How to manage Hybrid Networks – going a bit more into detail.
After a lot of very exiting feedback and a pile of questions as reaction on the latest article on Atrinet’s strategy in Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com/automation/atrinet-pivots-tackles-hybrid-network-headaches/d/d-id/740543 I would like to elaborate a bit more in detail the new and unique way on how we can significantly help to digitalize and automate network and service offering of Communication Service Providers – being it Operators or large Enterprises.
Just to remind the 2 important learnings from Light Reading and my last blog: First for CSP’s on their way to digitalize there network based on NFV and SDN it is unavoidable to offer their services on to of hybrid networks — a mix of multivendor legacy hardware and cloud based next generation virtual functions. Second with NetAce we offer a single software tool to manage exactly those hybrid networks.
Now let me explain in a bid more detail on how we do this?
Discover and Optimize. NetAce discovers the current state of all existing components and resources. First all physical resources: devices, cards, ports, etc. – usually a large variety from different vendors, second all logical resources (connections between devices, VLANs, VRFs, etc.) and finally all services provisioned through this heterogeneous network. Discovery means also storing all this information (equipment data, topologies, services models, etc.) into one consistent real time inventory. This discovery usually discloses already unused or underutilized resources, shows bottlenecks, and inconsistencies in deployed services. NetAce provides first recommendations for optimization, for example, remove bottlenecks or verify service chains. Network administration can execute those optimization tasks.
Enable and execute the transition: Based on this consistent network view new devices, new vendors and new technologies (including virtual network functions) can be onboarded. With its unique service design tool, NetAce can now transition all discovered services into new service models including old and new devices, rules and parameters. All devices, resources and service models are available for the codeless Design Portal of NetAce. So it is very simple to create new service models.
All service models are fitting to the one new network and service view (hybrid mode). Once this transition is enabled it can be executed: the operator initiates through an UI/REST NBI the service/device transition process according to the new design rules, based on the equipment-data out of the newly configured inventory.
Validate: Finally, we run a validation process to make sure that the complete transition has been correctly deployed. This validation process is checking configuration compliance and consistency.
Another beauty of this transition enabling process is the capability to enable mass-configuration with zero touch provisioning (ZTP). Let put ourselves again in the situation after Network Discovery when all devices, resources and service models are available for the codeless Design Portal of NetAce.
We use now NetAce to design one new intelligent ZTP type of service, which predefines on how a certain function or device (the one, which is supposed to be rolled out) should be configured in the existing network as soon as it the respective device or function is discovered in the network. It obviously includes all relevant topology dependencies, network interrogation queries, policies and constraints, instantiation logic, order of configuration, transaction rules etc.
The new device once deployed will automatically get its IP address, perform the upgrade to the latest SW version and restore the startup config (basic ZTP).
Now NetAce discovers this new device(s) and executes this intelligent ZTP-service i.e .provision automatically the complex policy-driven configuration. By the way NetAce automatic discovery of the new device or function can be initiated by an auto-subscription script as part of basic ZTP or via a regular query for new devices in the network.