Watch this video to experience Mobile World Congress (MWC) from CENX’s perspective:
For more information on CENX’s experience at MWC, click here.
Watch this video to experience Mobile World Congress (MWC) from CENX’s perspective:
For more information on CENX’s experience at MWC, click here.
A human takes in vast, vast amounts of data through the senses (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile feelings). A human must apply tremendous "intelligence" to this vast amount of data in order to make any sense of it. This involves everything from filtering out irrelevant data to holding context so that the sound of voices or the images of people can be interpreted. The data conflicts with itself as the human hears differing stories. The human decides what is correct and analyzes potential options and outcomes. Then, at some point, the human decides on what "actions" to take in order to further his cause.
Networking is similar.
A telecom network and associated systems generate vast, vast quantities of data. Everything from network topologies to attributes to resource utilization measurements to alarms to service OAM test results and more. Millions of data elements are created in a second. And the data conflicts with itself. The information in the inventory system mismatches that which is in the network. The fault system uses different labels for objects than what is in the network. And so on and so on.
How do you take all of this data—vast, conflicting, and distributed across multiple systems—and apply appropriate "intelligence" to it to decide what you can trust? And how do you then boil it down to the specific "actions" you need to take to operate the network ensuring the best possible user experience at the lowest possible OPEX and CAPEX spend?
This is what CENX means by "Actionable Intelligence."
To learn more about CENX’s approach to big data analytics and enhanced utilization management, read the free White Paper “Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks”.
While visiting customers in Asia last week, we celebrated the start of the Chinese New Year. As we listened to service providers discuss their key pain points, big data analytics was foremost on their minds as the remedy. All totaled, five key “wants and needs” consistently entered our conversations.
Big Data Analytics
For service providers in Asia, big data analytics will be a key enabling technology in the Year of the Horse. Service providers need big data analytics to aggregate data from multiple sources, continually audit services data, and compare and reconcile it. The benefit is trusted intelligence they can apply to services enhancements, cost cutting and innovation.
If service providers were able to monitor and visualize end-to-end Ethernet circuits—especially off-net—with global partners, they could improve cross-department communication, improve fault management and shorten MTTR, which would ultimately lead to improved performance and reduced costs.
Automation will play a key role in 2014. Blending automation with human action into workflows such as ordering, provisioning, data audit, and data reconciliation functions streamlines operations and eliminates manual error-prone processes.
Migration to Software-Defined Networks (SDN)
Recognizing that SDN will deliver incremental value for imminent investment, service providers are planning SDN migration strategies.
Global Ethernet service providers are looking to differentiate product from static connections, rack space, etc.
Jumping back to the big data analytics conversation for a moment—we should note that big data analytics is a global conversation. Heavy Reading recently published that “the market for big data technology and services … is set to grow by more than 400% in the next 7 years.” And, “that the expected growth is driven by the need for communications service providers of all types (fixed, mobile, cable) to harness the massive volumes of network, service, and subscriber data at their disposal and put it to good use, including generating new business.”
Learn more about CENX’s approach to big data analytics and Lifecycle Service Orchestration, read the free White Paper “Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks”.
Service orchestration is a term that disguises a multitude of functions and may be the catch-all of networking terms in 2014. It’s really come into its own in the past 6-12 months with virtualization, software defined network (SDN) initiatives, and as part of a burgeoning industry transformation to Carrier Ethernet in the WAN.
Ethernet. That’s not new?
True, Ethernet’s been around for 40+ years. Carrier Ethernet is relatively new to WAN transport, replacing aging but familiar TDM technology because it can transport large amounts of data in a fast, assured and cost-effective manner.
Today, Carrier Ethernet is the transport technology of choice to power layer 2 and 3 transport services that serve today’s 4G mobile backhaul, high speed enterprise access, VPN services, and cloud data center exchanges.
So, what’s the problem?
Managing Ethernet services brings complexity to operational processes. OSSs in a tier-one network generate millions of data events per day. This leads to swivel chair analysis within the network operations center – trying to interpret data from many stovepipe systems and domains, across a bewildering range of dashboards and reports.
This volume of data is fragmented and untrustworthy because it’s siloed between different domains and vendor-specific network elements and systems. Often it’s only a partial view and inconsistent across the different systems that generate the data. And it’s coming from many disparate sources beyond today’s OSS tools. In fact, Excel is fast becoming an OSS in of itself. Many departments within service providers rely on “excel spreadsheets of truth” to manage cell sites, service definitions, microwave topologies and more. Excel is fast becoming a key source of data that cannot be mined in the same way that a standard database can.
There’s no viable information model serving today’s networks that can be trusted. What’s needed is a new services information model.
The foundation for service orchestration is a new type of services information model. One that leverages the data generated by network elements, OSS and other disparate data sources. This data can be mined from any source – an existing OSS tool, a spreadsheet, an order activation notice, an SLA contract – and provides a base of intelligence that can build an accurate real-time view of the network.
To learn more about CENX’s approach to lifecycle service orchestration, read the free White Paper “Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks”.
Topics: Service Orchestration
Off-net vs. on-net. This is truly a discussion predicated on your vantage point. Most service providers now rely on a combination of their own transport network (on-net services) combined with additional circuits provided by 3rd party access vendors. These out of network Ethernet circuits are considered off-net, resulting in complex Ethernet transport services that traverse multiple carrier boundaries.
The extent to which service providers depend on off-net circuits varies wildly due to a range of factors – regional vs. national or international footprint, limited metro assets, customer demands and more. Let’s not forget the data center scenario. This is where enterprises in one data center need quality guaranteed connectivity to their cloud services provider in a different data center, which could mean connecting via an off-net circuit supplied by an alternate access vendor.
It’s big business for alternate access providers providing these circuits, and for the service provider, it can be a significant recurring monthly expense. Service providers have a raft of OSS tools to manage their own on-net circuits. Anything that is off-net – well, it’s a blind spot.
Here is what I mean.
What happens when an off-net circuit goes down? How do providers know it’s out of service – how can they determine which segment of the transport network is down? Can they trust their inventory data to know which access vendor is responsible for that transport circuit, so they can take corrective action? Does this impact their provider’s SLA? What penalties are not being secured? What about cost leakage around circuits that may no longer be in service but are still being billed, because there is no accurate means of tracking off-net circuit inventory?
Let’s look at off-net services from an ordering perspective. Some tier 1 service providers are generating upwards of 500-1000 orders per month for off-net Ethernet circuits. Today, it’s a highly manual process between the operator and the alternate access provider, fraught with errors, inaccurate provisioning data, stalled processes, that result in an average 120 days to turn up an Ethernet circuit. The richness of Ethernet also brings differing service definitions that need to be reconciled between Ethernet access vendors and the service provider, adding further complexity to this problem. For the Ethernet access provider, it’s become a major drag on time to revenue, and a source of customer dissatisfaction.
Off-net inter-carrier Ethernet transport is here to stay – it will only get more complex and operational systems need to be architected to deal with it. Software-defined networks compound the challenge even further by introducing different network types and new applications and virtualized network functions.
This is where inter-carrier service orchestration comes in; bringing a new generation approach that transcends the boundaries of multiple carrier networks, and IP and next generation SDNs. The ability to derive off-net inventory data from a diverse set of data sources and types – excel, OSS, activation notices as example. Then, provide an accurate and complete view of all Ethernet assets – both off-net and on-net. The ability to automate ordering processes between carriers using a combination of human emulation and automation techniques. And importantly, the ability to manage SLA performance, with detailed fault sectionalization that determines AAV dependencies and factors in scheduled maintenance checks and so forth. Finally, better controls on cost leakage due to inaccurate billing reconciliation between Ethernet inventory and what’s actually in service.
It’s time to remove the blindfold and figure out what’s really going on in your transport network – inter-carrier service orchestration is key to providing this comprehensive actionable view across on-net and off-net circuits.
To learn more about Service Orchestration and how it can connect network operators to their data services, watch the video "What is Service Orchestration?".
Let’s tailor it a bit in the context of Carrier Ethernet. Specifically the transport services that power mobile backhaul today such as Ethernet circuit ordering and provisioning, service monitoring, inventory management... Service providers rely on off-net circuits from 3rd party access providers to fill coverage gaps and build the Ethernet transport footprint. Off-net circuits comprise a huge recurring cost for operators, however performance, inventory and ordering status, SLA assurance are all major operational blind spots.
Off-net Ethernet transport will only get more complex and today’s operational systems are simply unable to manage and visualize the entire transport picture. This is where inter-carrier service orchestration comes in, comprising 4 key functions:
Service Provisioning - where software automation is introduced to accelerate processes like accurate provisioning that reduces fall-out, and automated ordering between service provider and access vendors to shorten that order to revenue timeline;
Service Assurance - dynamic monitoring of real time service status, but with the addition of utilization and big data analytics that get to the bottom of fault sectionalization, highlight dependencies on off-net circuit performance, and importantly, SLA assurance. Are you really getting what you are paying for?;
Data Integrity Assurance – the foundation of any orchestration function begins with clean data within a structured information mode. And supported by a continuous audit process for always accurate inventory that can be repopulated to the systems that need this information;
Service Visualization – an accurate and actionable view of all Ethernet services, inventory and monitoring status within a single pane view. A view that uncovers the off-net circuit blind spots in your transport network so that you have a complete picture of all circuits serving your network.
So while orchestration may be a bit of a catch-all term today, within Ethernet transport, it is fast becoming the cornerstone of how these services are being operationalized.
To learn more about Service Orchestration and how it can provide both service agility and the best user experience, watch the video "What is Service Orchestration?".
Topics: Service Orchestration
The average tier 1 service provider network generates about 1 million events per minute – for example from performance monitoring tools. Just think about it – that’s 60 million events per hour and upwards of 1 Billion per day, give or take. And that’s just for one tool set. That’s a lot of data.
Clearly, service providers aren’t suffering from lack of data. But can they trust it? Is that circuit really down or just out of service for a scheduled maintenance update – a schedule that is captured in another database in the network and updated each day by a 3rd party access provider. How can they derive intelligence from the deluge of data that they see each day, and the data that they don’t see. It’s an overwhelming problem that network operations teams face every day.
What if your network had a conscience? A system you could trust to give you the right data, and help you make the right call about what to do about it – a system that could provide you with accurate, actionable network intelligence.
Life would be so much better:
Every transport network needs a conscience – one that can collect, correlate and aggregate all that data generated from existing OSS and other data sources. And visualize it within a single pane, and make it completely actionable.
Hang on, I know what you are thinking – is this another OSS? No – it’s a new generation of solution that brings the programmability of software to network data and services.
1) Big data analytics
3) Web 2.0
And one that will play a key role in orchestrating services across today’s IP networks and next generation software-defined networks.
To learn more about bridging the gap between legacy network infrastructure and next-generation innovations, download the FREE white paper "Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks".
Network transformation is a loaded term. Let’s face it – everything needs to transform and adapt to survive, but let’s peel back the network onion a bit. If you are a service provider, there is an underlying technology transformation that is impacting virtually every operational process in your network. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s about moving from the dinosaur known as TDM to Carrier Ethernet. This transformation is driven by a number of factors:
So what’s the big deal? The TDM world is a homogeneous one with few variations. Exactly the same DS1 backhaul service definition, exactly the same DS3 handoffs, exactly the same service OAM (either up or down and nothing in between). You get the picture – a simple and consistent world , and one with little room for differentiation.
The Ethernet world, on the other hand, is predicated on variable parameters, heterogeneous services and topologies. Many different backhaul service types including classes of service, VLAN mapping, fiber, small cell, and more. Many different handoff schemes. Many different types of SLAs per service or application type. Not to mention, many variations in network vendor equipment type and attributes. Now a complex and highly variable world. But one that provides ample opportunity for service differentiation. And a market that where applications such mobile backhaul, data center interconnect, cloud access services and enterprise Ethernet services will fuel spending of $100B by 2017 – all running over Carrier Ethernet. So what’s the problem?
The OSS systems and tools deployed today are based on legacy TDM technology. They can’t easily handle 50 - 80 different types of Ethernet service. The pain being felt by network operations and management teams at tier 1 operators is significant:
The solution is not a trivial one – the sunk investment in OSS tools is significant, upgrades and overhauls will cost millions and have an impact on services over a long upgrade period of several years.
It’s time to consider something different – a new generation of software that embraces the complexity of Ethernet and gives you the tools to take advantage of the inherent flexibility and service differentiation capabilities that Carrier Ethernet has to offer.
To learn more about the problems with how the existing Operations Support Systems (OSS) are architected, and possibilities for bridging the gap between legacy network infrastructure and next-generation innovations; download the FREE white paper "Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks".