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”.

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