Again first of all thanks to everybody again for the lively feedback I received on the light reading article about Atrinet’s unique contribution to network digitalization http://www.lightreading.com/automation/atrinet-pivots-tackles-hybrid-network-headaches/d/d-id/740543 and my 2 last blogs. In those, I was elaborating a bid on how we enable CSPs to manage hybrid networks. Reflecting on a couple of comments I would like to focus mainly on the question “Why are we so unique in the market?“
To answer this question, I would like to refer to an interesting conversation I had in the last few days with a friend of mine, co-founder of a successful StartUp for virtual routing – a very important cornerstone in the digital transformation of telecom networks. We both agreed that digital transformation is certainly one of the most important and urgent currently ongoing activities in the Telco Industry. Due to the huge amount of legacy systems, it is one of the biggest challenges within this transformation to migrate those embedded systems, as they remain the backbone of almost all large Telco-Networks for next years perhaps even decades.
In the course of the conversation I told him:
“ .. yes with NetAce we can automatically discover and provision:
- practical all static equipment data
- all network services installed
- some very critical dynamic data to identify unused resources, service inconsistencies, and capacity bottlenecks
and this is pretty much independent of the vendor, version, and technology. Using our NetAce we do not need to write any adaptation Software for any network element. This is just not necessary and therefore not foreseen in the concept”.
His reaction was obviously quite skeptical: “ … a lot of companies are claiming such vendor-agnostic capabilities, but so far in most cases in turned out that, when it comes to true legacy cases they need to write this or this piece of adaptation SW and they can just not integrate certain devices. Having such a tool would be kind of having part of ‘Holy grail’ of a successful transformation in your hands.”
Here’s my answer in short form: it is the integrated heritage, a unique model design tool combined with an intelligent UI embraced by a very deep and long-lasting network configuration experience, which makes this possible. Let me go into more detail
Integrated Heritage: the discovery-part of NetAce is a very sophisticated enhancement of a tool (ASPEN), which is already since more than 15 years in several networks in the market. It, therefore, includes not only a huge experience in advanced Network & Service Management but also a huge amount of data of the most important Network Elements (NEs) of practically all known vendors – it has included all MIBs, knows all CLI-commands and speaks all Network access protocols (SNMP, TL1, NETCONF, Rest, SOAP, S/FTP,..). In the seldom case that a NE is not known, it can be integrated within max. 1 hour in the DB of NetAce, with its easy-to-use Device Manager – no adaption SW just modeled according to the respective abstraction rules. So far we have not found any device, which we couldn’t include in less than 1 hour in our Database.
Unique Model Discovery and Design: NetAce can discover not only devices but also almost every service deployed with a specific mechanism which either:
Detects CLI-sequences or NetConf-commands out of the existing configuration status of a specific NE or
reuses command batch-files (often stored in various text files locally) used by administration people at an earlier stage to configure certain services.
Those detected or installed sequences called Network Entities can be used as a kind of Lego-Blocks to design new Services. This design is done in a very intuitive and easy-to-use Design Tool, which automatically makes sure that the syntax is correct, parameters are consistent and have the right range, rules apply, etc. With this Design Tool, new services can be designed and deployed very fast. All devices and services are stored in one consistent big-data type of network inventory.
From our experience we know that the exact same Network Element from exactly the same vendor, with exactly the same software load, can look different and can be used in a slightly different manner when it is installed in the network from operator A compared to one running in the network of operator B. Reasons are because e.g. the different CLI-commands to configure certain NEs have been applied in a different timely sequence. It is the power of NetAce that all those differences can be discovered and incorporated in the transition.
Those capabilities (Device management, Design tool, Service Discovery & Management, Device & Service Repository) are consistently managed by one unified graphical Use Interface. This UI creates a universal and very easy-to-use description of all devices and services – that’s why every device and service can be handled without any software adaptor i.e. codeless.
This type of flexibility allows NetAce to find all services in a brownfield network and transfer any service based on any equipment completely codeless into a new SDN/NFV-world of a Digital Service Provider.
With all those arguments I still could not 100% convince my friend .. so, I offered him a real-life demo of our tool to show him exactly those capabilities.
If you are interested also to understand how this extremely attractive and very unique Discovery + Engine of NetAce works, contact us … to agree to have a demo with you also, and to hopefully convince you too!