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    3 Operational Challenges that Drive Operators Crazy

    Posted by Matt Mariani on Nov 30, 2016 9:26:45 AM

    In the digital age, both people and businesses have become dependent on reliable voice and data services in order to keep them connected to the world. As a result, it has never been more important for a service provider to maintain high quality network performance.

    iStock_000033599554_XXXLarge.jpgHowever, as data services continue to explode and network operations centers (NOC) become inundated with more and more information, operational complexities become a concern. Some of the issues impacting network operations are:

    • Inventory inaccuracy
    • Inability to resolve network faults quickly
    • Lengthy circuit turn-up time
    • Unreliable performance of high value services and applications, such as video streaming and VoIP

     It is through pulling back the curtain on some of these challenges, that we can begin to remedy the situation.

    1. So much data, so little time

    One of the biggest challenges for people working in the NOC is having to sift through the mind-numbing amount of data when an inevitable fault appears in the network. Operators, who often have dozens of windows in front of them, must correlate alarms from several systems in order to pinpoint the root cause, all while working within a limited timeframe.

    This daunting task of attempting to untangle what can feel like a web of analytics, can take minutes, to hours, to even sometimes days. Also, in order to be successful at their job, network operators must have the network and its intricacies memorized to be able to locate, diagnose, and fix a problem when one arises.

    1. Action without vision gets you nowhere

    Another issue faced by network operators has been the inability to visualize the end-to-end network. The development of next-gen services, such IoT, have driven data traffic through the roof and has caused networks to expand in size and complexity.

    In order to quickly diagnose a problem and avoid costly downtime, operators must have the capability to establish a comprehensive view of service topology and underlying physical and virtual network infrastructure across the network.

    Consider, for example, you are a driver assigned to bring a shipment to an unfamiliar location. In order to ensure the delivery makes it to the designated location on time the best tool to use would be a GPS, which highlights the best route to take. The same mentality can be applied to network operations. It is important to develop a trusted model of the network to correlate quickly and drill down into the network.  

    1. Develop and maintain the capacity to meet demand

    As the rate of data consumption continues to increase amongst customers, network capacity must increase in parallel to keep up with demand. With this being the case, network capacity planning has become an essential aspect of operations as it ensures services are delivered to customers efficiently and effectively.

    growth_graphic-1.jpgTypically, service providers have taken a just-in-case approach to capacity management, where network traffic is analyzed and once a utilization target is met, an upgrade is made to the area of the network which has reached its capacity limit.

    Through this approach, networks are over engineered in order to satisfy customer needs based on long-term forecasts. This quickly becomes inefficient as the upgrades are carried out based on “what ifs”, and often when the specific segment of the network is already near capacity, instead of thoroughly understanding network usage and better targeting capacity upgrades.

    So, is all this complexity regarding network operations giving you a headache? CENX has the prescription for you and your team!

    CENX’s Exanova solution transforms network big data into real-time actionable intelligence helping multi-vendor and multi-domain networks to run like a well oiled machine. Learn more about Exanova’s ability to help address the challenges above in our service assurance white paper.

    Download the White Paper

    Topics: Analytics, Capacity Management, Service Assurance, Fault Management

    CENX Continues on its Fast Track to Success

    Posted by Matt Mariani on Nov 21, 2016 11:34:44 AM

    deloitte-technology-fast-500-1.pngMany start-up companies and entrepreneurs are undertaking new initiatives to develop a product or service that changes how the world sees and does things.

    Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 recognizes companies on this journey, as the annual rankings aim to spotlight next generation market leaders who are driving innovation and pushing the boundaries in their industry.

    Last week, for a second consecutive year, CENX had the outstanding honour of being named as one of those companies on the fast track to success.

    What’s the secret to CENX’s success?

    CENX’s revolutionary approach to helping service providers manage and assure their network operations has made us one of the fastest growing technology companies in North America.

    Today’s network operations have become dramatically more complex due to disruptive virtual infrastructure. CENX’s Exanova solution allows service providers to usher in next-gen services by providing end-to-end orchestrated service assurance across multi-domain and multi-vendor networks. To help reduce operational cost and complexity, our solution offers three key capabilities:

    1. Establish a trusted view of network topology and its services with Service Visualization
    2. Ensure network inventory accuracy with Continuous Data Audit
    3. Build out network infrastructure efficiently with Capacity Planning

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    Selection for Deloitte’s Fast 500 is based on a company’s percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2012 to 2015. During that time period, CENX achieved a revenue growth of 487 percent, good enough to have us place in the top half of the list at 174th overall.

    The strides we’ve taken in 2016

    Over the course of the past year, some business ventures which have contributed to CENX’s growth have been the win of a Tier 1 EMEA service provider contract and our continued work with prominent Tier 1 service providers around the world.

    Back in May, CENX was able to expand its global footprint  when we were awarded the opportunity to orchestrate and assure on-demand cloud and data center services for a European service provider. Additionally, CENX’s proven capabilities to help global mobile, wireline, and cloud service providers provide higher-quality service has been instrumental to our continued success.

    At CENX, we understand that in order to maintain our position as a revolutionary company, we must continue to drive development and progress forward. In 2017, we look to build upon our company’s successes, and once again be named to Deloitte’s Fast 500 list.

    Learn how service assurance is the key enabler for NFV

    Download the White Paper

    Topics: Industry Awards

    MEF16: The Inside Scoop

    Posted by Matt Mariani on Nov 18, 2016 1:55:02 PM

    At last week’s MEF16 event, which took place from November 7-10 in Baltimore, the industry gathered to discuss emerging themes in today's hyper-connected world. However, this year’s edition of the annual global networking event comes at an interesting time as service providers are making big decisions on how to manage their networks going forward.

    MEF16_Graphicv2-3.jpg

    As you are probably well aware, communication networks are currently undergoing a dramatic transformation as a result of customers’ increasing demand for data services. In order to accommodate this soaring need, service providers are beginning to integrate SDN and NFV infrastructure into their existing networks to deliver self-service, cloud-connect, and on-demand services.

    Although this next-gen virtual infrastructure promises unparalleled service agility and elasticity, a way of monitoring, analyzing, and managing these services efficiently over multi-domain and multi-vendor networks needs to be established in order to realize its full benefits.

    With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that the discourse of the MEF16 primarily focused around Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) and furthering the development of MEF’s “Third Network” vision, which is based on “network-as-a-service principles, and enables agile networks to deliver assured connectivity services orchestrated across network domains between physical and virtual service endpoints.”

    For CENX, the four-day conference, which was attended by over 1,000 telco professionals, provided us with the opportunity to meet with analysts, service providers, and other vendors to exchange ideas and keep an ear to the ground on key trends within the industry.

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    A recurring topic that emerges when speaking with analysts as of late has been closed-loop automation. Traditionally, fulfillment and assurance have been two independent processes. However, in order for virtualization to be successful, these processes need to merge to be able to create new services, modify them, and optimize utilization resources. Essentially, assurance capabilities, which monitor performance data, become the backbone upon which fulfillment is able to be carried out. This kind of automation is exactly where services providers can potentially reap the benefits of NFV/SDN and aligns perfectly with the LSO vision.

    Additionally, as witnessed during the various presentations throughout the event, numerous service providers have expressed their desire to speed the innovation process and reduce the time to onboard new technologies. In the case of virtualization, the technology has become very attractive to service providers as it presents an opportunity to drive new revenue sources, reduce opex, and improve service agility. As a result, spinning up new applications has become a focal point for operators, with the need to assure them quickly following.

    With that being said, the road map to having virtualization become completely adopted is not a simple one. While there is little doubt that virtualization is the way of the future, the conference also served as a bit of a reality check as it was made apparent that the majority of networks are still physical and will be for some years to come. Therefore, for the time being the key to efficiency will be managing this hybrid scenario effectively, which is exactly what CENX’s Exanova solution can help service providers do.

    Learn how service assurance is the key enabler for NFV

    Download the White Paper

    Topics: Events

    CENX Takes Home MEF Excellence Award

    Posted by Matt Mariani on Nov 14, 2016 4:11:49 PM

    At last week’s MEF16 conference in Baltimore, CENX had the outstanding distinction of being named the recipient of the MEF 2016 Excellence Award for Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) Technology of the Year. This award win, which recognizes CENX’s technological excellence and innovation in the global Third Network community, comes on the heels of an already successful 2016 where CENX has been recognized by Telecoms World Middle East and the IEEE.

    MEFAward_Graphic-01-1.jpgSince the technology was first introduced, service providers have primarily focused on spinning up and integrating Virtual Network Functions into their existing network as it offers significant opportunities to deliver new data services to customers. Recently, that mindset has begun to shift as service providers are now interested in assuring services across hybrid physical and virtual infrastructure.

    Service providers are now at a crossroads where they must make significant decisions regarding how they will manage their virtualized infrastructure going forward. This endorsement from the MEF reinforces CENX’s ability to help solve this problem by accelerating and assuring end-to-end operations across multi-vendor and multi-domain networks.

    In the past, the word ‘orchestration’ has been used more often in the context of service fulfillment. However, we cannot be too quick to overlook the importance of service assurance. This win reinforces the value of assurance orchestration as a key part of the lifecycle, and showcases to the market that service providers need automation in both the fulfillment and assurance processes in order to be successful going forward.

    The 11th annual MEF Awards, which were presented on November 8th, spotlighted leadership in emerging dynamic Third Network services powered by CE 2.0 + LSO, NFV, and SDN networking technologies. CENX shares this award win with Amdocs.

    Download our webinar to learn more about real-time orchestrated service assurance.

    View webinar now!

    Topics: Industry Awards

    CENX Makes its Mark in the Middle East

    Posted by Matt Mariani on Nov 9, 2016 9:41:16 AM

    A major global telecoms forum has recognized CENX’s achievement in driving technological innovation across wireline, mobile, and cloud networks. Telecoms World Middle East presented CENX with the award for Best Network Infrastructure Solution at their 10th annual awards, which celebrates industry excellence in the region. The 2016 edition of the Telecoms World Awards saw a deep pool of nominees, with over 50 finalists named across 12 categories, and included large telecom companies such as Vodafone, Orange, and Ooredoo.

    Award-1.png

    In today’s highly competitive market, networks have become increasingly dynamic due to the emergence of new, disruptive SDN and NFV infrastructure and intensifying customer requirements. As a result, service providers are now faced with complex challenges when it comes to managing their network operations.

    CENX, recognizing the need of today’s service providers, offers an end-to-end service assurance solution that helps drive the deployment and assurance of real-time, reliable, and advanced connectivity by unifying the operational gaps between physical and virtual infrastructure. Our award winning Exanova software harnesses the power of big data analytics by collecting, correlating, and analyzing key performance indicators in a single pane of glass to deliver real-time actionable intelligence across multi-domain and multi-vendor networks.

    As the telco ecosystem in the Middle East experiences a period of rapid development, delivering quality assured services are top of mind for operators. In order to provide the level of service quality users have come to expect, service providers require a highly scalable solution that enables them to drive service agility and assure service quality.

    Built on innovative technology, CENX’s Exanova provides the central intelligence based on sophisticated real-time and historical analytics that eliminates operational complexities and ushers in next-generation network operations. The value of Exanova as a network infrastructure solution is significant as it allows service providers to generate new revenue opportunities, reduce costly manual operations, and increase customer satisfaction.

    This latest award win comes as CENX was also recently presented with the 2016 Outstanding Information and Communications Technology Company Recognition Award by the IEEE.

    For more information on CENX award announcements and other news, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

    Topics: Industry Awards

    Defining Service Assurance Standards in LSO Framework

    Posted by Matt Mariani on Oct 11, 2016 1:00:00 AM

    MEF releases LSO Architecture Framework

    As service providers begin to deploy software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) technologies into their networks, ensuring services across combined physical and virtualized infrastructure becomes a massive challenge that needs to be addressed.  

    In its recently published Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) Reference Architecture document, the MEF aims to tackle this issue by establishing a standardized way of managing end-to-end services across multi-vendor and multi-domain networks.

    iStock_76135577_LARGE.jpgWhat impact will it have on service providers?

    According to CENX’s CTO, Chris Purdy, the work being done at MEF is vital to carriers as it assists them in their efforts to deliver agile and assured services.

    “What [the LSO Reference Architecture] does is defines the major interfaces for both interactions between service providers, allowing services to cross those service providers, and interfaces happening from LSO to other elements, both northbound and southbound,” explains Purdy.

    “There’s a tremendous amount of work happening to define the information models that those interfaces will use, and the standards that could allow for interoperability between all the different components.”

    In today’s segmented market, customized implementations taking place in networks are forcing carriers to build unique solutions to help manage and support their operations. However, Purdy believes that can all soon change.

    “By defining these standards with open interfaces, it essentially allows one company to build something once and use it many times,” says Purdy. “As a result, this can dramatically lower costs and improve the timeline to get these services available and out in the market.”

    Service assurance within the LSO Framework

    In the case of NFV, service providers have been investing resources into figuring out how to quickly spin up and integrate new virtual network functions (VNF) as a result of the opportunity the technology provides. This has left the service assurance aspect of operations to be largely overlooked.

    However, an LSO approach provides an essential tool to service providers as it allows them to drive the transformation from legacy infrastructure to SDN and NFV with more totality, ensuring long-term success.

    Additionally, according to Purdy, a significant portion of LSO is the assurance part, not just fulfillment.

    What I think is going happening is service providers who are starting to put these next-gen technologies into production are going to say, ‘Okay wait a minute, I can turn them on, but how can I ensure that they’re in place,” explains Purdy. “I think what the LSO framework is trying to do is understand what the components are, and how will it get all of that data.”

    CENX’s Exanova Service Intelligence

    A complete LSO solution, such as CENX’s Exanova Service Intelligence, collects and analyzes data from both physical and virtualized infrastructure to deliver real-time actionable intelligence, and provides the service deployment and assurance tools required to orchestrate data services across physical network functions and VNFs quickly and cost-effectively.

    Of course, Purdy understands there is still quite a bit of work that needs to be done before the MEF’s vision of a standards-based industry comes to fruition.

    “When it ultimately comes to assuring and orchestrating services across networks, the MEF has to coordinate with other standards bodies and associations in order to ensure that all of the trends come together in a working solution.”

    Topics: LSO, Service Assurance

    The Value in Service Assurance

    Posted by Matt Mariani on Sep 13, 2016 8:34:56 AM

    As legacy networks shift from hardware to software components and begin to integrate virtualized technologies, such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV), assuring service quality has become a key focus for service providers in order to differentiate themselves from competitors.

    DeskComparison.jpg

    A comprehensive service assurance approach that provides detailed network analytics and bridges the operational gaps between physical and virtual infrastructure is paramount to help deliver premium quality of experience (QoE) to customers, and to avoid the increased operational complexities and costs that are associated with the adoption of NFV. Since the NFV market is expected to reach a value of $15.5 billion by 2020, end-to-end orchestrated service assurance provides significant opportunities to service providers attempting to keep pace with the exponential growth rate of data services. 

    The value of service assurance comes in its ability to enable service providers to optimize their service operations. Accordingly, this can be done in three ways: network impact analysis, network capacity management, and saving expenditures.

    Network Impact Analysis

    In today’s competitive market, where customers expect a high level of QoE, service providers must be able to accurately manage and understand the increasing amount of complex network data they encounter daily. A strategic service assurance approach must be implemented in order to accurately monitor network performance and provide operators with the information they need to make informed decisions. Service providers who utilize a service assurance solution, such as CENX’s Exanova Service Intelligence, are able to explore real-time and historical analytics across multiple data sources to enhance fault isolation and performance management. Additionally, this level of network analysis greatly expedites troubleshooting capabilities, helping to mitigate widespread network issues.

    Network Capacity Management

    Another major value of service assurance is its ability to enable service providers to plan service upgrades efficiently. As many operators are aware, network planning and service provisioning is essential to efficiently deliver services and maximize end-user QoE. Through Exanova Service Intelligence’s detailed analytics processed , service providers are able to correlate utilization and performance data to target capacity upgrades in the areas of the network needing them most. Service providers are also able to meet market demand by accelerating service turn-up times and streamlining workflow processes. Thanks to a strategic service assurance approach, service providers are able to reduce operational costs, and most importantly, maintain customer service-level commitments. 

    Saving Expenditures

    Attempting to maximize profits amidst the relentless changes in the telecoms industry can be a challenge. However, applying a service assurance approach can aid service providers to reduce opex and capex associated with their network operations. Operators can utilize a strategic approach to limit costly network upgrades when and where increased capacity is needed, thus controlling capex spend. Service providers are able to streamline triage and mean time to repair processes and also avoid manual inventory reconciliation, which decreases opex dramatically and enhances service availability and quality. Lastly, service assurance aids Service Level Agreement (SLA) management, since service providers can maintain accurate reports of how their partner providers are performing, and hold those providers accountable to contracted service levels, thus optimizing their opex spend.

    Ultimately, the benefits of service assurance are vast, spanning operations across multiple domains, and essential to all aspects of a service provider’s network. Learn more about how CENX’s Exanova Service Intelligence can help meet all of your service assurance needs.

    Topics: Service Assurance

    CENX Aims to Make its Mark in the Middle East

    Posted by Matt Mariani on Aug 18, 2016 11:42:51 AM

    A major global telecoms forum has recognized CENX’s achievement in driving technological innovation across wireline, mobile, and cloud networks. Telecoms World Middle East announced the list of finalists for their 10th annual awards, which celebrates industry excellence in the region, and CENX’s Exanova Service Intelligence solution had the outstanding distinction of being short-listed for the Best Network Infrastructure Solution category.

    Award-1.pngAs disruptive technologies emerge, and customer requirements cause networks to become more and more complex and dynamic, service providers are faced with increased operational challenges. CENX’s next-gen technology automates the deployment and assurance of reliable, advanced, and rapid connectivity through its ability to unify the operational gaps between physical and virtual infrastructure, while also simplifying network operations. The software harnesses the power of big data analytics by collecting, correlating, and analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) in a single pane of glass to deliver real-time actionable intelligence.

    As the telco ecosystem in the Middle East experiences a period of rapid development, delivering service quality and service assurance are top of mind. In order to provide the high-level quality of experience (QoE) customers have come to expect, service providers require a highly scalable solution that enables them to deliver new services faster, across both physical and virtual network functions, while getting more out of existing network investments. Through CENX’s intuitive approach, service providers can optimize the assurance and orchestration of differentiated services to generate new renevue opportunities and increase customer satisfaction. Additionally, Exanova’s rich User Experience (UX) offers Google-like contextual search, macro-geographic views, and detailed path visualization for rapid assurance of end-to-end services.

    The 2016 edition of the Telecoms World Awards will see a deep pool of nominees, with over 50 finalists named across 12 categories, and will include large telco companies such as Vodafone, Orange, and Ooredoo.

    The awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday, September 27, at the Conrad Hotel in Dubai, where the region’s top telecom operators and vendors will be recognized. Stay tuned to find out who will be crowned Best Network Infrastructure Solution!

     

    Topics: Industry Awards

    SD-WAN: A Disruptive Game-Changer

    Posted by Matt Mariani on Aug 9, 2016 9:02:51 AM

    The adoption of SD-WAN, as is the case with most virtual functions, promises to reduce capex and opex for both service providers and enterprises. This is thanks to SD-WAN’s ability to deploy services using centralized, programmable software and commodity hardware. Furthermore, some of the most attractive features that SD-WAN has to offer are its automatic provisioning capabilities, flexible transport options, and increased security capabilities – important to any service, but especially so for emerging IoT services where human intervention is cost-prohibitive. 

    CENX’s Exanova Service Intelligence offers the capabilities needed to address the complex needs of enterprise customers while bridging the gap between physical and virtual infrastructure to deliver real-time orchestrated service assurance. Exanova also enables service providers to drive service agility, assure service quality of experience (QoE), and reduce opex.

    Read more about how SD-WANs are disrupting the way enterprise networks are managed and delivered in our SDx Central article.

    Topics: SD-WAN

    The Fault in Your Network

    Posted by Matt Mariani on Aug 4, 2016 2:15:46 PM

    Imagine a day in the life of a network operator working at a large Tier 1 service provider. You start your day as you would any other, but as you go to take that first sip of morning coffee you observe that some issue has occurred in the network. Not long after, you find yourself inundated with alarms from multiple systems. The race against the clock has begun, and you must quickly correlate, isolate, and resolve these faults before their impact spread throughout the network and adversely impacts quality of service for your customers.

    What could be the root cause issue? Where to start looking? What impact is it having on customers? These are the pertinent questions that need to be addressed.

    In the case of traditional fault systems, Network Operations Center (NOC) personnel face significant hurdles when attempting to identify, diagnose, and resolve network issues as a result of the disparate, legacy operations systems that have evolved over time. Network operations must undergo the tedious process of manually correlating alarms from several systems in order to pinpoint the root cause. Compounded by the fact that service providers must also deal with impacted customer quality of experience (QoE) as triage time increases, this process quickly becomes costly in more ways than one.

    What’s more, the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), Software Defined Networking (SDN), and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) have resulted in added operational complexities forcing service provides to reassess their approach to service assurance.

    Typically, traditional fault management systems provide a device-centric, rather than a user-centric, view of the network, hindering the ability to monitor and visualize important fault information. In order to understand how a single resource fault may be impacting several logical services utilizing that resource, and the customers who rely on those services, an operator must swivel-chair between systems.

    Furthermore, traditional fault management systems are not able to support SDN controllers, NFV infrastructure elements, or virtual network functions, such as virtual firewalls or virtual loadbalancers. The gaps in these fault systems also force operators to swivel-chair between systems in order to understand and act on key trends regarding historical fault activity, network key performance indicators (KPIs), network inventory, and service topology.

    As next-gen services and infrastructure become integrated into the network, service providers require a service assurance solution that extends the value of their existing fault systems and bridges the gap between physical and virtual infrastructure.

    Fault.jpg

    CENX has delivered a solution that revolutionizes network analytics and troubleshooting to help mitigate widespread network issues, assure customer QoE, and enable network operators to do their jobs most effectively.

    Exanova Service Intelligence’s software enables network operators to quickly isolate faults by leveraging network analytics through its unique ability to correlate the overwhelming amount of data across multiple technologies and network functions into a single monitoring dashboard. By continuously ingesting and contextualizing fault data with information from network services, customers, topology, and service quality KPIs from other IT systems, service providers can reduce their triage time by as much as 90%. In addition to historical reporting and analytics, Exanova also provides proactive capabilities by enriching fault data and holding it in temporal data stores, providing the basis for predictive, automated service assurance.

    Furthermore, Exanova provides an at-a-glance view of all physical and virtual segments of the network in a single pane of glass with real-time inventory and performance dashboards. As a result, NOC personnel can accelerate break/fix troubleshooting more rapidly than can be done with traditional fault management systems. Network faults can now be quickly located and triaged down to a fine granularity of individual objects in the service path, such as ports, nodes, segments, and services thanks to Exanova’s real-time circuit path topology visualization and fault isolation.

    CENX’s orchestrated service assurance solution allows service providers to reduce their triage time from days to minutes, isolate faults right down to the circuit path segments, and reduce operational costs. At the end of the day, this provides customers with unparalleled service quality and allows network operators to enjoy their morning coffee for a little longer.

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    Topics: Fault Management