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Making Ethernet music

Editorial Type: Opinion     Date: 01-2014    Views: 1490   

Nan Chen, Co-founder of CENX explains why service orchestration for Ethernet transport networks can beat the data challenge

In a tier-one mobile backhaul network, a million events per minute is a typical volume of data being generated from the myriad of network elements and operational tools. This includes fault notifications, alarms and service OAM (Operations Administration and Maintenance) test results. That's a lot of data for network operations to interpret, and they need to be sure of its reliability and accuracy.

While Carrier Ethernet (CE) offers a myriad of variables to support a diverse range of transport services, it also brings greater complexity than the relatively simple TDM-based alternative. When service providers turn up CE circuits, often only 20% are successful first time. The remaining 80% fall-out is largely related to significant inventory inaccuracy. It can often take over 100 days to turn up a circuit and this makes it extremely difficult to add capacity and meet customer demands.

There is help though. A new generation software tool specifically designed for a fast evolving CE service environment can addresses the overwhelming data complexity using web 2.0 and big data correlation and analytics to aggregate fragmented data within a services information model. The resulting data is actionable regardless of vendor, network or OSS data source. Within a single screen, the operator can visualise end-to-end inter-carrier CE services using a geographic map resolving to individual circuit paths including off-net circuits. Integrating automation and human actions the system allows faster, more flexible ordering, provisioning and auditing of end-to-end multi-carrier services.

Caroline Chappell, Senior Analyst at Heavy Reading thinks, "Service providers are being pushed to accelerate the delivery of Ethernet services to meet rising customer expectations. To turn services up faster and manage them efficiently through their lifecycle, service providers need a coherent, end-to-end view of network topology, the ability to programmatically configure the network and high levels of automation. New service orchestration software solutions provide the critical layer of network abstraction and automation that address these requirements, leveraging existing network data sources in a non-disruptive way and making the network more software-defined and agile."

The software operates above the OSS layer to provide a non-disruptive solution that leverages existing legacy systems. Services are orchestrated across the entire Ethernet lifecycle, including design, build and assurance services. The solution also supports a future transition to SDN because it can work with SDN controllers and applications as a further source of data for the services information model.

A choice of software and services modules allows the system to be tailored to specific needs and business models. For example, the operator can visualise CE services, to ensure continuous inventory integrity, automate order and provisioning functions, sectionalise faults to reduce MTTR and accelerate accurate SLA and capacity management.

This ability to visualise so much data using a single interface can provide major business benefits including automation of inter-carrier ordering and circuit provisioning to reduce OPEX, modernisation of workflows and accelerated service turnup. You can provide authoritative proof of SLA performance because you know exactly how the circuits provided by access partners are performing and this is vital for high value VoLTE and video applications that demand detailed service assurance with real-time management of jitter and latency. Being able to verify which circuits are operational and to ensure that you are getting what you are paying for helps to reduce cost leakage, especially when service providers turn down aging TDM circuits and turn up Carrier Ethernet.

Even with 1million events per minute data is no longer the problem. It's having the right tools to make sense of that data that counts. Being able to create an authoritative and accurate information model to orchestrate the mission-critical Ethernet connectivity services are critical because these services power application delivery to enterprises and consumers. NC

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