Federos’ Assure1 software portfolio is helping communication service providers and enterprise organizations simplify, automate and modernize service management.
Assure1 provides customers the benefit of managing services on a single platform – including silo’d tools running across varied and hybrid networks to ensure availability of communications, information and product offerings. This results in:
- Consolidation and management of legacy tools
- Visibility and control of end to end services
- Operationalize network functions virtualization (NfV) for production
- Automation of redundant and repetitive service management tasks
- Consolidate all relevant data to a single source of truth
Bringing together fault, performance, topology and service level management in a single scalable software platform, Assure1 provides significant performance, scalability and cost advantages over legacy and silo tool sets, resulting in an improved user experience for your customers.
Managed service providers (MSPs) need to improve service profitability, reduce capital expenditures and expand their customer base.
Virtualization is the means by which they can economically provide services at the network edge, offering fully-managed, enterprise-class services, routing functions, and equipment, such as centrally managed servers, firewalls, Exchange servers, Active Directory Servers, routers or switches.
Through SDN/NFV platforms, MSPs will offer dynamic networks adroit enough to accommodate multi-vendor, best-of-breed services and applications tailored to individual enterprise customers’ needs. More and more, those needs will revolve around data-driven decision making capabilities that can help improve customer experience, streamline operations and relieve financial pressures.
As enterprises look to MSPs for managed networks, network monitoring, managed VPNs and other services, they will expect to accelerate the creation and instantiation of complex services. They will also expect to streamline the onboarding of customers — an increasingly critical step in defining and shaping the overall customer journey in the digital era. And they will continue to rethink OpEx and CapEx in a cloud-centric world where the network edge moves into the cloud and mobile continues to transform the ways in which organizations balance productivity demands with information security requirements.
As MSPs address these challenges for both thriving and resource-constrained enterprise customers, they must keep an eye toward the future, where the demands for IoT and unified, contextdriven connectivity will give rise to more stringent SLAs around performance, scalability and flexibility.
The ‘Brains’ Behind Automation and Self-Organizing Networks Meeting the demands of real-time, always-on service delivery will require automation for more service- and network-aware management capabilities. Automation will be imperative to helping MSPs immediately recognize which functions are performing as needed and which are not throughout extremely complex virtual and hybrid environments.
Federos’ Assure1 Unified Service Assurance is designed to intelligently capture, normalize and analyze data from what is becoming an extremely complex and intricate universe of resources. With rich data collection plugins, advanced visualization and open APIs, data can flow seamlessly across applications, fault management, performance management and topology graphs. This enables Assure1 to act as the “brain” that drives automation and sets the stage for self-healing and self-optimizing networks.
With Assure1, MSPs will be able to both understand and facilitate automation of event-driven processes, which will ultimately feed orchestrators for what can become automatic reconfiguration and hence optimal service delivery through just-in-time resource management. This simplification means that service chain creation can go from months to days; onboarding services can go from weeks to hours; instantiating complex services can go from days to minutes.
This is a departure from silo’d “manager-of-manager” point solutions, rulesbased engines and other static root cause analysis systems that manage only individual parts of the network — making them incapable of relating data across domains in hybrid environments.
Critical in these hybrid environments will be a foundation of robust topology graphs rich with insight and clarity derived from the knowledge and awareness hidden in data sets spanning myriad network domains. Assure1 topology is rich with insight because it leverages a single, unified code set, database and presentation interface, providing an end-to-end view of both physical- and virtual network function domains (PNF and VNF). Only with that unified view can there be enforceable QoS across the dynamic landscape of hybrid networks. Assure1’s ability to traverse both virtual and physical environments means MSPs can collect and present data from all sources, such as tools, EMSes and databases. They can also combine fault, performance, service management, and topology components in one unified GUI.
Closed-loop automation refers to the constant assessment of network traffic and performance to ensure service quality, as well as detect threats and drive innovation. For example, it means a network should automatically add layers of a firewall if a network comes under a DDoS attack, or that it should automatically make adjustments when latency issues for a service arise. Such capabilities can set the stage for constant improvement, optimization and remediation in terms of security, performance and fault management.
Closed-loop automation is invaluable, but difficult to achieve because of the dynamic and constant movement of resources as PNFs and VNFs are stitched together in service chains comprising increasingly complex interdependencies and diverse topologies.
Assure1’s Discovery Engine can accelerate the evolution toward closedloop automation, as it is designed specifically for layer-2 and layer-3 PNFs. And because it works with a variety of commercial orchestration systems, it can expedite the move toward virtual and hybrid networks — performing discovery of the “normal network” in the layer-2 and layer-3 topology, and using a “hybrid stitch” to gain awareness of how provisioning systems are chaining together VNFs and PNFs in the topology. This is accomplished through an API layer that accepts connections from a variety of network orchestrators.
Architecting for Scale
To accommodate the constant fluctuation and change, Assure1 boasts a modular and componentized product set so that MSPs and enterprises can evolve from base-level topology graphs to more robust capabilities.
At the orchestration level, Assure1’s topology graph and object model have been built out to monitor service instantiation and provisioning, and to report back on which services are turned up and running. Rich data modeling enforces the common object model, into which data and objects can be abstracted and aligned for runbook automation (RBA). As that evolution takes place, Assure1 will enable next-gen discovery and polling, which can set the stage for ML in Elastic Stack and other advancements.
The importance of this RBA approach cannot be understated, as it codifies service characteristics, interdependencies and policies, eliminating the need for hard coding service behaviors into workflows — an important step in operationalizing best practices and intellectual property so that automation can become a reality for MSPs.
For a greater degree of automation, Assure1’s Knowledge-driven Operational Automated Learning Agents bridge the gap between knowledge management engines and RBA tools, which empowers runbook developers to insert a knowledge base into a wiki-based runbook process. That allows knowledge to flow among all users. For example, administrators can develop, test and deploy new automation policies, which can then be leveraged by operators to reduce or eliminate mundane tasks.
And to further augment flexibility and agility, Assure1 leverages RabbitMQ, an open source message broker software that converts scalable components into microservices. This will help MSPs and enterprises scale on demand, as the individual components (products, for example) will automatically report back on how busy they are, becoming self aware.
With each of these capabilities, Assure1 future-proofs its customers’ investments, addressing not only today’s vital service-assurance challenges but looking to the future and what will be critical to NFV deployments as virtualization initiatives continue to mature.