A Family of Intelligent Network Management Applications for Managing MPLS and Carrier Ethernet Networks
Cisco® IP Solution Center (ISC) is a family of intelligent network management applications that help reduce overall administration and management costs by providing automated resource management and rapid profile-based planning and provisioning capabilities that accelerate deployment of Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and Carrier Ethernet technologies. Cisco IP Solution Center also helps reduce operational costs by providing automated workflow-based troubleshooting and diagnostic capabilities for MPLS VPNs. The applications can operate as standalone applications or as a suite. Functions include provisioning and automated diagnostics for MPLS VPNs; ATM, Frame Relay, and Ethernet over MPLS VPNs; ATM and Frame Relay transport over Carrier Ethernet VPNs; and planning and configuration of MPLS traffic engineering.
Cisco IP Solution Center delivers complete lifecycle management, from creating the IP service to real-time VPN and MPLS traffic engineering tunnel provisioning, activation, troubleshooting, and diagnostics. Cisco IP Solution Center provides the provisioning, planning, and automatic diagnostics tools that accelerate deployment and time to market of IP services. Simultaneously, it simplifies management of multiple technologies by providing an integrated management product (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Intelligent Management Applications for Managing MPLS and Carrier Ethernet
Cisco IP Solution Center provides a flexible application set for managing MPLS and Carrier Ethernet technologies in service provider and large enterprise networks. It offers a scalable and reliable architecture for large-scale operations, providing a web-based GUI and open APIs to help integrate IP services operations into existing service provider operations support systems (OSSs). Open APIs help enable service providers to easily integrate MPLS and Layer 2 VPN services into their OSSs and management infrastructures. Integration with best-in-class fault and performance-management products from independent software vendors (ISVs) is available. For additional information, please contact your Cisco sales representative.
Cisco IP Solution Center intelligent network management applications include Cisco® IP Solution Center MPLS VPN Management, Cisco® MPLS Diagnostic Expert, Cisco® IP Solution Center Layer 2 VPN and Carrier Ethernet Management, and Cisco® IP Solution Center Traffic Engineering Management. These applications can operate alone or together as a suite.
Cisco IP Solution Center MPLS VPN Management
The Cisco IP Solution Center MPLS VPN Management application empowers enterprises and service providers with improved provisioning of VPNs through automation of these functions, provides investment protection to Cisco IOS® Software and line card upgrades in the network, and helps ensure accuracy of service deployment through service configuration and functional audits. Use of predefined service profiles makes service activation quick and predictable. This application can also work with the Cisco MPLS Diagnostics Expert product for VPN postprovisioning check.
Cisco MPLS Diagnostic Expert
Cisco MPLS Diagnostics Expert is an automated, workflow-based network management product that troubleshoots and diagnoses problems in MPLS VPN deployments. For more information about this product, visit http://www.cisco.com/go/mde.
Cisco IP Solution Center Layer 2 VPN and Carrier Ethernet Management
The Cisco IP Solution Center Layer 2 VPN and Carrier Ethernet Management application gives enterprises and service providers improved provisioning of Layer 2 VPNs and Carrier Ethernet through automation of these functions, provides investment protection to Cisco IOS Software and line card upgrades in the network, and helps ensure accuracy of service deployment through service configuration and functional audits for Carrier Ethernet VPNs and Any Transport over MPLS VPNs.
Cisco IP Solution Center Traffic Engineering Management
The Cisco IP Solution Center Traffic Engineering Management application simplifies visualization, configuration, and management of MPLS traffic engineering tunnels on a network. It integrates the configuration of Cisco MPLS traffic engineering features (Autoroute Announce, Auto-Bandwidth, DiffServ-Aware Traffic Engineering, and Fast Reroute [FRR]) into a single management tool. Uniquely, it also is able to compute and configure primary tunnels to meet user-specified constraints and to compute FRR bypass tunnels for network element protection (node, links, or shared-risk link groups [SRLGs]), helping to ensure bandwidth availability during normal and element failure conditions.
For further details on each of these applications, please visit their respective data sheets, available at http://www.cisco.com/go/isc.
Features and Benefits
The Cisco IP Solution Center family of intelligent network management applications provides the key features required for the activation and assurance of Layer 3 and Layer 2 VPNs, Any Transport over MPLS (AToM), and Carrier Ethernet services. Table 1 provides details on features and benefits in Cisco IP Solution Center 5.2.
Table 1. Feature and Benefits of Cisco IP Solution Center 5.2
Tracking of Layer 3 and Layer 2 resources
Manages resources such as Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) autonomous system, regions, customers, customer sites, access domains, service provider administrative domains, virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) names, IP addresses, VLAN IDs, pseudowire virtual circuit IDs, route distinguishers, and route targets.
Automation of resource management reduces cost of previously manual and time-consuming tasks and helps ensure accuracy.
Rapid profile-based provisioning
Allows service operators to define Layer 3 and Layer 2 VPN provisioning parameters in a service policy; uploads the network-element configuration to calculate the change in configuration needed for successful service activation.
Helps control operational costs by accelerating service deployments. The use of service policies for service activation greatly reduces the service operator's tasks-the only parameters required for service activation have already been captured in the service policy. By uploading the configuration prior to applying it, Cisco IP Solution Center helps ensure that the service activation configuration will be successfully and rapidly applied and will not collide with the existing configuration.
Recognition of incorrect service configuration
Provides postprovisioning validation of the service design in order to determine if the Layer 3 and Layer 2 VPNs are active and functional.
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 or VPN is working correctly.
Investment protection for Cisco IOS Software and line cards
Provides comprehensive platform and Cisco IOS Software support.
Reduces time to market of new services and lowers the cost of upgrading customer OSSs due to upgrades in platforms, software versions, and line cards by providing extensive support of the latest Cisco hardware and Cisco IOS Software versions.
Bandwidth protection planning and activation
Identifies placement of FRR backup tunnels to protect critical network elements. Installs backup tunnels to protect against link, node, or SRLG failures.
Supports strict service-level agreements (SLAs) and high availability of voice and video traffic. Provides a cost-effective alternative to lower-layer protection. Highly efficient use of bandwidth allows more traffic to be supported on the network without redundant network investment.
MPLS traffic engineering tunnel placement, repair, and network grooming
Generates MPLS traffic engineering tunnel paths that meet user-specified constraints, including bandwidth, affinity, and delay, and proposes fixes to meet user-specified constraints for new tunnel demands. Global reoptimization of primary tunnel placements improves network utilization.
Helps enable efficient core network planning and cost savings. Bandwidth upgrade costs can be delayed or reduced by identifying bottleneck links and routing traffic away from them. Flow-through provisioning provides major time and cost savings-the user is required only to specify the high-level tunnel requirements for a set of tunnels-and dramatically simplifies planning and managing a traffic-engineered network.
Automated workflow-based troubleshooting and diagnostics of MPLS VPN deployments
This functionality is provided by Cisco MPLS Diagnostics and is based on analysis of network failure scenarios across MPLS access, edge, and core networks. The Cisco IP Solution Center MPLS VPN Management application can work with Cisco MPLS Diagnostics Expert for VPN postprovisioning check.
Cisco MPLS Diagnostics Expert significantly reduces the operational cost to manage and maintain an MPLS network. In addition, its ability to reduce mean time to repair (MTTR) helps increase network availability.
Carrier-grade infrastructure for large deployments
Provides the following system features:
• Thin web-based GUI client
• Role-based access control (RBAC)
• API: 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.
Cisco IP Solution Center architecture is designed for maximizing scalability, redundancy, and robustness. This architecture facilitates large-scale, multiclient installations on high-end servers as well as small and medium-sized installations (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Cisco ISC Four-Tiered Architecture
The four tiers of this internal architecture are client, interface, control, and distribution; they provide the modular framework that is the foundation of a scalable, carrier-class system.
The client tier is composed of a standard web-based client application and a client application for programmatic access to Cisco IP Solution Center servers.
The interface tier consists of web servers and application servers. The dedicated web server design increases the scalability of user-interface access to the system.
The control tier consists of the Cisco IP Solution Center Repository (a relational database) and the task scheduling and distribution system. This is the master server, and is the "nerve center" of the infrastructure; it provides control, monitoring, and distribution of the remaining tiers of the system. Cisco IP Solution Center takes advantage of a Sybase relational database management system (RDBMS) or Oracle database as a data store. Cisco IP Solution Center uses the Cisco Security Policy Engine (CNS SPE) for authentication and authorization of end users' roles and privileges.
These internal services are involved with the collection and processing of system data. The collection process handles communications with the network devices, Telnet sessions, and configuration collection. The processing subsystem handles the internal auditing, watchdog system, and template manager.
Summary and Conclusion
The benefits of using Cisco IP Solution Center to deploy and manage MPLS and IP services range from faster time to market and improved network quality to reduced operational costs and lower total cost of ownership. The comprehensive set of intelligent management applications helps service providers to minimize initial investments by taking full advantage of existing infrastructures and devices. By providing a single infrastructure for all existing and future IP services, Cisco IP Solution Center allows service providers to reduce the training costs and time to market for new services.
• The easy-to-use provisioning tools of Cisco IP Solution Center help enable rapid deployment and fast time to market of IP services. Automated, real-time provisioning eliminates many operator errors, shortens service startup times, and lowers the cost of provisioning.
• Automated workflow-based troubleshooting and diagnostics of MPLS VPN deployments provided by the Cisco MPLS Diagnostic Expert product help reduce the operational cost to manage and maintain an MPLS network.
• Cisco IP Solution Center's exclusive planning features for MPLS traffic engineering networks support discovery, auditing, and planning of MPLS traffic engineering tunnels. It delivers Cisco Bandwidth Protection, which, through the intelligent placement of FRR bypass tunnels, helps ensure connectivity and bandwidth to meet stringent SLA requirements for voice and video traffic. Efficient MPLS traffic engineering planning supported by Cisco IP Solution Center has been shown to dramatically reduce network costs, 50 to 60 percent, by taking advantage of the unique search algorithm in Cisco IP Solution Center.
• Cisco IP Solution Center features APIs and OSS interfaces to facilitate integration of IP services operations into existing service provider OSSs.
Product specifications for each of the intelligent network management applications are found in the respective application's data sheet at Cisco.com, and in more detail in the Installation Guide at http://www.cisco.com/go/isc.
The server, client, and web browser system requirements can be found in the Installation Guide at http://www.cisco.com/go/isc, under Technical Documentation and Tools. Please refer to this and the Product Documentation Guide for more detailed information on setting up and configuring this product.
The Cisco IP Solution Center family of applications and Cisco MPLS Diagnostics Expert are available for purchase through regular Cisco sales and distribution channels worldwide. To place an order, visit the Cisco Ordering Homepage.
For more information about the Cisco IP Solution Center and its family of intelligent network management applications, contact your local account representative or visit the following Cisco.com websites: