Tail f Systems Whitepaper - Top Ten Management Issues for ATCA


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Tail f Systems Whitepaper - Top Ten Management Issues for ATCA.


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Tail f Systems Whitepaper - Top Ten Management Issues for ATCA

  1. 1. Tail-f Systems WhitepaperTop Ten Issues for ATCA ManagementIntroductionThe AdvancedTCA (ATCA) standard is a flexible, open systems approach to developing telecommunicationsplatforms and 2011 marks the 10th year anniversary of its inception. ATCA has done much to achieve itsoriginal goals of reducing both costs and time-to-market.There are many hardware and software components that must come together to make a successful ATCA-based system and network management is critical among them. Network management is needed to configureand monitor individual systems (on-device management) and centrally manage multiple distributed systems(EMS or NMS platforms).This paper describes Tail-f Systems’ view on what we see as the top ten issues driving network managementfor ATCA-based systems.1. Compressed Product Life CyclesThe management software required for a modern networking product is always on the critical path forproduction release of new products. New and improved approaches to developing network managementapplications must be adopted if engineering organizations are to achieve their objectives of delivering newsystems in less time and with less cost.Tail-f Systems pioneered the application of model-driven engineering to the development of networkTail-f Systems’ Advantage:management platforms. At a time when legacy approaches to provisioning telecommunications services andconfiguring networking equipment are slow and expensive, model-driven development represents abreakthrough for developers of both on-device and EMS/NMS platforms. Capabilities, like the auto-renderingof critical northbound interfaces and pre-integration with control plane software, significantly reducedevelopment time.2. Multiple Management InterfacesIt is not uncommon for modern networking platforms to support four or more management interfaces. Forexample, SNMP for monitoring, a CLI for technical administrators, a Web Interface for simpler managementtasks, and NETCONF for automated configuration. Developing management platforms to support multipleinterfaces can drive up engineering costs and extend development schedules. This is especially the case wheneach management interface is treated as a silo and needs separate coding and instrumentation.Tail-f Systems provides an intelligent software backplane that auto-generates multiple managementTail-f Systems’ Advantage:interfaces from a single model. This approach avoids writing separate application code for each managementinterface and ensures consistent operations across all interfaces. Tail-f Systems is a leading contributor to theYANG modeling language (RFC 6020). YANG is ideally suited to requirements of configuration management -easily read and understood by human implementers, and provides mechanisms to validate models ofconfiguration data for semantics and syntax. Tail-f Systems © 2011 Page 1 of 5
  2. 2. Tail-f Systems Whitepaper3. Management in a Multi-vendor WorldManaging network equipment from multiple vendors has always been a challenge for network operators.People, software, and training costs together with increased complexity make dealing with multiplemanagement systems a challenge.Tail-f Systems helps suppliers of ATCA-based systems address this issue from two perspectives.Tail-f Systems’ Advantage:First, Tail-f Systems’ ConfD enables developers to auto-render on-device management interfaces that supportkey industry standards. NETCONF (RFC 4741) is a standardized method to install, manipulate, and delete theconfiguration of network devices and through support for SNMP, an ATCA-based system can be monitoredfrom a wide range of third party managers. ConfD can also generate Cisco and Juniper-style CLIs. Theseinterfaces are de facto industry standards and easily integrated into existing management environments.Second, Tail-f Systems NCS allows developers to rapidly build fully functional EMS platforms. Again, supportfor industry standard interfaces and APIs (southbound and northbound) eases the pain of integrating newsystems into a multi-vendor management regime. An EMS application developed with NCS can configureNETCONF-based devices, manage SNMP alerts and manage Cisco devices with Tail-f’s Cisco CLI Engine. TheCisco CLI Engine both renders and parses CLI commands from a single data model, significantly reducing theamount of coding effort compared to CLI scripting.4. Integration and Management of Third Party SoftwareEquipment vendors benefit from using off-the-shelf hardware and software components to deliver newproducts quickly and affordably. Third party software applications like routing protocols, operating systems,and other control plane applications all must be configured and managed. The management interfaces forthese applications are often limited and require considerable engineering resources to augment and integrateinto a consistent and fully featured management platform.Tail-f Systems provides a powerful management framework with intelligent APIs that streamline integrationTail-f Systems’ Advantage:with other applications. In addition, Tail-f Systems has pre-integrated our management technology with anumber of industry leading software products and frameworks, including software from IP Infusion andMetaswitch, as well as OpenSAF high availability middleware. Both Tail-f Systems’ ConfD and NCS includebuilt-in, high-performance databases. Optimized for the demands of configuration management, thesedatabases include support for versioning, transactions, rollbacks, subscription-based programming, andbackup capabilities.5. High AvailabilityThe requirement for high availability in the telecommunications industry is well understood. Just as there aremultiple hardware and software-based strategies used to achieve high reliability, network managementsystems must also be architected to support high availability.Management software developed with Tail-f technology fully delivers on the expectations for high availabilityTail-f Systems’ Advantage:with support for 1:N database replication, integration with HA middleware, and support for in-serviceupgrades. Tail-f Systems © 2011 Page 2 of 5
  3. 3. Tail-f Systems Whitepaper6. Automated Service Provisioning and Network ConfigurationService providers are under pressure to react faster to market requirements and, at the same time, squeezeout any excess operating expenses. To achieve these objectives, service activation and configurationmanagement must be fully automated from order fulfillment through service provisioning and on toconfiguration changes. To avoid service disruptions, configuration changes in the network elements must bemade in lockstep and only committed to live production if they can all be executed consistently for allparameters.Tail-f Systems is a leading provider of technology solutions for automated service activation andTail-f Systems’ Advantage:configuration management. All Tail-f solutions support the NETCONF protocol (RFC 4741), providing suchcapabilities as transaction management, change validation and rollback management. Tail-f Systems’implementations of NETCONF are mature and thoroughly proven in production networks. Our participationand contribution to the development of the standard ensures our customers benefit from fully future-proofedtechnology.7. Complying with Industry StandardsA wide variety of standards impact the management of ATCA-based systems. Compliance with industrystandards helps ensure systems remain open and future-proofed.Tail-f Systems is a leading contributor to industry standards organizations including IETF (NETCONF andTail-f Systems’ Advantage:YANG), Metro Ethernet Forum, CableLabs, OpenSAF, and TMForum.8. Scalable PerformanceWhile much of the focus on performance and scalability is on the data plane around measures of datathroughput and latency, carrier-grade network management applications must also have the capability tomonitor, provision, and configure very large networks without impacting service delivery. This requiresstoring large numbers of configuration parameters as well as a transaction engine that can scale to tens ofthousands of operations per minute. In addition, configuration management systems should be able tooperate without any dependency on the hardware configuration.Tail-f Systems’ ConfD supports symmetric multicore processing and its embedded database is optimized toTail-f Systems’ Advantage:allow very efficient operations on binary encoded XML data structures. The built-in database can also storeboth configuration and operational data and be used in systems consisting of a single node or several nodes ina cluster.9. Security and LoggingWith a high incidence of severe threats and attacks on information assets, security has become a priority atthe highest levels inside all organizations. In addition to mitigating threats to mission-critical networksystems, network operators and enterprises must also comply with a wide range of regulations that requirethem to implement and verify the effectiveness of security information management controls. Tail-f Systems © 2011 Page 3 of 5
  4. 4. Tail-f Systems WhitepaperTail-f Systems’ ConfD software supports full AAA (authentication, authorization and accounting) servicesTail-f Systems’ Advantage:needed for robust security and can interface with an external provider such as the Linux PluggableAuthentication Module (PAM) framework, Radius, Diameter, TACACS+ or LDAP servers. SSH and HTTPS aresupported to provide secure remote access to the management interfaces. Role-based Access Control allowsdevelopers to build systems that meet the needs of organizations where administrators have different levelsand scopes of responsibility. The audit trailing function within ConfD can be configured to log everything thatoperators are doing on the management system and trace back to specific changes made by an individual userat a specific time. Audit trailing is critical for reporting, meeting compliance requirements, and securityforensics.10. Reducing Sustaining Engineering CostsMaintaining and enhancing existing products consumes significant engineering resources. Feature changesboth drive engineering costs for the device management team and the EMS/NMS developers.Key management interfaces are auto-rendered from a single data model and all management interfaces shareTail-f Systems’ Advantage:one set of common instrumentation functions, thereby avoiding tedious recoding efforts required by legacystovepipe architectures. NCS includes a device simulator that allows developers to code and test EMS featureswithout access to large network test beds. This capability saves costs, removes logistical issues, like importinghardware to India, and most importantly, saves considerable calendar time as the EMS team does not havewait for code from the team coding the on-device management.SummaryIndustry imperatives, like accelerating time to market and reducing cost, were the impetus behind ATCA.Achieving these same goals also requires new approaches to the development of network managementapplications. Building modern network management platforms is a complex and demanding process. Allengineering organizations strive to develop new products in less time and with fewer resources. If these goalsare to be achieved, productivity improvements must be applied to the development of managementplatforms, if for no other reason than the fact that management applications are always on the critical pathfor production release. Furthermore, service providers are pushing new requirements for managementplatforms provided by network equipment providers. Support for transaction management, for example, isneeded to ensure complex services are accurately and consistently provisioned without configuration errorsthat can cause service outages.Tail-f Systems addresses these requirements with a true model-driven development approach that enablesdevelopers of ATCA-based systems to bring new advanced, standards-compliant network managementapplications to market faster and with less risk.About Tail-f SystemsTail-f Systems is the leading provider of configuration management software for networking equipment andnetwork management systems. Six of the ten largest global networking equipment providers are Tail-fSystems’ customers.Users of Tail-f Systems’ products, ConfD and NCS, benefit from bringing their products to market in less timeand with reduced risk while incorporating advanced capabilities and support for industry standards. ConfD isthe leading solution for building on-device management systems for all kinds of networking equipment. NCSis a powerful automated service provisioning and configuration management application that can be Tail-f Systems © 2011 Page 4 of 5
  5. 5. Tail-f Systems Whitepaperintegrated into an existing EMS/NMS platform or used as a model-driven solution to build new managementsystems from scratch. Tail-f Systems is a leading contributor to industry standards organizations includingIETF (NETCONF and YANG), Metro Ethernet Forum, CableLabs, OpenSAF, and TMForum.Tail-f Systems is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. For more information on the company, please visitwww.tail-f.com. Tail-f Systems © 2011 Page 5 of 5