Information technologists in all industries face tremendous challenges every day trying to efficiently manage and deliver network services in support of strategic and operational initiatives. The network has evolved from being merely an infrastructure component to being foundational to mission critical processes, services and overall business success. This means IT organizations now need to seamlessly support new initiatives and architectures that place ever increasing demands on the network, particularly at the constantly changing network edge.
As managed service providers (MSPs), systems integrators, and direct enterprises look to meet the critical business initiatives of today, an essential component most certainly includes high levels of customer/enduser satisfaction. In this shift to customer-centricity, service delivery takes center stage. The challenge facing network managers today is to deploy new services while at the same time maintain support for legacy services, deliver new services optimally and finally management of these services.
The evolution of the service delivery-focused network reflects how companies are starting to appreciate how much the exciting new technologies like VoIP, wireless, streaming media and others tax the network and how their end-users have come to rely on 24/7 accessibility to these technologies from anywhere on the planet. Keeping a company’s end-users productive and satisfied takes a well-designed service delivery strategy.
WHITE PAPER Successful Service Delivery Has Foundations In Network Management Untitled Document www.entuity.com WHITE PAPERSuccessful Service Delivery Has Foundations In Network Management Information technologists in all industries face tremendous challenges every day trying to efficiently manage and deliver network services in support of strategic and operational initiatives. The network has evolved from being merely an infrastructure component to being foundational to mission critical processes, services and overall business success. This means IT organizations now need to seamlessly support new initiatives and architectures that place ever increasing demands on the network, particularly at the constantly changing network edge. As managed service providers (MSPs), systems integrators, and direct enterprises look to meet the critical business initiatives of today, an essential component most certainly includes high levels of customer/end-user satisfaction. In this shift to customer-centricity, service delivery takes center stage. The challenge facing network managers today is to deploy new services while at the same time maintain support for legacy services, deliver new services optimally and finally management of these services. The evolution of the service delivery-focused network reflects how companies are starting to appreciate how much the exciting new technologies like VoIP, wireless, streaming media and others tax the network and how their end-users have come to rely on 24/7 accessibility to these technologies from anywhere on the planet. Keeping a company s end-users productive and satisfied takes a well-designed service delivery strategy. This white paper takes a look at service delivery and how a network management system (NMS) is a prerequisite in achieving the maximum ROI from all implemented services along with maintaining customer satisfaction. We will look at how an NMS effectively helps: To deploy and manage services Deal with inventory and asset management issues In capacity planning To manage the myriad of network details and much more. A properly understood and operational network adds value to the service delivery approach and supports the business drivers to remain competitive in the marketplace. Introduction Jeffrey Nudler of Enterprise Management Associates hits home with a sobering statistic on the business value delivered by today s networks: "With an average loss of 140,000/minute of downtime, few enterprises can afford the risk of persistent network instability or catastrophic failure." At these levels, even brief outages in services can wipe out any positive growth activities in any company. What does it take to tackle service delivery activities without the possible implication or increased probability of network downtime? Visibility of what s on a network, how devices are connected and monitoring network devices are a start. A network management system helps maximize network investments with a means to see device connection relationships and the services that run on those devices; it builds a strong, viable network and also provides the tools to monitor the network to reduce the chances of catastrophic failure. Service delivery and service management can be broken down into three major components: Provisioning new services Delivery of new services Management of services. A robust network management system can significantly simplify and improve efficiency in each of these areas of service delivery and service management. Provisioning New Services Automated auto-discovery for up-to-date device inventory Before adding new services to any network, it is imperative to have an accurate knowledge of the supporting physical IT infrastructure and how it is connected. An up-to-date inventory of network devices and their connections is required in order to determine what resources exist, which are being used, their capacity limitations and where they are located on the network. You cannot design for new services if you do not know what you have. When a network becomes so large that you can no longer visualize it or manually maintain it accurately on a spreadsheet, automated Untitled Document www.entuity.com WHITE PAPERdiscovery and management tools are key to staying apprised with what s on the network. An on-demand connectivity view and detailed infrastructure information aid compliance policies. Extensive information available for inventoried devices Beyond automating tedious tasks, network management software more accurately maintains inventory, and compared to staff expense, can be more cost-effective. Network management software gives you central and accurate visibility to device issues that can impact service delivery. For example, IOS software revision now you will know what routers need new software updates before moving forward. Details including modules and their serial numbers, part number, version numbers, and patch levels are stored to enhance provisioning planning. An NMS captures data and makes it readily available. Best practices and compliance Uniform provisioning parameters can be set and adhered to allowing for implementation of correct SLA and QoS procedures and policies. This means an office in San Francisco follows the same rules as an office in Amsterdam. For example, it is especially important with IP-based services like VoIP where there is no masking bad voice quality; therefore a set of QoS procedures is critical to ensure high-quality voice services. An NMS can help to enforce procedures by monitoring events to see if service levels are being met or if they are even realistic with what is available on your network. Fundamental tenets of any service delivery or service management best practices such as ITIL rely on the concept of accurate inventory data that is precise from the start from which to develop a framework. An NMS delivers the trusted resource for correct network infrastructure data. In these days of corporate financial disclosure and personal privacy concerns, compliance (Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPPA, et al) and security policies need to be assigned and followed. Network management software is integral in keeping compliance activities on the straight and narrow. Knowledge (and notification) of rogue devices being connected to a network is critical for security policy implementation, and proof that no unauthorized device connections or routes of access took place is key to compliance. An NMS can alert for any changes made to a network red flagging areas to be reviewed that will impact your network and compliance policies. Real-time QoS details help validate network service performance. Headroom for IP-based services An NMS should have the ability to support emerging business critical technologies like VoIP, wireless, video-conferencing, MPLS VPNs etc. These services require much more complex provisioning and on going tracking as they generally share transmission space. Capacity planning with a core-to-end view of the network is mandatory to ensure all applications get the bandwidth necessary for them to perform at their best. Using current and historical threshold management and tracking capabilities ensure even transient service delivery issues are averted. Untitled Document www.entuity.com WHITE PAPERDelivery of New Services Asset Management & Financial Management Whether it is a large-scale network upgrade or new service deployment, asset management and planning must be done far more rigorously today than in the past. Fiscal responsibilities have collided with new technologies and services. Budgets demand that new procurements must be prioritized, proven, mapped against business initiatives, and justified at a much deeper level than before. New services validation requires that asset management include more detailed historical, current, and future network characteristics such as: Formal detailed reports that illustrate past and current capacity, as a foundation for forecasted capacity, to enable budgeting and procurement justification Analysis of what s there and what's spare : before adding a device to increase capacity, are there unused devices and/or spare capacity elsewhere on the network? If so, can they be re-allocated? Conversely, you will wish to have adequate, but not excessive spare capacity, in case of failures and emergencies. Risk management and amelioration goes hand-in-hand with asset optimization. Performance Are the new services working as prescribed? New services tend to be viewed as hiccups they rarely initially live up to the hype. Network managers and a robust NMS can ensure that new services are implemented correctly and perform as projected using a visual display of change alarms on the network and performance impact relationships. This on-demand visualization of inventory, fault, and performance relationships will note actionable events and help see where there are issues to be resolved. Potential service impacting network anomalies can be proactively addressed before causing service brownouts or outages. Performance Reporting What needs to be adjusted? Network statistics reporting capabilities ensures that your IT infrastructure is optimally deployed and fully utilized. An NMS that has customized reporting abilities can show overall network availability and performance in the format most useful to their individual business users. Acting like a control center, these customized metrics are monitored and graphically displayed keeping network managers up to date facilitating proactive and predictive network capacity planning. It delivers concrete data on service consistency, service responsiveness and service availability clearly making known where improvements can be made or where deployment has been a resounding success. Detailed reports document service levels. Service Maintenance A Refined View There are enough distractions in IT and once new services are online maintenance becomes the new focus. IT Managers need to have the information necessary to make the right decisions based on accurate network device data instantly. Devices need to be earmarked showing basic maintenance data such as name, location, modules and their serial numbers, part number, version numbers, IOS versions, etc. which is necessary information in order to support them. When you call a vendor to request a return authorization or support for a device or module that has failed, they require the serial number. But if that device is down, how do you get the serial number without physically Untitled Document www.entuity.com WHITE PAPERauditing it? The longer the device is down, the longer business services are impacted. An up-to-date list of devices in service can save on maintenance costs. If a device fails and you didn t know it was in service, it probably wasn t under maintenance either. When you call for support, the remediation costs may be far larger for an out-of-maintenance device. Detailed information on known devices, which is critical for simple day-to-day maintenance, is required as well. If a new network application requires a minimum revision of IOS for all devices of a certain type, it can be a management nightmare to verify that all devices are up to rev, something an automated inventory management solution can provide. Troubleshooting and change on the network Historical information is imperative for troubleshooting activities. An NMS should provide historical data to aid in analysis of outages and impact of service quality. Root cause data will help to shorten MTTR and keep the end-user experience at satisfied levels. Historical data quickly displays trends. Real-time notification of inventory changes is also critical to determine the source of problematic network events. All network administrators know that the source of 80% of problems is change. That is why the first question asked when responding to a trouble ticket is always, What has changed? A device may have been moved, system configuration parameters may have been changed, or its firmware may have been upgraded. Integration capabilities with industry leaders A robust NMS should also be able to integrate seamlessly with other important management applications such as configuration management or service desk/help desk management. After all, it is the complete picture that an IT organization is responsible for and the sharing of pertinent data across multiple applications will streamline IT monitoring and better validate performance, availability, and service delivery. Integration with other management systems like helpdesk applications improves MTTR and overall service delivery. Conclusion From the examples above, it should be clear that a network management system is not a convenience or nice-to-have ; it is a prerequisite to the most important service delivery initiatives businesses are implementing today. A NMS helps to manage legacy and new services with the ability to view the entire network including the resources available for provisioning, procurement, troubleshooting and future expansion needs. Network management allows for IT to administer high levels of customer satisfaction with an efficient and well-run infrastructure. First-rate network management goes without saying that you know what you have and how well it is performing. It is the only way to keep networks running at peak efficiency to successfully deliver the services of today and tomorrow. Untitled Document www.entuity.com WHITE PAPERAppendix A: Eye of the Storm Discovery Capabilities Entuity s EYE of the Storm (EYE) provides automated, continuous discovery, gathering deep, detailed, network inventory and topology information, in addition to managing and reporting on performance and fault data. EYE device knowledge includes device characteristics such as IOS, RAM, buffers, software version and serial number, as well as topological knowledge such as parent-child dependencies and peer-to-peer relationships. The EYE CMDB enables EYE's intelligent discovery function to know in advance what data to seek. It includes out-of-the-box data models for hundreds of managed devices, including Ethernet switches, routers, hubs and non-traditional equipment such as Firewalls, VPN Gateways, Servers, and applications such as VoIP CallManagers. Because the EYE management system is data, vendor, and technology agnostic, it can be applied to any IT environment. It also is agentless, so there is less bandwidth overhead and more efficiency. The following inventory and topological data is discovered and maintained in a continuous and automated process by EYE. Types of Polling EYE analyzes network layers 2 and 3 and layer 4 application services and uses Data Gathering Methods that are device specific, including: 1. SNMP polling 2. SYSLOG events 3. SNMP traps 4. PING 5. TCP port probing. Detection of Devices and Device Types EYE s continual, automated discovery searches and puts under management: 1. Ethernet switches 2. Routers 3. Hubs 4. IBM BladeCenters 5. Servers (Windows, Unix, Linux) 6. Firewalls 7. VPN Gateways 8. Applications (e.g., Cisco CallManager). Inventory Characteristics EYE discovers, manages, and tracks changes to the following network device characteristics: Modules Version Number Model number Serial number Backplane ID Processors Hardware version Firmware version Software version Physical ports Description Location RAM Buffers Memory pools NVRAM Frame Relay DLCIs ATM VCCs. Submodules: Description Model number Slot number HW/FW/SW version List of ports. Topology EYE provides end-to-end visibility of the network topology, recording and reporting on: Dependencies of parent-child and peer-to-peer relationships Logical and physical connections such as WAN circuit connectivity (layers 2 and 3) and Ethernet switch port to host connectivity Mapping of physical connectivity Business Impact of degraded or failed devices Depth of Polling The EYE polling engine looks at every device with six levels of depth: 1. Module states the status of each module 2. Interface states availability and degradation levels 3. Chassis states how modules talk to each other in the backplane 4. Environmental states including all fans and power supplies 5. Switch/Server relationships which ports are needed to allow a server to function 6. Application responsibility which applications are running on which servers and their impactUntitled Document www.entuity.com WHITE PAPERNorth American Headquarters North American Regional EMEA Headquarters 8 West 38th Street, 8th Floor 4 Mount Royal Avenue 9a Devonshire Square New York, NY 10018 Suite 240 London, EC2M 4YN Toll Free: 1 800 926 5889 Marlborough, MA 01752 T: +44 (0)20 7444 4800 T: +1 212 489 5733 T: +1 508 357 6346 F: +44 (0)20 7444 4808 F: +1 212 489 8729 F: +1 508 357 6358 Eye of the Storm Summary The Entuity" Eye of the Storm (EYE) management solution delivers network control and predictability that enables MSPs, systems integrators, and direct enterprise customers to deploy and manage IP services, reduce network downtime, meet service level commitments and ensure network configuration compliance. EYE uniquely provides automated, continual discovery of network infrastructure inventory and connectivity to maintain an up to date knowledge base of the network from the core to the edge. Coupled with powerful integrated fault and performance management capabilities and real-time notifications to physical network changes, critical business initiatives can be effectively deployed and efficiently maintained. The rich historical information captured within the EYE integrated CMDB can also be a source to other management solutions, such as configuration, application, or systems management programs, participating in an end-to-end management solution. Entuity s customers include Global 2000 companies solving mission-critical business initiatives, leveraging complex and dynamic network environments. A sampling includes: ABB, ABN-AMRO, Astra Zeneca, Bloomberg, Clifford Chance, Cooperative Financial Services, Deutsche Bank, First Horizon, IBM Global Services, MAN Financial, Morgan Stanley, SAP, Sony, Square D, Switch & Data, TIAA-CREF, University of Minnesota, and Verizon. Eye of the Storm Integrated Network Suite EYE provides a succinct suite of the most important functionality for network management, presented in an easy to use, quick to deploy format. EYE delivers the best price-performance and strongest range of capabilities as the practical middle ground between single function solutions that are difficult to integrate, and heavily laden frameworks that are difficult to deploy, learn, use, and support. EYE enables companies to quickly and efficiently reach their business goals including: Unification of business systems, processes, and infrastructures through cohesion of disparate networks following mergers or acquisitions; by automatically assessing the assets and connectivity of each network. Optimization of the utilization and deployment of current IT assets; both to forestall capital expenditure and deliver improved service levels. Reduction of implementation and reoccurring cost through ease of deployment, fast learning curve, and ease of use and administration, with an immediate ROI and fast time to value. Improved productivity in the Network Operations Center (NOC) with real-time troubleshooting to isolate root cause problems and performance anomalies most likely to degrade service response. Successful deployment of bandwidth-intensive applications without incident by determining network bandwidth headroom during feasibility studies, efficiently planning deployment, verifying performance during pilots, and monitoring service levels post deployment. Mitigating risk and ensuring compliance for corporate security or configuration management initiatives by delivering a real-time, accurate, and detailed network inventory CMDB feed into compliance or configuration management applications. Assuring the quality of delivered or received services of managed infrastructures through easily understandable reports of the performance, availability and resource levels detailed in service level agreements (SLA). Successfully implementing network management best practices, such as ITIL Service Management and Service Delivery, ensuring alignment with corporate goals and objectives. To learn more about EYE, please contact your local Entuity office, visit www.entuity.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.