NetACE – the tool of choice for System Integrators

28 - July 2018

By Stephan Scholz

Simplification and automation are the two key words when it comes to the Digital Transformation of telecom networks – I hope this has become obvious in all of my blogs so far. Following this central theme I would like to address the System Integrators, who are one of the key players in the process of digitalization.

What makes the role of System Integrators so key in Digitization?

Digitization is the key method to simplify, automate and therefore significantly reduce operation costs. It has obviously started in the IT-Industry and is now transforming under the term “Industry 4.0” used across all other industries. The System Integrators used to come from there: they have very practical and deep experience on how IT can help simplify processes, automate tasks and structure everything using digital tools.  They start from the legacy part of the network and then move to the newer parts.  For this kind of a project, the system integrators need to map every piece of equipment, every interface and every service that runs over the equipment. This is a very labor intensive method and they need to abstract and formalize different tasks and tools and rebuild them in a digital and automated world.

This is exactly the task one has in front of himself, when he wants to digitize and automate the operation and maintenance of a complex heterogenous network with a mix of older and newer technologies, equipment and services while the network needs to continue running without any serious interruption. As many of the devices are coming from a long list of vendors – this task is even more complex.  As an additional challenge, the exact status of the network (what services are implemented, which resources are use or unused, etc.)  is often not even known beforehand.

Why is NetACE the tool of choice for System Integrators?

Let’s start with a list of the major challenges a System Integrator has, when he wants to digitize a real live network:

  • Equipment from huge variety of different vendors
  • Very well working and mission critical equipment based on partly outdated technologies together with latest state-of-the-art functions based on SDN or NFV technology
  • Unclear status of the network – what services, resources are used/unused
  • Unclear network topology and inventory
  • Different tools and methods to operate and maintain the network

One could certainly make this list longer, but I guess those are the most important challenges and for each of the challenges NetACE has an answer:

  • With its discovery function NetACE can discover all network resources:
    • Infra/physical: devices, cards, ports, cards, topology links …
    • Logical: VRFs, RT/DTs, VLANs…
    • The actual provisioned services like L2/L3 VPNs, FW-rules
  • NetACE has in its database an off-the-shelf models support for more than 50 vendors and 1000 different devices types and dozens of NMS/EMS systems. In case a completely new vendor shows up you need only 1-2 weeks of modeling work for onboarding this new vendor.
  • With NetACE integrated SDN-izer every legacy device is made to fit into a modern orchestration environment

With NetACE, a System Integration can very simply bridge the gap between legacy network and next generation technology, all this with minimal human labor as most of the tasks are done automatically.  The following are the steps that are required for Digitization and are performed by NetACE:

  • Discover and Analyze what’s in the network
  • Optimize the network so that it will be ready for transition and futureDesign
  • Automate and Execute the transition
  • Finally Validate whether everything has been successfully transferred

Now you could argue that NetACE is a kind of “Swiss Knife Tool” and must be very complex – The answer is no! A person which is a bit familiar with network operations and basic knowledge of network equipment management (so not a super TOSCA, YANG, JAVA, DevOPS expert) can learn NetACE easily within one week. If you do not believe just try it out and sent us some people from you staff to be trained in NetACE. For many System Integrators, NetACE can be the difference between winning and losing of a digital transformation project.

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