Cisco Provisioning Center User's Guide, 4.2
Introduction to Cisco Provisioning Center
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Introduction to Cisco Provisioning Center

Table Of Contents

Introduction to Cisco Provisioning Center

Cisco Provisioning Center as Part of the TMN Model

Service Activation with Cisco Provisioning Center

Cisco Provisioning Center Solution Architecture

Engine

Standard Resource Model

Technology Resource Models

Threader

Service Applications

Equipment Modules

About the Cisco Provisioning Center Database

Object Model

Object Versions

Management Domains and Customers

Database Objects

Change Management


Introduction to Cisco Provisioning Center


To provision a service (such as Frame Relay or ATM), it is often necessary to change the configuration of two or more managed elements in a network and to ensure that the resulting configurations are compatible with existing services. With Cisco Provisioning Center, you can make all configuration changes necessary for provisioning a specific service as if it was a single change to the network.

Cisco Provisioning Center provides this functionality by combining a central database with a powerful change control mechanism. This mechanism applies changes that can affect multiple network elements in a single transaction.

This chapter outlines some key concepts associated with Cisco Provisioning Center:

Cisco Provisioning Center as Part of the TMN Model

Service Activation with Cisco Provisioning Center

About the Cisco Provisioning Center Database

Cisco Provisioning Center as Part of the TMN Model

The Telecommunications Management Network (TMN) provides a framework for achieving interconnectivity and communication across heterogeneous operating systems and telecommunications networks. The TMN model defines different levels for specific functionality. The same types of functions (for example, service provisioning) can be implemented at many layers, from the highest business management layer to the lowest network element layer.

Management must be first defined at the lower layers, and then additional management applications can be built on this foundation. See Figure 1-1.

Figure 1-1 TMN Model

Cisco Provisioning Center is designed for service providers that offer a wide variety of data services.

These services typically are complicated to configure and involve multiple technologies. Cisco Provisioning Center provides a single, consistent interface for provisioning various services across multiple network technologies comprised of many vendors and topologies.

Service Activation with Cisco Provisioning Center

Cisco Provisioning Center is designed to be the provisioning component of your service fulfillment system. The service fulfillment system will include other components, such as order fulfillment, customer care and billing.

Within Cisco Provisioning Center, services are represented by service objects, which can be activated, modified, and deleted by your order fulfillment system. Service objects provide a high-level description of the services managed by the order fulfillment system. They contain general information such as customer reference, service endpoints (ports) and class of service (CoS).

Service objects allow you to view your network in terms of end-user or subscriber services, as well as the traditional set of nodes, ports, and circuits. Thus, complex configuration changes are grouped into simple units that reflect more closely the orders received from subscribers. This facilitates order processing and improves order consistency. In addition, new services are easier to develop and deploy.

When services are activated, Cisco Provisioning Center translates the service object into a more detailed set of service elements, such as virtual circuits, link connections and the commands and attributes necessary to configure the elements on the particular equipment in your network. The translation process is automatic. Cisco Provisioning Center can choose the optimum mapping of the services across multiple networks, comprised of different types of equipment. Operators and applications can view how each service was translated.

Cisco Provisioning Center incorporates multiple operator change control using a transaction mechanism. Cisco Provisioning Center ensures that transactions are applied successfully to all elements of the network, in a coordinated manner. If any elementary action in a transaction fails, the entire transaction is rolled back, thus returning your network to it's previous state.

Cisco Provisioning Center Solution Architecture

The Cisco Provisioning Center solution comprises the following components:

Cisco Provisioning Center Engine

Service Applications

Equipment Modules

At least one service application and one equipment module must be added to the engine to make the product operational.

Engine

The Cisco Provisioning Center engine provides the infrastructure that supports the Equipment Modules and service applications. The engine supports technology-specific Resource Models that simplify service objects by providing a high-level interface across vendors. The engine supports:

service object storage, addressing, distribution, and behavior definitions

mechanisms to support network upload

mechanisms to support network delivery (download)

coordination of changes and error recovery

security and audit functions

Standard Resource Model

The Standard Resource Model contains classes that can be used to model any supported network technology. It is the base from which all technology-specific Resource Models are derived. It dictates a common information model for all objects in all Equipment Modules. The Standard Resource Model contains the following classes:

Network—A collection of interconnected telecommunication and management objects (logical or physical) capable of exchanging information

Node—Telecommunications equipment or TMN entity within the telecommunication network; performs managed element functions (for example, provides support and/or service to subscribers)

Port—A physical port

Logical port—A communication protocol associated with a physical port; terminates trails and cross-connections

Equipment—A physical component of a node, including replaceable components

Software—Logical information stored in equipment, including programs and data tables

Network Connection (NC)—An object responsible for the transfer of information between connection endpoints in a subnetwork

Trail—An object responsible for the integrity of transfer of characteristic information between one or more network layers

Cross Connections—An object responsible for the transfer of information between two connection endpoints within the same node

Technology Resource Models

A technology Resource Model is a standardized representation of a given technology. It is used by the Equipment Modules that support the technology. The Resource Model includes a set of object definitions, with attributes and functions, which services use to request resources of that technology. This set includes attributes that represent CoS in an equipment-neutral way, for use by threading functions.

An Equipment Module that supports a given Resource Model must support all of the attributes and functions dictated by this Resource Model. To add vendor-specific features, the Equipment Module model can also have objects, attributes, and functions that are not included in the Resource Model. This allows a service to deal with resources in a generic way, by using only those attributes and functions dictated by the Resource Model.

Threader

Each Resource Model includes a Threader, which is a function used to provision services across the managed network. The Threader chooses a path for a service based on the required class of service.

The Threader is a software component responsible for creating connections across networks. Each network layer in a layered topology has an associated Threader, which creates network connections across that layer.

The route through the network layer is chosen using a threading algorithm. A default threading algorithm is available to all Resource Models. For more information on the Threader, see the "Topology and Threading" section.

Service Applications

Service Applications allow you to provision a particular type of service such as ATM or DSL. Typically, each service provider has a distinct set of service offerings in order to differentiate themselves, from other service providers. Therefore, there are likely to be a large number of service applications grouped into broad categories, which are similar but customized for the individual clients of the service provider.

Service Applications contain multiple service objects. A service object represents one separately-provisionable item (e.g. the Frame Relay Service Application contains the Frame Relay service object and Frame Relay-ATM Interworking service object). In some cases, multiple service objects must be provisioned to create an end-to-end service.

Equipment Modules

Equipment Modules provide access to a specific type of equipment, for example, a suite of switching nodes from a particular vendor. It encapsulates the knowledge of the detailed operation of the equipment and translates this into an equipment-neutral representation. This is done in much the same way as a device driver provides a standard interface to an application and maps this onto the capabilities of the device.

An Equipment Module may support a large range of products, like, an entire vendor's suite of products, or just one specific product. It uses other products like the equipment vendor's own provisioning server. In the case where there is no intermediary management system, the Equipment Module communicates directly with the managed equipment.

In order to create a complete and working application, Equipment Modules are added to Cisco Provisioning Center in such a way that Cisco Provisioning Center can access (provision) all of the types of equipment that participate in providing the service. Most services span equipment types and require more than one Equipment Module in order to be provisioned.

Each Equipment Module has a network interface that allows it to communicate directly with either the switches in the network or the appropriate element of the network management system.

About the Cisco Provisioning Center Database

This section gives an overview of the Cisco Provisioning Center Database:

Object Model

Object Versions

Management Domains and Customers

Database Objects

Change Management

Object Model

The Cisco Provisioning Center database stores the description of the network configuration in the form of data items called domain objects (or simply objects). Objects can represent physical network elements such as communications ports and circuits, as well as logical network elements, which may be reflected in the attributes of several physical elements. This database representation of the objects that can exist in the database is called an object model.

The object model reflects the containment, association, and connection relationships between objects. The relationship between a node and a port is an example of a containment relationship: the node contains ports. An example of an association is the relationship between a logical port and a physical port to which it belongs. A PVC is an example of a connection relationship: it connects two ports.

Even though the definition of a PVC exists for two separate nodes, it is represented in the Cisco Provisioning Center object model as a single domain object. When a PVC is added, changed, or deleted, Cisco Provisioning Center automatically updates both affected nodes in the network and ensures the consistency of the resulting configuration.

Object Versions

Cisco Provisioning Center supports two versions of a particular object's configuration: current and pending.

Current—corresponds to the configuration of the object as it exists in the network.

Pending—is the version being manipulated by an operator. The pending version has not yet been sent to the network or it is in the process of being applied to the network. A domain object can only have one pending version at any given time.

You can modify and save a pending version repeatedly to the Cisco Provisioning Center database without affecting the object's current configuration in the network.

You can only see the pending version if the transaction used to create this version is open for you. You will see the current versions of all other objects that have not been updated in that transaction

For more information about manipulating transactions, see Chapter 5, "Common Tasks".

Management Domains and Customers

The Management Domain (MD) and Customer (VPN) attributes are available for selected Cisco Provisioning Center objects. These attributes are represented only in the Cisco Provisioning Center database; they are not represented in the network.

MD—the name of the Management Domain that contains the object. MDs are logical groupings of network devices that divide the network into geographical or administrative regions. For example, a national network may be divided into Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western regions with one group of network operators responsible for each region.

VPN—the name of the Customer associated with the object. VPNs are logical groupings of network devices and resources which identify the Cisco Provisioning Center object with a customer. Customers are typically large companies that wish to monitor the status of their own lines and obtain statistics on the performance of their logical sub-network.

The MD and VPN object attributes are used by Cisco Provisioning Center security, to restrict operator access to specific sets of domain objects. For more information on security, refer to the CPC Installation Guide.

Database Objects

This section describes the database object types. In Cisco Provisioning Center, Fabric elements and service elements are collectively known as Network elements.

Fabric Elements—represent the hardware and software of the network, such as nodes and ports, upon which services can be laid. These objects are maintained by administrators, who have read/write access to them. Only a Cisco Provisioning Center System Administrator can change Fabric Elements; you can create service objects attached to them.

Service Elements—represent individual low-level objects (such as VCs and PVCs), which are created and modified in order to provision services. Service elements are manipulated by service objects and are configured in the network under change control. Service elements can also be uploaded.

Service Objects—represent a provisioned service.

Profiles—are used to store default attribute values for service elements or service objects. For more information, see the "Profiles" section in "Key Features of Cisco Provisioning Center".

Change Management Objects—Additional objects are stored in the database by the Cisco Provisioning Center Engine in order to support change management. These objects include transactions, and upload requests (URs).

Change Management

Change management is the set of features that help you manage the general process of deploying changes in your network. change management is not specific to any particular type of managed element, but applies to the overall change process.

For more detailed information on change management refer to Chapter 3, "Change Management".