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    Erica Watts

    Marketing Manager, CENX
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    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 info@cenx.com and we'd be happy to discuss your requirements. 

    Top 10 LSO Requirements

    Posted by Erica Watts on Apr 15, 2015 10:43:00 AM

    LinkedInShares_BlogLSORequirements

    1. Flexible Information model  

    LSO must hold an inventory of the services that it is orchestrating, and it must associate each service to the resources used to provide that service, whether they are implemented in a physical network element, in a VNF, or are delivered by a third party provider. Since every service provider has unique service definitions, as well as unique network topologies, policies and technologies, the model must be able to be rapidly customized in each deployment.

    2. Rapid Data Source Integration

    This information model must be populated with the set of services to be orchestrated. The ability to instantiate a new service only happens once in the lifecycle of each service whereas service changes and assurance need to be addressed on an ongoing basis. The latter functions cannot be carried out until the service inventory is populated and the data sources required to do this can be very extensive. For example, configuration files from physical network elements will generally be one trusted data source, but to build the complete service inventory, there is much information that the network elements do not know. As a result, a design to allow rapid adaptation and continuous ingest of these data sources is required.

    3. Data Audit 

    In most every existing network, different data sources will not agree on particular information about the service. The LSO must be able to analyze and present these mismatches to users in order to ensure that the service information model is accurately populated. 

    4. Service Visualization

    Different management views of the transport network need to be supported, including fulfillment, performance management, troubleshooting, network optimization and just in time capacity management views.

    5. Service Assurance & Analytics

    Typically, operators need to manage a very large number of existing services and the assurance phase is the longest part of their lifecycle. The LSO must be able to take in a tremendous amount of real-time data (such as fault, utilization, service OAM, RAN statistics, NFVI compute information) to support rapid troubleshooting and repair as well as for predictive analytics and capacity planning purposes. The LSO needs to turn all this data into meaningful information so that it can identify issues with the largest service impacts and then take corrective actions that will result in the best quality of service for the customers. 

    6. Service Workflow

    Translating a service request into a completed action typically involves multiple steps and a state machine. In many cases (for example, when a physical UNI needs to be installed), human activity is required. Some requests may require execution during maintenance windows and may need to be monitored. Sometimes, the request involves placing orders to third party access vendors. Ideally, the vast majority of the steps in each workflow are fully automated, and in some cases (for example, a bandwidth increment where underlying network capacity is sufficient), the entire workflow can be automatic. An LSO needs to be able to handle workflows that are both automated and which require human intervention. It should also allow workflows to be customized to the particular service provider requirements.

    7. Interaction with MANO 

    One of the steps in many service workflows will be to instantiate or change the capacity of VNFs, such as virtual firewalls and other Layer 4-7 functions. The LSO will need to trigger this request and ensure it is successfully executed. 

    8. Provisioning 

    One of the steps in a service workflow will be to provision the initial creation of the service, as well as the many changes through the service lifecycle (for example, add an endpoint, change firewall rules and eventually disconnect the service). 

    9. Coordinated Testing 

    Another step in the workflow is to set up and execute testing to ensure that service instantiation or changes have been completed successfully.

    10. Off-net Ordering

    In many cases, connectivity services require third party service providers to reach all required locations. In this case, fulfilling service requests can mean triggering orders to third parties and tracking them to fulfillment.

    For more information on the requirements for lifecycle service orchestration download CENX and Heavy Reading’s white paper, “NFV’s Biggest Barriers: Overcoming the Operations Challenge”.

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    Topics: Network Functions Virtualization

    How to Explain Software-Defined Networking to a Kindergartener

    Posted by Erica Watts on Dec 18, 2014 8:30:00 AM

    At school, your teacher might ask your class to pass the ball from the back of the class, to the front of the class.

    How does it get there? 

    Everybody in your class will choose a different way to get the ball to the front of the class. The ball will go in a lot of different directions. Some people will probably pass it gently. Some people will throw it as hard as they can. Some people will roll it. Some of your classmates may touch the ball twice. Some of your friends might even drop the ball!

    The Internet is like your kindergarten classroom.

    A Software-Defined Network is one in which the teacher first lines you all up in a straight line, then tells you to take the ball from the child on your right and pass the ball to the other child on the left. 

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    And you do what you’re told. 

    The ball travels quickly and with few mistakes in a straight-line to the front of the class. This saves you and your friends a lot of time since the ball gets to the back of the classroom much faster.

    To learn more about how SDN plays a key roll in helping a service provider achieve their goals of providing differentiated and quality-assured service to their customer, download the white paper, “Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks”. 

    SDN White Paper

    Topics: Software-Defined Networking

    3 Core Components of the Next-Generation Network

    Posted by Erica Watts on Dec 11, 2014 8:30:00 AM

    BlogPosts_Image2We know that Service Orchestration plays an important role in next-generation networking, but it’s also important to understand the three core components of the next-generation connectivity infrastructure in more detail.

    Software-Defined Networking (SDN)

    SDN is a new open standards and vendor-neutral approach to computer networking that allows network operations personnel to manage network services through the abstraction of lower level functionality.

    Benefits of SDN:

    1. SDN is directly programmable, as it decouples control from the forwarding plane. This enables operations to be dynamically controlled, giving network operators an unprecedented level of network service agility.
    2. SDN is centrally managed by SDN Controllers and programmatically configured by network managers using well-defined interfaces.

    For more information on SDN, view the CENX Software-Defined Networking data sheet.

    Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)

    NFV leverages infrastructure virtualization technology to consolidate network equipment onto industry-standard servers and storage.

    NFV is being used is to decouple hardware and software in traditional network equipment and provide Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) router functionality on a standardized, Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) server. This transition is being driven by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s (ETSI) Industry Specification Group for NFV (ISG NFV).

    Benefits of NFV:

    1. By consolidating network equipment onto industry-standard servers and storage, network design becomes much more agile, and negates the classic problem of hardware-based appliances reaching end of life.
    2. It decreases capex by leveraging COTS servers as network infrastructure while powering agile, on-demand network design and implementation

    Service Orchestration

    Service Orchestration introduces end-to-end lifecycle management of advanced data services, powering automated service planning and fulfillment and service management and assurance tools that enable the migration to SDN/NFV infrastructure.

    Service Orchestration is being developed and defined by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) and plays a critical component of MEF’s vision of The Third Network, a Network as a Service (NaaS) infrastructure combining SDN, NFV, and Service Orchestration innovations.

    Benefits of Service Orchestration:

    1. Provides service providers with agile, assured, and orchestrated advanced data services.
    2. It empowers the delivery of new, dynamic, on-demand services with Internet-like agility and Carrier Ethernet (CE) 2.0-like service performance.
    3. Delivers automated services across service provider networks, ensuring high quality experience in networks leveraging access vendor infrastructure, such as mobile backhaul.

    Combining the 3 Core Components

    Only by combining SDN, NFV, and Service Orchestration components can service providers achieve their goal of providing differentiated and quality-assured services to their customers while reducing capex and opex and simplifying network management.

    To learn more about the three core components of the next-generation connectivity infrastructure in more detail, download the white paper, “Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks”.

    SDN White Paper

    Topics: Software-Defined Networking

    The #1 Problem with Today’s OSS Infrastructure

    Posted by Erica Watts on Dec 4, 2014 8:30:00 AM

    The problem with today’s OSS infrastructure is that it’s based on a functional silo model. 

    This functional silo model started at a time when:

    • There were less technology network domains
    • Those domains were much more standardized
    • Technology changed much more slowly
    • Computing technology did not allow multi-function systems that could adequately scale.

    This leads to the fundamental issue with the current OSS model…the lack of abstraction.

    Every OSS system (Inventory, Fault, Provisioning, and Performance) needs to understand the details of all the different network domains, which results in a lack of data integrity across systems.

    This images helps to understand the complexity. BlogPost3

    Each of the OSS systems has to do its job across all domains.

    For example, the Inventory system needs to know about:

    • TDM domain: The boxes, cards, ports, and fibers that make up this domain. The logical entities of this domain like existing channels, whether it is BLSR or UPSR, etc.
    • ATM domain: The Inventory system needs to know about the EVCs and COS.
    • Ethernet domain: It needs to know about boxes and cards, but also VLAN IDs, policers, shapers, reverse path learning, and protection methods.
    • IP MPLS domain: The Inventory system needs to know about LSPs, the control planes that set these up, LLDP, VPLS instances, and so on.

    This is the same for every OSS system in the network it is phenomenally complex. 

    Then, when you add SDN and NFV elements into these existing networks, this further complicates the OSS infrastructure.

    The lack of abstraction in the OSS infrastructure leads to serious problems for network operations personnel. Any change in any domain means manually having to having to update the software of each OSS to support this change. A change in any OSS system means ensuring the change is supported across all domains. There is no hiding the complexity within the layers of the network and the result is a vertical functional silo model, as opposed to a horizontal layer that does the abstraction.

    So how do network operators overcome this fundamental problem with their existing OSS infrastructure? How can they abstract this complexity and prepare themselves to begin introducing SDN and NFV elements without further adding to this complexity?

    The answer: Service Orchestration.

    To learn more about the importance Service Orchestration pays in unleashing the full potential of SDN and NFV, download the white paper, “Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks”.

    SDN White Paper

    Topics: Software-Defined Networking

    What is Software-Defined Networking?

    Posted by Erica Watts on Nov 27, 2014 8:30:00 AM

    Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is a new open standards and vendor-neutral approach to computer networking that allows network operations personnel to manage network services through the abstraction of lower level functionality. It separates control and forwarding functions, centralizes management, and programs network behavior using well-defined interfaces.

    SDN and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) are two emerging technologies that are accelerating the transformation of service provider network services. With SDN and NFV, service providers can provide differentiated, revenue-generating service offerings to their end customers while reducing operational costs and simplifying network management. A critical component of this next-generation network is Service Orchestration.

    The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is one of the key groups working to define the scope and interworking of SDN, including the OpenFlow communications protocol, which gives access to the forwarding plane of a network switch or router from a centralized controller.

    Benefits of SDN

    SDN has a number of key benefits.

    Directly programmable
    First, it is directly programmable, as it decouples control from the forwarding plane. This enables operations to be dynamically controlled, giving network operators an unprecedented level of network service agility.

    Centrally managed
    SDN is also centrally managed by SDN Controllers and programmatically configured by network managers using well-defined interfaces.

    To learn more about how SDN plays a key roll in helping a service provider achieve their goals of providing differentiated and quality-assured service to their customer, download the white paper, “Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks”. 

    SDN White Paper

    Topics: Service Orchestration, Software-Defined Networking

    How is Service Orchestration transforming networks?

    Posted by Erica Watts on Nov 25, 2014 5:01:24 PM

    Last week at MEF GEN14, CENX’s Director of Business Development, Paul McCluskey, sat down with Jim Carroll from Converge! Network Digest to discuss how Service Orchestration is transforming the networks of service providers across the globe.

    When Paul was asked, "How is Service Orchestration transforming networks?", here's what he had to say:

    "Orchestration isn't necessarily a new thing.

    In the past, we've had process automation in OSS for a particular technology or fulfilment assurance, but it’s normally been in a specific domain.

    Now, we're seeing Lifecycle Service Orchestration as an emerging evolution. We are now focusing more on the end-to-end lifecycle of a service, including: design, fulfilment and assurance for monitoring.

    Before, orchestration used multiple systems, but it’s now evolved to using a single system.

    There are already service providers investing in Lifecycle Service Orchestration and deploying systems. Typically, they start off in insurance, and then grow into fulfillment or vice-versa. But, they’re reusing that same system to get the benefits. Lifecycle Service Orchestration is helping service providers reduce operations cost, providing a single view to the users and increasing automation within their business."

    Prefer to watch the video? Check it out! 

    Interested in learning more about Service Orchestration? Download our latest white paper, "Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks". 

    SDN White Paper

    Topics: Service Orchestration

    How to Bridge the Gap Between Legacy Network Infrastructure & Next-Generation SDN

    Posted by Erica Watts on Nov 20, 2014 8:30:00 AM

    There are two emerging industry thrusts in network operations, which are accelerating the transformation of a service provider networks:

    1.      Software-Defined Networking (SDN)
    2.      Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)

    With SDN and NFV, a service provider can provide differentiated, revenue-generating services to their customers while reducing operational costs and simplifying network management.

    But how can you bridge the gap between legacy network infrastructure and next-generation SDN and NFV innovations?

    …with Service Orchestration!

    What does Service Orchestration do?

    1. Service Orchestration bridges the gap between the existing and next-generation SDN and NFV components using APIs for interoperability and full service lifecycle management, which the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) refers to as The Third Network.
    1. It supports multi-vendor and multi-provider networks, so services are activated quickly, and quality of service is assured, end-to-end.
    1. It looks at the network the same way you do: top-down from the service layer.
    1. More specifically, a Service Orchestrator automates the entire lifecycle of network services across functional domains.
    1. Service Orchestration is the intelligent outer cortex that brings everything together for full lifecycle management of advanced data services.

    To learn more about the importance Service Orchestration plays in unleashing the full potential of SDN and NFV, download the white paper, “Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks”. 

    SDN White Paper

    Topics: Service Orchestration, Software-Defined Networking

    CENX Announces Open Networking Foundation (ONF) Membership

    Posted by Erica Watts on Nov 13, 2014 12:37:00 PM

    CENX is proud to announce that in addition to being members of the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI); we’re now officially members of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). 

    Screen_Shot_2014-11-13_at_11.01.39_AM

     

    The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is a user-driven organization dedicated to the promotion and adoption of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) through open standards development. It’s one of the key groups working to define the scope and interworking of SDN, including the OpenFlow communications protocol, which gives access to the forwarding plane of a network switch or router from a centralized controller.

    Notably, ONF has introduced the OpenFlow™ Standard, on the data-control plane interface and has issued SDN architecture specifications. 

    At CENX, our Cortx products support open APIs, for easy interoperability with adjacent systems, such as REST API to SDN Controllers and Operations Support Systems (OSS).

    To learn more about the ONF’s role in defining SDN, download the white paper “Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks”. 

    SDN White Paper

     

    Topics: Software-Defined Networking