typology becomes extremely dynamic. The virtualization layers must be fully automated and assured, as one could simply not manage all this manually. In addition, the dynamic topology fundamentally breaks the existing OSS paradigm.

    Screen_Shot_2016-02-09_at_9.44.24_AM.pngEven if service providers manage to deliver the first stage of NFV without large OSS overhaul, the emergence of micro-services is going to force change because it fundamentally breaks the existing OSS paradigm. How are you going to automate that level of scale? How are you going to inform the fault and performance OSS of the entities as they dynamically appear and disappear? How are you going to sectionalize issues as the service path changes? The topology of the network will be continually undergoing change as customers add and create services dynamically. This is what is driving the need for a fundamental OSS re-architecture.

    Today, CENX is able to assist service providers with solutions for real-time orchestrated service assurance. Exanova Service Intelligence allows for the collection of all of this real-time data, and facilitates in populating the service information model dynamically. This addresses the challenges of the new network. Essentially, Exanova is helping to deliver service agility, quality services, and reduce opex for service providers around the world.

    Topics: Software-Defined Networking

    What do Google Maps and Lifecycle Services Orchestration (LSO) have in common?

    Posted by Andre Bouzout on Dec 3, 2015 4:11:20 PM

    Imagine the last road trip you took: how did you navigate to your destination? Now, think back to a road trip you may have taken ten or twenty years ago; what tools did you use to navigate then? How do the two trips compare?

    In the past travellers would evaluate multiple sources of data. This would result in inconsistent and inaccurate directions. For example a detour may result in confusion or a collision could add hours to the commute.

    Today, navigation systems have connected and populated maps, presenting the traveller with a single and accurate view of their trip from its start to end. A prime example of this is Google Maps.

    Evolving networks

    Travellers are clearly aware of how navigation has evolved in recent years. However, it’s not the only industry undergoing change – evolution is happening within data networks too. With advances in Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) technologies, changes to network services operations and management are increasingly essential.

    Similar to travelling in the past, today’s physical network has a multitude of systems and sources of data to analyze. This leaves service providers asking questions, such as, “Which regions are performing best?” and “How can I hold my access vendors accountable?”

    Solutions like Google Maps gather and process large quantities of data to provide the end-user with a comprehensive representation of real-time information, so why wouldn’t it be possible to represent real-time data across data networks?

    Just as physical maps will not disappear for the foreseeable future, neither will physical network elements in service provider networks. Therefore, to maintain flexibility in service operations across both physical and virtual networks, a new approach is needed.

    Introducing LSO

    Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) is this next-generation operations approach. LSO supports agile definition, fulfillment and assurance of end-to-end services across a hybrid physical and virtual network infrastructure.

    This image is a graphic representation of the similarities between Google Maps five-step internal process and the service assurance process used by CENX for a mobile network.


    Google Maps assists travellers from the start until the end of their journey by offering actionable insight on a single screen. LSO assists operators in a similar manner, orchestrating services end-to-end and providing operators a single panel view to navigate their networks intuitively and comprehensively.

    LSO hides the complexity of networks allowing for enhanced flexibility and agility, just like Google Maps helps travellers make sense of multiple sources of data in a simple, easy-to-use interface.

    Lastly, both real-time mapping software and LSO market segments are experiencing massive worldwide demand. For example, Google Maps was listed as one most popular smartphone apps worldwide in 2013 while the global LSO market is expected to be $3 billion by 2019.

    To learn more about LSO for service assurance across data networks. 

    View CENX CTO Chris Purdy’s presentation during SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2015


    Topics: Software-Defined Networking, Network Functions Virtualization, LSO

    Are your operations keeping up to your network?

    Posted by Erica Watts on Jul 20, 2015 3:29:03 PM

    Your data network is lightning fast, but are your operations keeping up?

    Today's mobile, wireline, and cloud data center service providers are adopting the latest state-of-the-art Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) technologies to modernize network infrastructure and bring reliable, high-speed data communications to their customers. But NFV is just the beginning of the network transformation. Network operations need to be synchronized across the entire infrastructure to deliver diversified enterprise and consumer services. That requires Lifecycle Service Orchestration.

    Customers value the network based on what it does for them. Service agility is important. Service quality is essential. Whether the network is composed of physical or virtualized network function infrastructure – or a mix of both – the customer only sees end-to-end service quality.

    CENX’s Cortx Service Orchestrator is the cornerstone next-generation operations tool that enables operators to rapidly fulfill and assure services across multi-vendor and multi-technology networks. Cortx provides the essential single pane-of-glass that allows operators to navigate their networks: quickly, intuitively and comprehensively. Powered by dynamic network analytics, Cortx turns complex network data into actionable automated intelligence.

    Are you going virtual with NFV? Get real with LSO. 

    Real agility. Real quality. Real savings.


    Topics: Service Orchestration, Software-Defined Networking, Network Functions Virtualization

    CENX's Cortx Service Orchestrator in Asia-Pacific

    Posted by Erica Watts on May 26, 2015 9:49:15 AM

    CENX is a new-generation software vendor that is revolutionizing the way that service providers build and mange their advaced data services by fusing big data analytics, leading-edge computing technologies, and IP networking expertise.

    The Cortx Service Orchestrator automates the entire lifecycle of data connectivity services in modern software-controlled telecommunications networks.

    See how Cortx is helping our team in Hong Kong delivery service agility, quality services and reduced operational costs to services providers in asia-pacific.  


    If you'd like to discuss Cortx with our team in Asia-Pacific, email and we'd be happy to discuss your requirements. 

    3 Questions Every Telco Cloud Professional is Asking

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Apr 30, 2015 9:40:45 AM


    Discussions at this year’s Annual Telco Cloud Forum demonstrated distinct trends amongst telecommunication professionals.

    The following questions were common during the debates, workshops, and panels:

    “How can we monetize what the cloud can offer enterprises?”

    The cloud data center market is not only highly competitive, it’s highly unforgiving. To be a leader, the market demands predictable and guaranteed high-performance interconnections 24/7/365. It also involves facilitating and streamlining the ordering and deployment of cloud services from a provider.

    In order to expand service offerings and deliver compelling competitive-differentiating value to end customers, while maintaining the quality connectivity assurance today’s data center customers demand, service providers need a solution to establish interconnectivity between cloud data center operators, process customer orders, monitor services and assure connection quality, and manage adds, changes, and disconnects.

    “How can we make sense of the vast volumes of data that we are now presented with?” 

    The answer to this question involves some of the biggest buzz words from the past few years “big data analytics”. Thankfully, these buzz words are now a reality and by combining distributed virtualized computing with big data analytics, service providers are able to:

    • Create logical connections between cloud data centers cages, i.e. the "cloud exchange"
    • Automate ordering, billing, and provisioning through a customer-facing, self-service portal
    • Integrate Service OAM and customer SLA reports to measure service performance and real-time service state
    • Rapidly extend inter-carrier SLA connectivity to branch offices

     “How can we manage our growing and complex networks?”

    Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) is becoming a big topic in the telecommunications world. Service visualization modules provide actionable insight around network management and assurance operations across all segments of the network.

    To learn more about CENX’s innovative Lifecycle Service Orchestration solutions, read the complimentary white paper: Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks.

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    Topics: Events, Cloud

    Top 4 Business Trends at Cloud Innovation Summit

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Apr 27, 2015 3:30:00 PM


    Last week in San Francisco, NetEvents held their Global Cloud Innovation Summit. This year’s event featured the new Clouded Leopard’s Den award; a competition that recognizes top innovative cloud computing start-ups.

    5-Cloud-Innovation-Awards-Finalists-938253-editedFinalists for the event were chosen a week prior to the event and they were split into two categories. The early-stage innovator finalists were Taplink, Truedash, and Innovate Create Ltd. The later-stage, pre-IPO finalists, were Mirantis, Viptela, and CENX.

    For the final stage in the Clouded Leopards Den competition, finalists presented “Shark Tank” or “Dragon’s Den”-style elevator pitches to the judges on the merits of their start-up.  Representing CENX at the competition was Nan Chen, Co-Founder and Executive Vice-Chairman.

    In addition to the premiere of the Clouded Leopard’s Den award, this year’s Global Cloud Innovation Summit provided organizations with a lot of valuable information on business trends and the future of cloud. Here are a few key points from the event:

    1. The #1 issue for the public cloud is security

    Standards bodies are recognizing that they need to move faster to set guidelines and provisions to ensure assured services. The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is working to define Software-Defined Networking (SDN) standards and they are now trying to use the Dev/Ops agile method for standards. A trend that is emerging recently is collaboration between standards bodies. For example, the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) and TM Forum are collaborating on a model to accelerate delivery of on-demand, cloud-centric connectivity services.

    2. Organization process is the biggest barrier to cloud migration

    When it comes to cloud migration, the biggest barrier is actually the organization process. There were lots of references to Lifecycle Service Orchestration being required at different layers (e.g. MANO) to help with the transition.

    3. Private to hybrid private/public cloud

    Enterprises are moving from solely private cloud approaches to hybrid private/public cloud approaches.

    4. CIO and CTO are merging

    The roles of CIO and CTO are merging as network infrastructures are evolving and next-generation SDN and NFV solutions are gaining popularity. 


    To learn more about CENX’s innovative cloud solutions, explore our cloud exchange service orchestration use case.

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    Topics: Industry Awards, Cloud

    CENX Named as Finalist for Cloud Innovation Award

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Apr 17, 2015 11:36:00 AM


    In early 2015, nominations opened for the Clouded Leopards Den competition, which recognizes top innovative startups that are early-stage innovators or later-stage, pre-IPO companies.

    A shortlist was chosen by a group of media and analyst judges and the finalists for the Clouded Leopards Den 2015 were chosen by a panel of five top venture capitalists, technology innovators and industry luminaries. This panel was chaired by “Top Cat” Dr. Bob Metcalfe, Ethernet inventor and Professor of Innovation and Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise at The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering.

    Today, CENX is proud to announce that it has been named as a finalist for this cloud innovation award and is recognized as top innovative startup in the later-stage, pre-IPO company category. The other later-stage finalists are Mirantis and Viptela.

    Metcalfe_Bob_011-3Dr. Metcalfe said, “The finalists for the Clouded Leopards Den are inventing new technologies, products and services. These companies are leveraging communications technologies to make a positive change. I offer CENX my congratulations and wish them good luck in the next phase of the competition.”

    The final stage in the Clouded Leopards Den competition will occur at the NetEvents Global Cloud Innovation Summit which will be held at the Corinthian Yacht Club, Tiburon, San Francisco on April 23. The finalists will present “Shark Tank” or “Dragon’s Den”-style elevator pitches to the judges on the merits of their startup, and one winner will be chosen from each category at the Global Summit.

    Rounding out the judging panel are Jim Lussier, Managing Director and Head of Dell Venures; Janice Roberts, Partner in Benhamou Global Ventures; Dan Scheinman, an angel investor in high-growth emerging tech companies; and Murli Thirumale, Co-Founder and CTO of Portworx Inc.

    Jim_LussierJim Lussier of Dell Ventures said, “We see enormous market opportunity in the cloud. The finalists for the Clouded Leopards Den 2015 demonstrate creativity, talent, vision and potential for tremendous growth. Early-stage and larger-stage startups like CENX are to be commended for their hard work and success. As entrepreneurs, they are the future.”

    The Clouded Leopards Den 2015 prize is sponsored by OpenCloud Connect (OCC), a global industry alliance founded in May 2013 to address the need for scaling and enhancing Ethernet technology to meet the stringent demands of delivering cloud services.

    Previously known as the Cloud Ethernet Forum, the OCC is creating an open test and iterative standards development program for service providers, industry vendors and over-the-top cloud service providers and includes a dedicated proof of concept test laboratory based in Silicon Valley, to provide ongoing testing and support for the iterative development of OCC’s CloudE 1.0 open cloud framework.

    The name “Clouded Leopard’s Den” is inspired by the elegant but threatened Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), a rare and beautiful big cat barely surviving in the Himalayan foothills. US$10 for each nomination will be donated to the Clouded Leopard Project, which works to save these endangered animals.

    Follow the Clouded Leopards Den on Twitter @CloudLeopardDen.

    To learn about CENX’s innovative approach to lifecycle service orchestration, download CENX and Heavy Reading’s white paper, “NFV’s Biggest Barriers: Overcoming the Operations Challenge".

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    Topics: Industry Awards, Cloud