AdventNet Web NMS Application - Mediation Solution
In today’s intensely competitive market, Service Providers are looking to enhance the profitability of their business by cutting-down on Capital and Operational Expenditures. To achieve such cost cutting measures, Service Providers are implementing end-to-end integration of B/OSS systems. However, integration implementation is not trivial, as networks are by nature hybrid making such integration complex and difficult to achieve. Realizations within the Service Providers have drawn the conclusion that a number of disparate adapters are required to integrate network elements and element managers with their B/OSS systems. Nevertheless adaptation brings a set of issues such as proprietary implementations, limited use of standards, conformance issues, etc. that provides a limited solution to this challenge. Consolidation of information that unifies various sources through mediation between diverse equipments/systems communicating diverse protocols while hiding its complexity is an effective solution. Such a mediation solution will make the integration trivial and impacting positively towards the economic aspects of the equation. Not having an intimate knowledge of the network equipment, Service Providers are looking to equipment suppliers to solve their end-to-end network infrastructure integration dilemma. In several instances, Service Providers have taken the lead to solve this problem directly or through engaging system integrators. In all such cases, the underlining technology provides a most attractive choice that could rapidly and cost-effectively bring the solution to production.
AdventNet Web NMS Platform is an ideal candidate to provide the underlining technology to deliver mediation solutions to Service Providers at a low-cost while delivering the cost reduction in CapEx and OpEx indexes. With the momentum of cost reduction on the fast track within the Service Providers environment, a number of implementations of mediation utilizing the AdventNet Web NMS have been occurring recently.
Mediation Solution – Business Case
In the existing Service Providers environment, majority of the revenue is consumed in up keeping of the network. Consider a sample of the cost structure below that describes the revenue against operation expenses.
Such unbalance of cost to revenue ratio draws immediate attention to the Service Provider’s bottom-line profitability, making an absolute business case for immediate considerations.
Close examination of the Service Provider’s network bring out the following observations:
The quality of information within the entire Service Provider Network varies widely; some sub-networks are holistic that are built up coherently over many years while, others are built disjoint through acquisitions, independent departments or equipment supplied solutions.
NE capabilities, behavioral models and OAM syntax varies widely within the Service Provider network creating hinders in data mining and development of cross-network applications such as configuration, discovery, etc. Additionally, equipment suppliers attempt to incorporate complex capabilities in NEs, casing the NEs to be divergent.
The goal for Service Provider is to align business processes, data storage and data processing capabilities of the Network to enable applications, which maximize operational efficiency and capital equipment utilizations. To achieve the objective following network optimization need to occur:
Optimize utilization of Idle Capital through - understand the network capabilities and mapping and identifying service capabilities
Optimal Operational Efficiency through - understand the service provisioning and assurance processes and automating service activation and assurance.
Achieving network optimization through mediation of data from several source points differently provides an effective method to align business processes within the Service Provider environment.
Mediation Solution – Business Capabilities
Not all mediation platforms are created equal. Mediation Solution capabilities range from simply connecting multiple switches for voice service to supporting all IP network elements and business models for data. To be successful, Service Providers will require to comprehensive mediation solution that supports not only the current environment, but also future network growth and business models. Mediation flexibility is crucial. Mediation Solution capabilities that must be considered should include:
Revenue Assurance: Ensuring that all revenue-generating activities on the network are correctly and accurately reported. While this may seem trivial, in fact it is an extremely complex process when the network includes IP elements.
Visibility and reporting: Quality of Visibility (QoV) is as important as QoS as it enhances the customer experience and instills confidence of service delivery. Service Providers attach significant importance to providing quality reports to their customers. Reports should be comprehensive and provide fine-grained visibility into services.
Network independence and flexibility: Network independence and flexibility refers to two main issues: implementing a mediation platform that is not limited by the network and the ability of the mediation solution to collect data passively, without impacting network performance.
Support for new business models: The mediation solution must be flexible to support business models required by the market. This includes collecting data from any network elements and, filtering and processing date to meet customer requirements.
Scalability: As newer services are introduced and networks extended or acquired through business acquisitions, business demands are placed on Mediation solution to process enormous amounts of data. This offloads the B/OSS systems of the need to process so much of information thus cutting down on the storage and improvising the overall performance and response time of the business systems. However Mediation Solution, which takes up this role, must be scalable to accommodate services growth.
Mediation Solution – Technical Capabilities
Robust & Highly Available
Applications catering to the Service Provider’s service assurances are critically dependent on the mediation platform to deliver the almost real time data including network fault alerts, performance data. . It is imperative that platform is robust and highly available (99.99%). Customer satisfaction is guaranteed and revenue is assured if applications are able to provide 24/7 end-user service.
Service provider’s business applications will rely on mediation technology to interface with NEs/EMSs and provide them with correlated service information. Mediation layer should provide the protocol abstraction and format data into meaningful business information. In addition it shall seamlessly adapt to newer devices, protocols and business data. This will offload the business applications of the complexity of dealing with diverse protocols and data formats. Also technicians will have a uniform interface to work with while enabling a new service or troubleshooting service degradation. This paves way for higher operational efficiency and overall reduced OpEx apart from customer satisfaction.
Enabling a service often spans multiple networks and also sometimes across service providers. Such service provisioning should not impact business processes. B/OSS systems can relegate the task of network provisioning with all its technological complexity to Mediation layer and focus on customer end of service provisioning. Mediation layer makes service-provisioning network independent which can span multiple networks. In such scenarios, customer service activation is faster and trouble free.
Network auto-discovery & Inventory
Mediation layer should carry auto discovery of networks periodically or on-demand and maintain the inventory up-to-date. This enables service planners to know up front network capacity before any service is committed or when they should go for expansion. This enables efficient utilization Service Provider’s resources resulting operational savings.
Service Providers need to honor the SLAs committed to their customers. Service performance is critically dependent on the performance of the underlying networks. Thus network performance needs to be measured at fine-grained level unobtrusively and reported to B/OSSs. Mediation layer with its ability to collect & correlate data and fault information from various NEs/EMSs can identify service-affecting conditions and convey to operators to take corrective actions.
As new services generate large amounts of data, Mediation solution is required to gather, filter and aggregate information and process data from several active sessions simultaneously. It is also important to persist data for further analysis and future use. Mediation Solution should be scalable to deal with millions of data records without degradation in performance.
Reporting ability is a very important evaluation criterion for Service Provider based solutions. Mediation solution shall offer quality reports; daily, weekly, monthly, service based, customer based etc., Richness of reports is directly linked to the richness of data gathered and correlated. Rather than just reporting on network devices, mediation solution should provide fine-grained visibility into circuit and packet, partner networks, content sources etc.,
AdventNet Web NMS based Mediation Solution
Built on standards and best of the breed open technologies, AdventNet Web NMS provides a robust platform basing, which Mediation Solutions can be built easily at a fraction of cost with reduced time to market. Web NMS platform offers rich set of functionalities, which can form the bedrock of mediation solution.
Web NMS key strengths and capabilities are analyzed below discussing its viability as a sound Mediation Platform.
Web NMS is robust and highly available with its Back-End and Front-End servers deployable in redundant mode. Secondary server on hot stand-by performs heartbeat check and takes over with in seconds of primary failure. This ensures service data availability 99.99%, which is critical to Service Provider’s business.
Faults emanating from network must be reported at once so that service-affecting conditions are rectified. Fault processing systems should not introduce system lag in reporting network events. Web NMS with its ability to notify the operator of any fault arriving at its gates within one second, makes fault notification instant and almost real-time. With Web NMS, processing rate of 450 faults per second is possible ensuring that system does not fail even incase of network event storms.
Web NMS offers rich set of south bound interfaces in form of protocol adaptors. Off-the-shelf, availability of industry standard protocols, SNMP, TL1, CLI and CORBA enables Web NMS to interface with majority of NE/EMSs easily. Also proprietary interfaces so common in Service Provider’s environment can be easily plugged-into Web NMS through elegant and easy-to-use adaptor interfaces.
Network Performance measurement is of critical importance to Service provider’s business. Web NMS ability to gather performance data almost real-time without consuming the network bandwidth makes it an ideal candidate for basing mediation solutions. With its capability to carry out 400 plus SNMP Polls per second, it ensures scalability of system to large deployments.
Web NMS provides a unified platform with integrated FCPS functionalities. Traditional modes of sourcing FCPS components from disparate vendors, is troublesome due to its integration and interoperability issues. Unified platform from a single vendor offers technical as well as commercial benefits. Web NMS FCPS modules are readily customizable to varied technology domains such as ATM, IP-VPN, SONET/SDH, Cable, and Wireless etc. Mediation Solutions built-on Web NMS can leverage its easy technology adoption capability to integrate multi-technology network domains in Service provider environment cost-effectively and readily.
During service activation, mediation solution being the network facing system, has to implement the complex task of provisioning NEs across networks. Mediation Solutions can leverage Web NMS’s flow-through provisioning capability with its rollback and inventory synching algorithms making the actual job of provisioning simple and efficient.
Web NMS performs auto-discovery of networks based on built-in intelligent algorithms. Also it carries out device status checks periodically and updates database. Device unavailability affecting a particular service is immediately notified to the operator. In addition, Web NMS undertakes periodic rediscovery of networks, updates database so that inventory is up-to-date. Mediation Solutions built on Web NMS technology can leverage this feature to provide network planners with real-time inventory views and network capacity.
Service Provider environment is very demanding in its data processing and data storage requirements especially where networks are large and multi-service enabled. Web NMS with its efficient persistent model based on RDBMS technology can offer robust, scalable system that can work with millions of data records. Also Web NMS provides back up and restore functionalities to facilitate disaster recovery.
Web NMS is readily integrable with industry prevalent B/OSS systems such as Remedy ARS Trouble Ticketing System, NMA/TIRKS etc. In addition it offers open northbound interfaces in the form of CORBA, XML, JMX, JMS so that any third party support systems can be easily integrated. Mediation solutions built on Web NMS need not worry on B/OSS integration instead focus on more demanding works.
Web NMS provides rich fault, performance and inventory reports viewable via Web interface. In addition, its sturdy framework allows defining custom views into the data. Mediation solution can leverage this capability to define reports quickly and on-the-fly to meet Service provider requirements.
Web NMS provides an IDE in the form of Web NMS Studio to build application on top of it. Studio is rich in features including enabling project versioning and sharing across multiple users. This significantly reduces the learning curve need for development and enables rapid delivery of solution to market.
Finally, Web NMS is built on standards and open technologies. Web NMS ensures that solutions built on it are geared up to meet not only the current challenges but of future as well.
Business benefits of going with Web NMS are illustrated below.
Standards based and Open technologies
Built-in Protocol Adaptors – TL1, SNMP (v1, v2c, v3), CLI, CORBA
Cost efficient, single vendor
Scalable n-tier architecture
Incremental Integration, suited for large deployments
Built-in FCPS functionality customizable to any technology ATM, MPLS-VPN, Cable etc.
Cost efficient, Single vendor & Reduced time-to-market
Easier B/OSS integration – ARS Remedy, NMA/TIRKs etc.
Web NMS Studio
Faster development cycle
AdventNet has enabled ChungHwa Telecom, a leading Service Provider of telephony, broadband, data communication and wireless in Taiwan in integrating their network infrastructure to achieve operational excellence. ChungHwa ‘s infrastructure composed of broadband access networks and SONET/SDH based transport network.
Building a unified solution meant interfacing with devices/ applications from a variety of equipment suppliers such as NORTEL, Alcatel and NEC etc., Using Web NMS as base platform, ChungHwa Project team was able to build their solution at a fraction of a cost and time compared to other alternatives.
Key features of the solution included seamless integration of xDSL devices, SONET equipment and a host of proprietary devices for fault and performance management. And a web-based unified client was built for consistent and easy visualization of network performance. ChungHwa team leveraged Web NMS features such as standard SNMP, TL1protocol adaptors, ease of plugging-in custom protocols and easy FCPS customizability adapting to any technology domain to cut down their developmental cycle drastically. Web NMS architectural integrity and scalability helped ChungHwa in building a robust solution to meet their business requirements. To quote Ms. Li Hsiou Wu, Chief Researcher at ChungHwa Telecom,
“Using Web NMS, we were able to achieve a closely-knit infrastructure at a fraction of the cost and time compared to other alternatives. With this approach, our network architects and operations personnel can increasingly focus on their core tasks – network planning and design, evolution and operations to extract the highest quality, reliability, availability and performance from our networks, and maximize the ROI from our infrastructure investment”
Currently AdventNet is engaged with a large equipment manufacturer in building mediation solution encompassing their suit of products.