Netrounds and ADVA collaborate to tackle end-to-end visibility and assurance across hybrid environments   

End-to-end visibility can mean a lot of different things depending on who you ask. However, when it comes to customer experience, it can only mean one thing — showing how an individual customer experiences the services you offer.

In the past, the industry has attempted to establish an end-to-end view of a service by first using the device inventory to identify which pieces of network equipment contribute to an individual customer’s end-to-end path. This device information has then been used to retrieve infrastructure-centric counters that belong to the identified network equipment. The problem with this is that these counters lack fine-grained time resolution — and even worse — they are often aggregated and consolidated on a network-wide level, which effectively masks any valuable information that you have managed to pull.

Undoubtedly, the biggest challenge has been to create a mapping function from these counters to an individual customer’s service. Creating this mapping is a like solving an equation with too many unknowns — it is basically impossible to find a solution.

To make the situation even worse, many inventories are out of date, and network changes are occurring at an ever-increasing rate. This makes the above mapping method doomed to fail.

To achieve true end-to-end visibility active measurements from the customer’s perspective are required. This end-to-end assurance means that real traffic is sent on the wire, mimicking a customer using the service. In modern networks, using Ethernet Access Devices (EADs), it is possible to use standardized and built-in functionality for active measurements between two end-points. Two common methods of doing so are based on either ITU-T Y.1731 for Ethernet/Layer2 or IETF RFC 5357 TWAMP for IP/Layer3.

For a cloud service however, the path between the EADs is only one of three segments you are required to cover in order to obtain visibility end-to-end, as shown in the diagram below.

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Previously, these segments from the EAD to the enterprise and to the cloud service provider’s data center have been opaque, making full, end-to-end visibility and assurance difficult to achieve, if not impossible. Additionally, there is a lot of plumbing and machinery inside the data center, and the applications, where the customer is interacting, reside on virtualized infrastructure. This means that networking, compute and storage are all software-defined. In order to bring visibility into the data center, it is required to use software-based test and assurance capabilities inside that virtualized environment, preferably being orchestrated and managed using methods as specified in ETSI NFV MANO.

Likewise, it is equally important to get visibility into the enterprise environment. This environment can be very sophisticated and include a multitude of networking technologies, spanning across a large number of multinational WAN links. It is therefore very important that the test and assurance capabilities are conveniently distributed as software packages across countries.

In order to achieve complete end-to-end assurance and gain visibility from the enterprise all the way to the data center, your assurance solution must concurrently support physical and virtual network domains and it must be able to actively test both the network and service layers to reflect the true end-to-end experience.

At the upcoming Network Virtualization & SDN Asia, co-located with 5G Asia, in Singapore (September 27-28, 2016), Netrounds and ADVA will showcase a never before seen joint solution demonstration for quality assurance from the edges at the enterprise locations all the way to the virtualized application environment inside the data center. This is what we call Virtualized End-to-end Cloud Service Assurance, shown below.

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Visitors to the demo will learn how they can cut costs, reduce problem resolution times and deliver services faster with software-based test and assurance solutions. This improves customer experience due to the real-time visualization of quality across hybrid environments. The joint solution, created through a collaboration between Netrounds and ADVA, demonstrates comprehensive active testing of network (TWAMP, Y.1731) and service performance (HTTP, IPTV, SIP).

If you are attending SDN Asia, visit Netrounds and ADVA in the exhibition hall to see the live demo first hand! If you have any questions or would like to like to set up a meeting at the show, please let me know at info@netrounds.com or visit www.netrounds.com.

We look forward to seeing you in Singapore!

Mats Nordlund, CEO & Co-founder, Netrounds