Regarded mostly as frameworks for component-like network software tools; they were theoretical successes but practical failures. All too often, customers discarded NMS, in favour of management software bundled with devices, servers, operating systems or applications which come –significantly- short of achieving true NMS technology goals.
Some customers went even as far as developing their own custom scripts to meet their own proprietary management criteria. NMS vendors are having to go back to the drawing boards. Despite all of the challenges enterprises and Service Providers alike are recognizing the need to deploy IP management systems as fast as they can to create differentiation and increase revenues. Network management systems are quickly becoming a key networking technology through which new investments as well as key decisions by MIS managers are committed. It is estimated that the market for network management software systems could be reaching $6.6 Billion in 2014 annually and for the United States market alone.
The Network Management market is looking for convergent NMS solutions
There is an increasing demand for the convergence of performance, fault, configuration, security, and availability management solutions today. This is also true at the network management services Level, where convergence of traffic bandwidth management, CPU and Memory resource management, Content and Application management, IP Protocol Process management, Topology management, and Assets and Inventory management and so on. It is also sought at the Protocols management levels where convergence of MPLS, VPNs, OSPF, Frame-Relay, and QoS management to name a few are increasingly critical.
Network and IT executives and administrators, as well as service-provider operations support staff managers seeking an enlightened long-term view of how to invest in management solutions, will have to face and exploit these dynamics as they plan for the near and long-term future. Many IT buyers today wrestle with what solutions to invest in – and how the solutions complement each other – or whether they overlap and duplicate functionality.
Competitive pressures in the fault-management market, competitive pressures in the performance-management market, management processes for troubleshooting and the need to support contextual interdependencies are then the four drivers uniquely behind this convergence. Yet another driver remains, one affecting the management industry even more broadly. This is the desire to consolidate management investments along areas of greater efficiency. For instance, how many intelligent agents and probes will IT be willing to invest in? How can the already extravagant number be reduced? Clearly, if a single investment in polling and instrumentation can address fault and performance management, the cost and administrative savings, as well as the minimized impact on network performance, all argue that this is a winning scenario.
What is needed is an NMS platform that provides by Design- a framework for Convergence.
This platform should internally be composed of an integrated set of Modules. With each Module being network and network management process centric.
White Seagull is such NMS Platform
Along the way, as advances have been made in fault management, root-cause solutions and other types of advanced analytics, the market has become increasingly confused by a variety of terms that often mean different things to different people. These terms, and the ambivalence surrounding them, has also led to convenient marketing campaigns by vendors seeking to differentiate themselves in a manner that, has only added to the high volume of confusion.
Isolating single point of failures, often achieved through event correlation. This “single point” of failure can be a device, or a component of a device, or an application, or a line. “Failure” can mean metrics for availability — IP node up or down — or more complex behavioural aberrations, including those sensitive to performance, user experience and service impact.
Carriers Believe IP Management is the Key to Success
With demand for Web hosting, Internet access, and other IP services soaring, managing IP networks has become a critical requirement for carriers. Carriers and Service Providers look to support billing, provisioning, and customer care for IP networks. There is the clear expectation that IP management systems will create a solid foundation for growth by reducing provisioning cycles, enhancing billing capabilities, and increasing customer satisfaction.
OFF-The-Shelf IP Management is not ready For Prime Time
Because existing systems can’t easily be upgraded to meet the demands of IP networks, carriers and Service Providers have gone in search of off-the-shelf IP management systems. But carriers and Service Providers have found that IP management tools available today require huge integration efforts and lack scale and maturity. In particular, customer demand for dynamic service provisioning is leading Carriers and Service Providers to Invest in Custom Coding to Get Up and Running Quickly
Time-to-market pressures, immature tools available today, and a drive to create concrete differentiation have prompted carriers and Service Providers to build home-grown IP management tools.
Today’s Management Strategies Lack Vision
Over the next few years, carriers and Service Providers will make significant inroads in solving their IP management challenges as software vendors like Syndesis and Orchestream deliver robust provisioning tools and IP quality of service (QoS) standards get baked. However, It is believed that the IP management solutions that carriers and Service Providers will bring to market will address only a narrow segment of their future management requirements. Planned IP management solutions won’t position carriers and Service Providers for future growth because they are:
- Internally focused. Carriers will build IP provisioning, billing, and customer care management systems for their own networks -- but these tools will not offer management features across multiple networks. AT&T’s internal systems will be useless when Gillette demands performance monitoring across multiple carriers.
- Proprietary by design. Carriers expect to create differentiation by customizing off-the-shelf tools, but this approach will further limit interoperability between carriers or between the managed zones within an enterprise. If a carrier modifies the way front-office apps like Remedy accept trouble tickets, it will take weeks of custom coding before any partner can link to its customer care system -- even if the partner also uses Remedy software.
- Inflexible. Carriers have built management systems by cobbling together best-of-breed software packages with spaghetti code. The result? Innovation rates plummet because making any change requires launching a full-scale integration project. To upgrade to the latest version of Portal Software’s billing software, a carrier will need to recode all the links between Portal’s software and other packaged software in the OSS.
- Insecure. Traditionally NMS and the SNMP protocol have been synonymous with clear text open community strings being transferred on the wire as well as saved in the databases of NMS applications without any encryption. In other words; Known and widely used NMS applications are severely unsecured. Historically “compromised security” was sold to customers as the cost of doing network management. Security of SNMP was introduced through SNMP Version 3. Hence the significance of SNMPv3 support is really critical for building secured solutions. It is interesting to mention here that NO serious SNMPv3 based NMS application solutions are available in the market today
E-Business Shatters Today’s internally Focused Management Model
Carriers’ myopic focus on internal management systems will keep them from thriving in an eBusiness world where companies form and disband partnerships frequently. E-Business will force carrier management systems to be more outward facing as:
- Extranets demand multi-carrier environments. Instead of connecting partners with a mishmash of networks that offer different service-level agreements (SLAs), Clients will force carriers to partner for out-of-region access and deliver a single global SLA. To do this, UUNET will need software that can monitor and manage service over its own VPN network, as well as over the last-mile links from other carriers.
- E-Marketplaces require dynamic partner support. Net marketplaces will expect carriers to be able to add or delete partners instantly, even if these partners reside on different carrier networks. If e-STEEL asks AT&T to set up a partner link in Tokyo, AT&T’s system must be able to communicate in real time with NTT’s management system to request and provision a VPN circuit.
- Telecom specialists need an end-to-end view of the customer to distinguish between different types of applications. Carriers and Service Providers have traditionally charged for their services on the basis of bandwidth, usage, or distance. As IP services gain traction, carriers and Service Providers will look to boost revenues through application-aware billing. Instead of charging a flat rate for a DSL line, Qwest will need a system that can bill for a 15-minute Sega gaming session with gold priority.