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

    Orchestrating the Internet of Things

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Apr 9, 2015 9:00:00 AM

    What is the "Internet of Things"?

    In 1999, when the Internet was still in its infancy, a British man named Kevin Ashton coined the term “The Internet of Things” (IoT). At the time, this phrase was a simple prediction of how the Internet would develop and enhance our day-to-day lives. Kevin forecasted that eventually, all physical objects would be interconnected through embedded electronics and they would be able to communicate and transfer data through the Internet. 

    It has been over 15 years since this theory emerged, and our new reality is the Internet of Things. We see this in Mobile World Congress’ theme, “Connected Life”. Companies were showcasing revolutionary new personal products such as smartphones, virtual reality headsets, smartwatches, and even enterprise solutions for next-generation software defined networks.

    The rise of M2M


    Statistics show that by 2020, there will be 24 billion total connections and $1.2 trillion USD generated in the machine-to-machine (M2M) market. The rise of M2M is underway and because of this, network operators connected devices and 1.2 trillion USD worth of revenue are faced with new challenges. Most machines aren’t as intelligent as smart phones, so connecting to these machines and coordinating their services on demand requires a Lifecycle Service Orchestrator.

    Why is LSO the next big thing?

    In Scott Raynovich’s report “Why LSO is the Next Big Thing” he states:
    “54.6% of operators regard their OSS systems as ‘outdated’ with a need to be updated or overhauled, according to the survey results. Sixty percent (60%!) said they were lacking a capability to launch new services in a cost-effective and time-effective manner”.
    CENX wants to ensure that a connected life is an agile life for software defined networks operators and virtualized service providers with the use of Lifecycle Service Orchestration. With Cortx Lifecycle Service Orchestrator, we're actually allowing our service provider customers to get connected to their data services. We provide a real-time search capability, and the ability to take that search and turn it into actionable analytics and actionable management capabilities. Because of this, the carrier gets better agility in how they're bringing services to market and how they're managing their ongoing services. 

    To learn more about how Lifecycle Service Orchestration 
    can help manage the complexity associated with the Internet of Things and how it can ensure the best user experience, read the free White Paper “Service Orchestration for Next-Generation SDN & NFV Networks”.

    SDN White Paper

    Topics: Service Orchestration, Internet of Things

    MEF President Discusses the Future of Ethernet

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Mar 24, 2015 9:20:55 AM

    While at Mobile World Congress, Global Telecoms Business (GTB) interviewed Nan Chen, the President of the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF). Here's what he had to say:GTBTV

    Brian Dolby: I'm joined by Nan Chen who is the president of the MEF. Nan, welcome to Netscout here in Barcelona. First question: you've taken Ethernet from virtually a theory, into global domination. Tell us some of the highlights of the MEF and its work over the last few years.

    Nan Chen: Thank you for the compliment. We are obviously very proud of how Ethernet has grown from enterprise technology to the Carrier Ethernet which is known today. The MEF started in 2001 and we started from zero. 2012 marked the first year Carrier Ethernet bandwidth globally surpassed the entire legacy data bandwidths combined. Finally, Ethernet bandwidth is projected to be 75% of the overall global business bandwidth by 2017, so we’re obviously very proud of it.

    Brian Dolby: And of course it's an integral part of LTE.

    Nan Chen: Absolutely, because of the standards we have defined, every single LTE backhaul is Ethernet based and we see even more growth in the mobile industry. To a certain degree, it's also attributed to many of our industry colleagues that have contributed a lot. We’re proud of the Ethernet and being able to deliver all the mobile capabilities that we see today.

    Brian Dolby: Yes, and of course LTE networks are growing rapidly around the world aren't they? So nearly every day there's more and more Ethernet.

    Nan Chen: That's right; it’s music to our ears obviously.

    Brian Dolby: Just moving to fixed networks now; everyone is talking about SDN & NFV, is that an area for your organization?

    Nan Chen: Yes, in fact most of Ethernet growth we've seen both in fixed and wireless networks require a dynamic feature of Ethernet, and that's what we have started in the MEF body called Lifecycle Service Orchestration. It’s a new standard to control the Ethernet bandwidth and allow it to be dynamically manipulated. Our goal is to build global networks which will allow multiple carriers to deliver dynamic bandwidths across the globe. 

    Brian Dolby: Now we're here in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress, it gets bigger and bigger and they say it gets better as well. What for you are some of the big things this year?

    Nan Chen: It's actually pretty amazing to see a lot of the things here, not just the handset innovations, but also the ability to virtualize network functions. When you virtualize network functions, you not only reduce the cost of deployment, you also gain the agility to deploy services on both fixed and mobile networks. With that, you need a Lifecycle Service Orchestrator to manage the network, and we're really pleased to be a part of that overall momentum.

    Brian Dolby: So, some interesting insight there into the work of the MEF and also the increasing importance of Ethernet in the world that we all share and enjoy in terms of our communication.

    To watch the complete video interview, please click here.

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

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    Topics: Service Orchestration, Ethernet, Metro Ethernet Forum

    What does LSO mean?

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Mar 19, 2015 9:00:00 AM

    CENX Talks LSO with TelcoProfessionals, Tony Poulous

    While at MWC15, CENX Co-Founder and Executive Vice Chairman, Nan Chen, talked with Tony Poulos from TelcoProfessionals about what LSO is, and why it is useful for NFV users and operators. Here’s what they had to say…


    Tony: I’m here today with Nan Chen, who is the Executive Vice Chairman of CENX. Nan, great to catch up; I’ve got to start by asking an inevitable question. There’s a buzzword: LSO, what does it stand for and what does it mean? Please tell me.

    Nan: That’s a great question; LSO stands for Lifecycle Service Orchestration, which is a layer above the SDN and NFV. It provides full lifecycle service delivery as well as fulfilment, ongoing management and capacity planning. Basically, the entire service from the cradle to the grave.

    Tony: Now, you talk about SDN and NFV, aren’t they also just buzzwords at the moment or are you actually starting to see some traction there?

    Nan: We definitely see NFV as a way of moving forward. A lot of service providers are starting to deploy NFV and are doing some trials with SDN, but LSO is actually enabling technology to deliver the agility and cost savings that people are looking for.

    Tony: Are you saying that it will allow them to deliver services and assure services more quickly or more rapidly?

    Nan: It does multiple things beyond assurance. It also takes care of the ongoing management, capacity planning, automations, fulfilment, provisioning, testing, and reconciliation. As I said earlier, the end-to-end service lifecycle.

    Tony: So how does your LSO help the transition to something like NFV?

    Nan: That’s a great question, because it’s what we specialize in. What’s really needed is a service orchestration layer above the existing infrastructure to provide the end-to-end connectivity. This allows service providers to migrate to the new SDN NFV based infrastructure at their own pace. Our service orchestrator facilitates this migration for mobile operators, data centre operators, and wireline operators.

    Tony: Is it restricted to an all IP network or are you able to work in hybrid networks through the transition from say circuit switch onwards?

    Nan: We’re able to do both the existing infrastructure and the new infrastructure networks while transitioning services from the old to the new. Many of the new services are a mix of Ethernet and IP, which is making the transition from circuit to packet much smoother and easier.

    Tony: So operators now have some comfort in that transformation project. They’re not going to lose that service quality or assurance or the continuation of services with their customers, presumably.

    Nan: That’s absolutely right. One of the challenges with packet based networks is assurance. Unlike a circuit, that always has the same bandwidth, a packet has a bursting nature. This is exactly why it’s so popular and why it’s really applicable to today’s data traffic. Our service orchestrator helps to assure service delivery with packet networks by monitoring delay, connectivity, packet laws, and availability, to assure all the applications are running to the user expectations.

    Tony: Well I can understand that the biggest fear of most operators, particularly mobile operators, is the fear that during a process of transformation they will lose service and that orchestration all the way through to make sure that the customer gets the service properly and happily, so I think you’re in the right place at the right time.

    Nan: You’re absolutely right!

    Tony: I wish you all the best, thanks very much, Nan.

    Nan: Thank you so much, I appreciate it. 

    The video interview can be viewed here.

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

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    Topics: Service Orchestration

    Behind the Scenes at MWC 2015

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Mar 17, 2015 2:00:00 PM

    The CENX executive team was in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress this year. With the theme of “the connected life”, and roughly 90,000 attendees, the event proved to be both exciting and productive. Here’s what the CENX executives had to say while at MWC15:

    How does CENX’s technology fit into this year’s MWC themes?

    Ed Ogonek, President and CEO

    cenx-1B_LinkedIn"Well, we've wrapped up an exciting and productive Mobile World Congress 2015 for CENX. We really lived the theme of a connected life. Within 90,000 attendees we were able to expand or build new connections with global service providers, with partners, with system integrator, with analysts, with the industry as a whole, around the exciting solution we're bringing to market with Cortx.

    With Cortx, we're actually allowing our service provider customers to get connected to their data services. We provide a real-time search capability, and the ability to take that search and turn it into actionable analytics and actionable management capabilities. Because of this, the carrier gets better agility in how they're bringing services to market and how they're managing their ongoing services.

    We're really excited with the feedback we've gotten from our customers and partners with all these connections that we've made at mobile world congress and we're looking forward to ensuring that the connected life is an agile life for software defined networks and virtualized services."

    Paul McCluskey, Director of Business Development

    paul"The big themes this year were connected life and the Internet of things. Everything connects to the internet now and the ability to manage that is actually much harder than it sounds. Billions of devices all connecting to the same network means we need to understand how that network performs and how to fix problems. This is really important and that's where CENX can help in managing service assurance with machine-to-machine for example." 


    What new things are being showcased by CENX at MWC this year and what sets CENX apart from its competitors? 

    Jay McMullan, SVP Sales


    "This year at mobile world, CENX will be showcasing our next generation release for VoLTE visualization, NFV, and real-time search for your entire network."






    Andrew Doyle, VP EMEA Sales

    dk"Really, what separated CENX from all the other orchestrators is the full breadth of functionality that we offer. It's just absolutely end-to-end and has the ability to mine the data extensively but meaningfully which is one of the things which I've picked up when I've been speaking to people so far this week. They just love the information that's presented to them, the way it's presented to them, and what they can do with it." 





    Marc-Antoine Boutin, Director of Product Management

    marc-2"This year at mobile world congress we're showing something very exciting. Basically NFV and virtualization are the focus. We're actually showing full end-to-end visualization of a back-haul connection going through a core with ram performance data, back-haul performance data, and VoLTE performance data all going through a virtual infrastructure. We actually have virtual gateways in our network and we're capable of visualizing a full virtual infrastructure. Marc Antoine Boutin, Director of Product Management: This year at mobile world congress we're showing something very exciting. Basically NFV and virtualization are the focus. We're actually showing full end-to-end visualization of a back-haul connection going through a core with ram performance data, back-haul performance data, and VoLTE performance data all going through a virtual infrastructure. We actually have virtual gateways in our network and we're capable of visualizing a full virtual infrastructure."

    How do CENX's solutions fit into the growing markets at MWC? 

    Marie Fiala Timlin, Director of Marketing


    "Well with all the excitement at MWC, you really get the feeling that service providers are stepping up to the challenge of delivering IP services in the best way possible and that's where Cortx service orchestrator fits in.

    It's a software tool that allows service providers to roll out those differentiated services so much more quickly because they have a single very intuitive gooey by which you can quickly provision those needed Ethernet IP MPLS connectivity services from one end-point to the other end-point. On top of that, not only is it about service fulfillment but after those services are provisioned and deployed, you need a real easy quick way to troubleshoot and to keep your service performance up at a high level of quality for the end consumer. That's what Cortx Service Orchestrator does." 

    Chris Purdy, CTO

    cenx-269_LinkedIn"I think everyone understands the telecom market is undergoing a massive shift with the virtual CPE that’s taking place and the whole SDN movement from hardware based networks to software.

    One of the greatest challenges associated with making that transition from the old to the new is how that’s going to be operationalized and how services will be assured during that migration to software and I think CENX is one of the leaders at actually helping to make that transition possible."





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    Topics: Service Orchestration

    Do You Know the Difference Between NFV MANO and LSO?

    Posted by Ryan O'Grady on Feb 24, 2015 2:00:00 PM

    In order to break away from the current ineffective OSS model, there must first be a proper separation of concerns.

    The point which a lot of people are missing at the moment is that NFV MANO (network functions virtualization management and orchestration) and LSO (lifecycle service orchestration) are different.

    What’s the difference?

    The MANO is responsible for managing the network functions virtualization infrastructure. So it understands the capacity of the system and the utilization that's already been assigned to NFVs in normal operations. The most important difference between the NFV MANO and the LSO is that the MANO does not know the operating capabilities of the VNFs it is managing. To the MANO, a VNF is a VNF and that is all. It doesn't know or care whether a VNF is a virtual firewall, a virtual router, or a virtual voice-bridge; it just knows what the VNF requires to operate properly.

    The LSO on the other hand, is capable of understanding the semantics attached to VNFs. While the MANO is responsible for ensuring proper NFV operation, the LSO is responsible for coordinating the specific workloads to fulfill service requests. For example, if a service is requested and a VNF firewall needs to be instantiated, the LSO will request the MANO to create the required firewall. The MANO doesn’t know that the VNF it is instantiating is a firewall, it just knows it’s instantiating a VNF. It’s the LSO that recognizes that firewall and understands how it’s interconnected to physical and logical network elements. This displays the interplay between the LSO and the MANO.


    To learn more about NFV MANO and LSO through operational use cases watch the on-demand webinar, “NFV’s Biggest Barrier: Overcoming the Operations Challenge”.

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    Topics: Service Orchestration

    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

    What is the New Cortx Service Orchestration Suite?

    Posted by Erica Watts on Sep 16, 2014 9:17:00 AM

    We’re very excited to officially launch Cortx, our new suite of software products.


    What is Cortx?

    The CENX Cortx suite is a new suite of software products that automate the entire lifecycle of advanced data services in software-defined networks. These products:

    • Allow service providers to build out necessary network infrastructure, fulfill service orders, and monitor and manage their network, all within a single system
    • Effectively migrate service providers to SDN/NFV
    • Dramatically improve business operations
    • Create new revenue streams, gain service agility, reduce operational costs, and deliver quality-assured data services

    How does Cortx Service Orchestrator fit into the ONF/SDN and ETSI/NFV architectures?

    The market is demanding a breadth of quality-assured network services, including guaranteed enterprise connectivity and access to cloud-based applications, and on-demand dynamically-upgradeable bandwidth. 

    NFV has gained momentum and is being deployed by service providers worldwide. It’s gone beyond the scope of lab and field trials; however, deployments are still limited in scope. In particular, much attention hasn’t been given to the operations side of things.  The ETSI standards body has made great inroads in defining the architecture, including a Management and Orchestration (MANO) component. MANO is necessary but insufficient to achieve the actual goals of NFV:

    • Service Type Agility (rapid rollout of new service types and service improvements)
    • Service Instance Agility (e.g. Connectivity on Demand)
    • Opex cost reduction
    • Service Quality management

    We believe that if a service provider wants to achieve these goals, you need to couple a Service Orchestrator with your NFV rollout.  You won't get there by just deploying NFV and tweaking your existing OSS.

    What Cortx Service Orchestrator features lend themselves specifically to SDN and NFV architectures?

    • Open REST APIs – APIs allow rapid integration to SDN Controllers and NFV Management and Network Orchestration components.
    • Service Orchestration across multiple service types - Cortx Service Orchestrator supports agile fulfillment and continuous assurance for a variety of network services, such as IP VPNs, MPLS core and Ethernet connectivity.
    • Built on distributed virtualized computing technologies - Cortx Service Orchestrator provides the performance and elasticity needed in NFV infrastructure, for network scalability and real-time big data analytics

    What key business benefits do SPs receive by deploying the Cortx Service Orchestrator?

    Cortx Service Orchestrator significantly improves the management of data services, providing a unified service fulfillment and service assurance tool.  It gains control of the ever-growing volume of network data and turns that data into actionable intelligence for service assurance and inter-carrier capacity and SLA management.  Service Providers can benefit with:

    • 80% reduction of services turn-up time
    • 70% improvement in inventory accuracy
    • 40% savings in operations and implementation, e.g. reduction in alarm triage time

    For more information on Cortx, please contact or read our Cortx Service Orchestrator data sheet

      What is Service Orchestration? CENX Video

    Topics: Service Orchestration