Performance Management for Next- Generation Networks

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1 Performance Management for Next- Generation Networks Definition Performance management for next-generation networks consists of two components. The first is a set of functions that evaluates and reports on the behavior of telecommunications equipment and the effectiveness of the network or network element. The second is a set of various subfunctions that includes gathering statistical information, maintaining and examining historical logs, determining system performance under natural and artificial conditions, and altering system modes of operation. Overview This tutorial is a guide for service providers who seek to enhance the performance of their networks. It discusses the challenges service providers face in managing network performance and the key functional areas of performance management. Topics 1. Why Do Service Providers Require Performance Management? 2. What Is the Future of Performance Management? 3. What Are the Key Functional Areas of Performance Management? 4. What Challenges Do Service Providers Face When Integrating a Performance Management Solution? Self-Test Correct Answers Glossary 1. Why Do Service Providers Require Performance Management? The world of telecommunications network management is undergoing a revolution, one that will make or break a service provider's business. This revolution, brought on by the convergence of network architectures and

2 technologies and an increase in demand for services with new performance characteristics, demands that service providers go beyond the traditional fault management approach to performance management. Service providers must now manage their network resources to optimize the performance of the services they deliver a fundamental change that demands an integrated performance management solution. Sophisticated customers require complex, custom solutions. To meet these demands, service providers must utilize a multitude of technologies, including synchronous optical network (SONET), asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), frame relay, time division multiplex (TDM), and Internet protocol (IP). Consequently, these converging networks can no longer be managed by autonomous silos in the network landscape. Only a truly integrated performance management system can encompass all relevant technologies from the voice and data worlds. Unlike static TDM networks, traffic volume directly impacts the performance and output of ATM and IP networks. There is a constant need to monitor and manage traffic levels and concurrent network congestion to optimize its performance. With the ability to constantly monitor and manage traffic levels, service providers can then guarantee levels of service to their customers. 2. What Is the Future of Performance Management? Today's service providers must maintain a competitive edge by deploying more equipment to accommodate additional capacity requirements and by guaranteeing service quality. Most of all, however, service providers must put performance management applications to the test. These providers must be able to monitor ongoing physical network performance effectively, analyze its data to correlate end-to-end service performance, and take action based on a complete understanding of network behavior. The ability to direct network performance effectively can be achieved with an application that allows service providers to orchestrate the operation. The application must monitor network performance, analyze relevant data, and direct network action accordingly. Using an integrated performance management solution, service providers can effectively demonstrate their ability to deliver high-performance services in terms that their customers will understand. 2/13

3 3. What Are the Key Functional Areas of Performance Management? An ideal performance management solution must be platform independent and extensible as well as able to provide integrated, total network coverage. The ideal solution must allow service providers to monitor ongoing physical network performance, analyze its data to correlate end-to-end service performance, and, finally, to take action based on a complete understanding of network behavior, as shown in Figure 1. To ensure that customers are getting what they pay for, service providers must employ service level agreements (SLAs). With SLAs, service providers understand what their customers expect, and, by means of a customeroriented tracking system, can effectively prove performance. Service providers who succeed will be those who deploy services that consistently perform at high levels and who communicate that performance to their customers. Figure 1. An Integrated Network and Service Performance Management Solution Complete performance management must drill down through each layer of network technology. With an integrated view of deployed technology, service providers will be able to recognize the impact of performance management on their customers. With performance management, customers will be able to understand how their service is operating, while service providers will be able to improve network infrastructure upgrade planning to better accommodate their customer's evolving needs. Without this kind of solution, service providers cannot effectively prove that they honor their SLAs an inability that may provoke some customers to switch service providers. 3/13

4 4. What Challenges Do Service Providers Face When Integrating a Performance Management Solution? Deploying applications in a service provider environment creates rigorous demands on network infrastructure and network operations staff. While seemingly obvious, this observation is often lost on application vendors who attempt to migrate solutions from the corporate enterprise space to the public carrier space. Application vendors see service providers as easy targets for large purchase orders. However, these vendors often see their applications fail when they attempt to deploy them in complex network environments. The service provider/carrier environment differs from that of an enterprise environment in three ways. First, a service provider's environment must scale to support extraordinarily large and complex networks networks that often support thousands of demanding users. Second, the environment must be flexible enough to support rapidly changing technologies and the requirements of diverse groups of users. Third, the service provider's environment must be able to integrate diverse applications easily to help reduce operational cost and automate network management processes. If a performance management application is to meet these demands, it must use sophisticated data warehousing techniques in tandem with intelligent object modeling and graphical analysis tools in a common object request broker architecture (CORBA) based environment. Scalability There are two key aspects to scalability requirements: the size of the networks being managed and the number of users. Service providers create extreme demands on both dimensions, as shown in Figure 2. Figure 2. Scalability Requirements 4/13

5 Service provider networks scale to orders of magnitude larger than enterprise networks. A typical enterprise network may actively monitor tens or hundreds of network objects, including routers and switches. However, an enterprise network pales in comparison to that of a service provider, which monitors thousands to millions of objects. Large enterprise networks that resemble small service providers are the exception. Service providers have a wide range of technologies to manage, including SONET/SDH, ATM, IP, and frame relay. As a result of the complexity and fundamental importance of the services they carry, service providers dedicate abundant human and financial resources to monitor the performance of their network. Within an enterprise, there are usually only a limited number of users who gather summary data and present it to their managers and executives. These users are usually centralized in an information technology (IT) functional group. Therefore, the total number of concurrent users in an enterprise system might range from one to two and may reach as many as ten. An enterprise that reaches 100 concurrent users is an exception. In contrast, hundreds of users access network performance information internally within a service provider's environment. Extranet applications deliver network performance information to customers and reach hundreds of thousands of users in multiple groups throughout the organization. Flexibility Enterprise IT departments have a uniform set of requirements for a performance management solution. However, service providers must take a wide range of relevant parties into consideration as a result of an extraordinarily large range of performance management needs, including network operations, planning and engineering, management and executives, marketing and sales, and customers. Consequently, the performance management solution that a service provider chooses to integrate with its environment must be correspondingly flexible. The demands multiple groups create are diverse, as they include the need for both real-time and historical data analysis, along with the need to forecast performance trends for complete networks, subdomains, specific technologies, and the services of specific customers. With the rapid pace of change in technology and service provider organizations, these demands can be unpredictable. On occasion, individual departments deploy solutions for a specific purpose without considering organization-wide requirements. While the chosen application may satisfy short-term requirements, frustration will mount over time as other departments within the organization inherit an application that is not designed to satisfy everyone's needs. 5/13

6 Integration Deploying a solution that can satisfy the diverse range of users without increasing operational costs requires applications that can be readily integrated into the operational environment. Enterprise systems tend to be smaller and more centralized than their service provider counterparts, which makes them easier to monitor and allows for control of the less mission-critical applications they deliver during the deployment of a new solution. The large number of systems within a service provider make the problem more complex. Service providers require seamless integration to deploy new services without manual intervention. Therefore, performance management systems must integrate and interwork with ordering and provisioning, billing, workflow, and trouble-administration systems, among others. It is essential that a performance management solution offer a clean, well-defined interface strategy based on accepted standards such as CORBA. Conclusion Service providers must deploy carrier-class solutions to meet their performance management requirements. Short-term solutions based upon enterprise applications are often not scalable or flexible, nor can they be easily integrated into increasingly complex environments. Self-Test 1. Performance management is not required because networks and technologies change so quickly. a. true b. false 2. What is the advantage of integrated performance management across multiple technologies? a. less software to buy and maintain b. interdependency of technologies requires the ability to correlate all existing technologies to understand cross impacts c. minimal amount of management overhead d. better operability among big systems than many small ones 6/13

7 7/13

8 d. generate more reports at the end of the month 7. Enterprise and service provider performance management needs are different and cannot be solved using the same approach. a. true b. false 8. What problems arise when a performance management system does not have enough flexibility? a. users will get used to limited functionality b. frustration mounts for users with requirements that cannot be satisfied c. two or three different systems will be needed to meet all the needs d. there is no problem with limited flexibility 9. Who needs access to performance management information from service providers? a. the internal IT group b. a small group of selected users c. various users from many different organizations, including external customers d. one or two operations staff 10. Why is integration with other systems important in service provider environments? a. the internal IT groups of service providers are always looking for more projects b. the other systems are too expensive to maintain c. there are not enough clerical resources to perform multiple data entry in multiple systems d. manual updates are minimized and operational costs are contained 8/13

9 Correct Answers 1. Performance management is not required because networks and technologies change so quickly. a. true b. false See Topic What is the advantage of integrated performance management across multiple technologies? a. less software to buy and maintain b. interdependency of technologies requires the ability to correlate all existing technologies to understand cross impacts c. minimal amount of management overhead d. better operability among big systems than many small ones 3. Why do dynamic packet networks require a different style of performance management than more static TDM networks? a. they transmit information faster b. they tend to break more often and are much more difficult to troubleshoot c. in dynamic networks, the actual traffic level affects overall performance d. customers using packet networks must receive traffic statistics to understand how their applications are working See Topic How is performance management scalability different for enterprise and service provider systems? a. networks are more expensive for enterprise customers, and growth is difficult to predict accurately 9/13

10 b. more users require performance information from service providers c. usually bigger and more complex, the networks managed by service providers provide information to a wide variety of users with different requirements d. they are the same 5. What are the main differences between service provider and enterprise performance management requirements? a. scalability b. flexibility c. integration d. all of the above e. none of the above 6. What is the purpose of an SLA between a service provider and its customers? a. objectively capture all aspects of the commitments between the service provider and the customers b. provide the basis for credits and refunds c. create more work for the service provider operations staff d. generate more reports at the end of the month 7. Enterprise and service provider performance management needs are different and cannot be solved using the same approach. a. true b. false 10/13

11 8. What problems arise when a performance management system does not have enough flexibility? a. users will get used to limited functionality b. frustration mounts for users with requirements that cannot be satisfied c. two or three different systems will be needed to meet all the needs d. there is no problem with limited flexibility 9. Who needs access to performance management information from service providers? a. the internal IT group b. a small group of selected users c. various users from many different organizations, including external customers d. one or two operations staff 10. Why is integration with other systems important in service provider environments? a. the internal IT groups of service providers are always looking for more projects b. the other systems are too expensive to maintain c. there are not enough clerical resources to perform multiple data entry in multiple systems d. manual updates are minimized and operational costs are contained 11/13

12 Glossary API An application programming interface is the software interface to system services or software libraries. This term is used in a general sense to indicate a detailed software interface. An API usually includes routine declarations, data structures, and tasks structures as well as detailed documentation describing each item. ATM Asynchronous transfer mode is a high-throughput packet-switching protocol that provides statistical multiplexing, broadband (multimegabit) data rates, multiple virtual circuits per network access, and flexible bandwidth per connection. CORBA Common object request broker architecture is the standard promoted by the Object Management Group (OMG) for distributed object computing. CORBA allows for the interoperability of object-oriented software systems residing on disparate platforms. IP Internet protocol is a data link protocol that connects separate networks into a seamless whole. Each individual node is given a unique Internet address. IP can run over a variety of physical media, including serial lines, Ethernet, token ring, and FDDI. Various protocols run on top of it, such as transmission control protocol (TCP) and user datagram protocol (UDP). NMS A network management system is a system that provides management for a collection of network elements and connections between network elements. OSS An operation support system is a system that directly supports the daily operations of a telecommunications infrastructure. An example of an OSS is a trouble ticket system. QoS The quality of service is the ability to define a level of performance in a system. For example, ATM networks specify modes of service that ensure optimum performance for traffic, such as real-time voice and video. SLA A service level agreement is a contractual agreement between a service provider and a service user that specifies the minimum level of performance of a telecommunications service. 12/13

13 SONET A synchronous optical network is an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) fiber-optic network specification. It defines digital hierarchy levels at multiples of 52 Mbps synchronous transport signal level 1 (STS 1), ranging from 51.8 Mbps to 2.5 Gbps. A point-to-point dedicated service supporting n * 52 Mbps connectivity over fiber-based facilities (typically, n = 1, 3, 12). TDM Time-division multiplexing is the combination of lower-speed data streams onto a higher-speed interface by dividing the higher-speed interface into timeslots (that is, each lower speed data stream receives an equal share of the higher-speed interface). 13/13

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