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One of the key applications of the Cisco® IP Solution Center (ISC), the ISC Layer 3 MPLS VPN Management application helps service providers and enterprises to provision and effectively manage Layer 3 MPLS VPN services.
Cisco IP Solution Center
Cisco IP Solution Center is a suite of four network management applications for managing Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and Carrier Ethernet services. Cisco IP Solution Center provides automated resource management and profile-based provisioning of MPLS VPNs and MPLS traffic engineering tunnels. Functions include provisioning of MPLS VPNs; Ethernet, ATM,or Frame Relay over MPLS VPNs; Ethernet services on a bridged network; and planning and configuration of MPLS traffic engineering. One ISC application, Cisco® MPLS Diagnostic Expert, provides workflow-based troubleshooting and diagnostics for MPLS-based network services. All the ISC applications can operate as standalone applications or as a suite and are designed to provide a flexible application set for managing services based on MPLS and Carrier Ethernet technologies in large and small service providers or large enterprises (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Intelligent Management Applications for MPLS and Carrier Ethernet Networks
Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management Application
® ISC MPLS VPN Management application gives enterprises and service providers a set of management features such as policy-based VPN and MPLS VPN routing audit to help minimize the cost of deploying new and revenue-generating MPLS VPN services. These features facilitate accurate, effective service deployment and help manage the entire lifecycle of MPLS VPN technologies.
Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Provisioning Capabilities
• Automated discovery: Under certain circumstances ISC will provide discovery of MPLS VPN services to simplify the discovery, creation, and continual management of manually configured services.
• Management of resources such as autonomous systems, regions, IP address pools, and provider administrative domains
• Definition of provisioning parameters in a service policy to be used during service activation, including hub-and-spoke, full-mesh, and partial-mesh VPN design
• Preprovisioning checks for validity of service design, including uploading of the current configuration and validation of service design against the existing network configuration
• Download and activation of the Layer 3 VPN service design, including activation of various MPLS VPN topologies and wide support for routing protocol configuration on attachment circuits for export of customer routes--Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), static, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), and so on
• Postprovisioning validation of the service design to determine whether the Layer 3 VPN is active and functional
• Configuration and management of MPLS traffic engineering tunnels on a network; for further details about the Cisco ISC Traffic Engineering Management application, refer to the Cisco IP Solution Center Traffic Engineering Management data sheet at http://www.cisco.com/go/isc.
• Smart configuration and routing audits, and VPN routing and forwarding (VRF) pings to validate VPN configuration
• On-demand and scheduled audits for configuration troubleshooting
• Automated, workflow-based troubleshooting and diagnostics of MPLS VPN deployments. This functionality is provided as part of the Cisco MPLS Diagnostics Expert, which is one of the applications in the Cisco IP Solution Center family. It can be used in conjunction with the Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management application for VPN postprovisioning checks and uses the customer and VPN data provided by Cisco ISC as a starting point for troubleshooting. After deploying a VPN using Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management provisioning features, you can use Cisco MPLS Diagnostics Expert to run a reachability test to verify that the VPN has been provisioned successfully.
The Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management application can be deployed standalone or with other Cisco ISC applications for additional capabilities.
Cisco ISC offers a flexible extension mechanism through templates. Templates allow arbitrary pieces of configuration to be appended (or prepended) to the configuration that is provisioned to a device. This can be used for special applications or for specific commands that are not natively supported in the ISC service model.
Key Features And Benefits
Table 1 gives the features and benefits of the Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management application.
Table 1. Features and Benefits
Tracking of MPLS resources
Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management allows service operators to:
• Automatically allocate resources such as IP addresses, route distinguishers, and router targets
Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management keeps track of all the allocated resources and knows to which service, customer, or site these resources were allocated. This greatly reduces the time it takes the service operator to track these resources and relieves the operator from manually entering certain parameters during service activation.
Rapid profile-based VPN provisioning
Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management allows service operators to define MPLS VPN provisioning parameters in a service policy and uploads the network element configuration to calculate the change in configuration needed to help ensure successful service activation. It supports the configuration and management of:
• Routing protocols such as Routing Information Protocol (RIP), OSPF, BGP, and EIGRP as provider edge-to-customer edge (PE-CE) routing protocols
• Multicast VPN for Cisco IOS
• Management VPN
• Managed and unmanaged customer edge scenarios
• Multi-VRF for managed and unmanaged customer edge
• Interautonomous system management
• Layer 2 access into MPLS VPNs
• MPLS VPN carrier supporting carrier (CSC) support
• Support of residential services using a Carrier Ethernet access domain into an MPLS VPN
Automation of these processes helps reduce provisioning fallouts due to error-prone manual procedures.
The use of service policies for service activation speeds the provisioning cycle and reduces time to market. It greatly reduces the service operator's tasks because the only parameters required for service activation have already been captured in the service policy.
By uploading the configuration prior to applying the configuration, Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management helps ensure that the service-activation configuration is successfully applied and does not collide with the existing configuration, reducing outages caused by incorrect provisioning.
Recognize incorrect service configuration
Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management provides postprovisioning validation of the service design in order to help determine whether the Layer 3 VPN is active and functional:
• Configuration and routing audits
• On-demand audits for configuration troubleshooting
This feature reduces the time it takes to troubleshoot network outages due to incorrect service configuration by verifying that the commands for a service are present on the network elements and the links involved.
Autodiscovery of MPLS VPN services
Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management can, in part, discover MPLS services that were configured without Cisco IP Solution Center on the service provider's network. This capability requires that the services have been configured in the same way that ISC provisions the network. Please see ISC Infrastructure Reference 5.2 for details.
Helps operators, with the help of Cisco Advanced Services or other integrator, to set up Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management in existing VPN networks and efficiently takes over management of manually configured MPLS VPN services.
Investment protection from Cisco IOS and Cisco IOS XR Software and line-card changes
Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management provides comprehensive platform and Cisco IOS and IOS XR Software support.
This feature reduces time to market of new services and the cost of upgrading the customer OSSs due to upgrades in platforms, Cisco IOS Software releases, and line cards by providing extensive support of the latest Cisco hardware and Cisco IOS Software release.
Carrier-grade infrastructure for large deployments
Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management makes use of the following Cisco ISC set of system features in order to provide a carrier-grade VPN management system:
• Thin web GUI client
• Role-based access control (RBAC)
• Extensible Markup Language (XML)-over-HTTP northbound interface
• Data backup and restore
RBAC provides access control to service providers that want to implement strict operational processes. Backup and restore capabilities protect data against OS crashes, file corruption, disk failures, and total machine failure.
Tier 1 service providers use managed MPLS-based VPN services to deploy many value-added services such as combined data, voice, and video services. MPLS-based VPNs lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) for a service provider. These savings can be passed along to enterprises, along with other inherent benefits such as simplified deployments of VPNs, high availability, multicasting, and other critical capabilities. Offering and deploying MPLS VPN services to enterprise customers requires planning network resources and deploying, maintaining, and configuring the network elements and services. These manual procedures can be time-consuming and error-prone. A service provider needs to automate all these steps to compete effectively in this challenging market.
The Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management application helps service providers by providing the required provisioning, planning, and troubleshooting features essential to manage the entire lifecycle of MPLS VPN services.
• MPLS management features such as policy-based VPN management, VPN provisioning, and MPLS VPN routing audit help minimize the cost of deploying new and revenue-producing MPLS VPN services.
• The Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management application also can configure and monitor Cisco IOS multicast MPLS VPNs. Using the application's multicast VPN feature in conjunction with MPLS VPN allows service providers to offer both unicast and multicast connectivity to MPLS VPN customers.
• Service providers that want to manage customer premises equipment (CPE) can do so with Cisco IP Solution Center. CPE can be added to the management VPN for monitoring and management.
Other Product Features and Professional Services
IP Solution Center is preintegrated with certain applications such as Cisco Info Center and Infovista VistaInsight for Networks, augmenting trouble tickets and performance data with VPN and customer information. The ISC integration with Cisco Configuration Engine aids zero-touch provisioning. Cisco Advanced Services offers services to integrate ISC with other network management and OSS applications.
Product specifications for each Cisco IP Solution Center application are found in the data sheets for the respective applications, and more details are available in the installation guide at
The server, client, and web browser system requirements can be found in the installation guide and at
http://www.cisco.com/go/isc under Cisco IP Solution Center Technical Documentation. Refer to this and the product documentation guide for more detailed information about setting up and configuring this product.
The Cisco ISC MPLS VPN Management application and Cisco MPLS Diagnostic Expert are available for purchase through regular Cisco sales and distribution channels worldwide. To place an order, visit the
Cisco Ordering Homepage.
Cisco MPLS Diagnostics Expert ordering and licensing options are described in the Cisco MPLS Diagnostics Expert bulletin, available at
Service and Support
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Cisco Advanced Services.