Blog

    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.

    SA_WhitePaper-4.jpg

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

    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.

    New Call-to-action

    Topics: Fault Management