Now it’s time to start transitioning your traditional test and monitoring deployments to a software-based, end-to-end service assurance solution to take advantage of the cost savings and increased agility promised with software-defined network infrastructures.

Only by integrating service fulfillment and service assurance is it possible to achieve a genuinely orchestrated and assured service delivery process. The key enabler to making this possible is to leverage active, software-based Virtual Test Agents deployed at remote locations and capable of assuring your customers’ end user experience.

Netrounds active Virtual Test Agents are launched as VNF appliances and can be used to integrate service activation tests, quality monitoring and troubleshooting as part of the NFV service orchestration.

Virtual Test Agents may be deployed in an automated fashion by NFV or OSS service orchestrators such as Amdocs NCSO, Ciena Blue Planet, Cisco NSO, HPE NFV Director, Nokia CloudBand, or VMware vCloud Director (or other chosen orchestration partners), or via Openstack Heat Orchestration Templates (HOT).

Benefits:

  • Achieve assured, orchestrated and agile deliveries of network services – in line with the MEF’s Third Network vision
  • Integrate fulfillment and assurance
  • Base decisions on actual end users’ experience instead of passive network statistics
  • Automate deployment of remote active VTA capabilities to eliminate expensive field efforts
  • Gain insight into both virtualized and non-virtualized environments

See the below webinar on the integration of orchestrated service delivery with activation tests and assurance using Virtual Test Agents, jointly presented with Cisco:

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Key Features

Broad hypervisor support

Deploy Netrounds Virtual Test Agents on most common hypervisors, such as KVM, VMware vSphere, Hyper-V and Virtualbox.

Unifying cloud API

Dynamically interact with large numbers of Virtual Test Agents through a unifying cloud API exposed from the Netrounds Control Center.

Multi-purpose VNF VTAs

Use the Virtual Test Agents for SIP, HTTP, IPTV, Y.1564, Y.1731, QoS profiling, remote packet capture and more.

Automated deployment

Use NFV or OSS service orchestrators to automate the deployment of Virtual Test Agents.

Real-time results

Use the cloud API to retrieve live SLS/SLA compliance metrics and other KPIs relating to end user experience and network performance.

Traffic-generating capabilities

Perform orchestrated activation tests and active monitoring from end users’ perspective.

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What is Orchestrated Assurance?

To address the challenges that service providers are facing with service assurance in existing and emerging networks, the concept of Orchestrated Assurance was developed in ETSI NFV PoC #36. The model-driven Orchestrated Assurance methodology is designed to bridge the gap between service fulfillment and assurance, where end-to-end activation tests and monitoring scenarios are defined at the service design stage and automated throughout the full service lifecycle in closed-feedback loops. Orchestrated Assurance is also customer-centric; it allows service providers to assess services the customer is actually using as opposed to collecting passive network device counters for metrics only loosely correlated to real customer experience.

To learn more about Orchestrated Assurance, watch the webinar above or read the solution brief.

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Typical deployment example

Referring to the ETSI MANO stack, Netrounds Virtual Test Agents are launched by any third party NFV Orchestrator that engages with the VNF Manager and the underlying Virtual Infrastructure Manager (VIM) to utilize available compute resources, either in the datacenter locations or on distributed compute nodes located closer to the customers.

Orchestrated deployment of Virtual Test Agents in Openstack is facilitated through the use of Heat Orchestration Templates (HOT) or by NFV orchestrators such as VMware vCloud Director or Cisco’s Network Service Orchestrator. Once VTAs are booted, they are easily controlled by a service orchestrator through the API towards Netrounds Control Center.

As shown above, VTAs are typically deployed on different locations throughout the network. In this example, one VTA is located in the main datacenter location, where a vRouter (or vPE) is deployed too. Then, two other active VTAs are located at distributed VNF Infrastructure (VNFI) nodes, here shown at the gateway towards the radio access network, as well as at the demarcation point of the backhaul network.

How Netrounds fits into the ETSI architectural framework