Over the recent years, network service orchestration has gained widespread traction from communication service providers (CSPs) all around the world as a means to automate the tedious and error-prone tasks required to configure network devices.
What if the orchestrator could also automate the deployment and configuration of an accompanying service assurance solution, tailored to the specific services being delivered? This is now becoming a reality using a concept called Orchestrated Assurance.
Orchestrated Assurance redefines existing practices that were built on separated workflows for network configuration, service activation testing and service assurance. To bridge the gaps between these workflows, Orchestrated Assurance combines model-driven orchestration and virtual test agents (VTAs) to achieve fully programmable, automated and NFV-enabled service fulfilment and assurance, tightly coupled to each other.
As hardware test equipment and probes are very costly, classical assurance solutions often use device-centric counters, traps and statistics in combination with an out-of-date inventory to produce a poorly correlated estimation of true end-user quality. This drives operational costs, causes frustration and increases risk for churn. Orchestrated Assurance uses software-defined test agents that are easily deployed and un-deployed at the speed of software, at a fraction of traditional costs.
Another well-known challenge is to manage physical test equipment, or probes, required to perform activation tests and ongoing service monitoring. Not only are these devices very expensive – they are commonly tailored to only one specific service, implying that multiple assurance solutions have to be deployed.
Orchestrated Assurance has been brought to the world through an ETSI NFV Proof-of-concept (PoC) supported by Orange, combining Cisco’s service orchestrator, Netrounds’ virtual test agents and Telco Systems’ CloudMetro virtualization device using Intel’s hardware.
The ETSI NFV PoC leverages distributed x86 compute resources as hosts for virtual test agents that perform service activation testing and active network monitoring to ensure services are delivered right first time, and to provide constant measurements of individual end-to-end services, as well as network KPIs and QoS levels. This delivers actionable intelligence for faster problem resolution and insight into delivered service quality.
Orchestrated Assurance is ready for the world – are you? Orchestrated Assurance will premiere at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress in Dusseldorf, Germany, Oct 13-16. Get there to experience Orchestrated Assurance first-hand and live.
Credits to Stefan Vallin at Cisco/Tail-f for contributing to this post, as well as Vadim Rybakov for creating the amazing illustrations.