Cisco Active Network Abstraction (ANA) virtual network element (VNE) device driver technology is a key enabler for ANA to manage end-to-end IP next-generation networks (NGNs). ANA VNE drivers support Cisco devices ranging across access, aggregation, edge, and core domains. The ANA VNE drivers make use of the device management instrumentation to discover an accurate view of the physical configuration and logical services of the managed device and translate the information to the ANA network model. The VNE driver processes the device's Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) traps and syslogs into events monitored by the ANA GUI and northbound interface to operation support systems (OSSs).
For service providers to stay competitive, and for enterprises to expand and evolve their mission-critical IT infrastructures with the latest device upgrade, ANA VNE drivers are maintained for compatibility with Cisco IP NGN device releases. The corresponding VNE drivers can be upgraded independently, without requiring ANA software upgrades.
ANA VNE drivers are also user extensible to manage new hardware modules, device types, events, and device software versions that have compatible management instrumentation. Customers can perform private VNE extensions to gain competitiveness with the latest device software and hardware and, at the same time, reduce costs and dependency on professional services.
The same device driver technology is also applicable for mediating third-party devices, and VNE drivers can be developed for ANA to manage multivendor networks. Whether a customer's business strategy leads to an all Cisco network approach or a multivendor network approach, with the VNE technology, ANA provides a "single pane of glass" management view of the end-to-end network.
ANA provides a single, authoritative view into a network consisting of heterogeneous devices. This reduces operating expenses (OpEx) by providing a unified user experience for real-time discovery of devices and network topology and centralized fault management. Additionally, organizations can further reduce OpEx and OSS integration costs by utilizing a single northbound interface regardless of the network equipment series. The network upgrade cost is minimized by the independent device driver updates or by extending the VNE drivers. The support of third-party devices in the end-to-end network further helps enable customers to evolve to the best network strategy of their choice.
Table 1 provides a list of Cisco device series managed by ANA using available device drivers.
Cisco ASR 9000 Series Aggregation Routers, Namely:
• Cisco ASR 9006
Cisco uBR Series Aggregation Routers, Namely:
• Cisco uBR7246VXR
Cisco Nexus 5000 Series
Cisco Nexus 7000 Series
Cisco Nexus 5010
Cisco Nexus 5020
More supported Cisco devices and non-Cisco devices, software versions, and device contents can be found in the latest version of the ANA Documentation Guide.
For customers using Cisco IP NGN systems and network devices, ANA maintains the compatibility with those key device series such as CRS, ASR 9000, XR 12000, 7600, ASR 1000, MWR 2941, and ME 3600X/3800X. Cisco provides VNE driver updates on a regular basis for these devices to help ensure that device hardware and software feature releases are discoverable by Cisco ANA. VNE driver updates can be separately installed on ANA starting in ANA release 3.7.2.
In the occasion where management of additional Cisco devices or software releases is needed, customers can contact their account team for their product enhancement requests.
Key Features of ANA VNE Driver
Table 2 lists the key features of the ANA VNE driver.
Table 2. Key Features of ANA VNE Driver
VNE drivers are instantiated at run time for each managed device so that synchronization and autodiscovery with the network can be done in parallel.
Distributed for large-scale networks
The VNE drivers can be distributed in multiple ANA unit servers to help enable ANA to manage large-scale carrier-class networks. VNE instances can be redistributed among multiple ANA unit servers for load balancing to optimize memory usage.
VNE performs automatic synchronization based on configuration change notification from the network. In addition, VNE drivers support adjustable periodic and manual synchronization of device status to provide an up-to-date view of the network in ANA with the minimum impact to the managed devices.
Independent driver release
Individual VNE drivers may be updated without the need to upgrade or otherwise change the ANA platform software.
Cisco VNE drivers are extensible to manage additional device types, device hardware plug-in modules, additional SNMP traps, and syslogs. SNMP traps can be imported through MIB files. These extensions can be done by customers or by the system integrator local to the ANA installation and do not affect the delivered ANA software.
The generic VNE device driver is used as the default for discovering any unrecognized device. The generic VNE device driver will monitor for standard SNMP traps using standard MIB II interfaces. The IP interfaces and routing and bridge information are also discovered.
User-defined VNE driver
ANA users can create user-defined VNE drivers at run time to manage additional device series. In addition to the generic VNE capability of making use of standard SNMP MIBs and traps, the user-defined VNE is extensible using available ANA customization tools to further discover and activate the device.
The Cisco Developer Network website provides partners, system integrators, and customers a virtual community forum to learn and share examples of using ANA customization tools to perform field extension to device drivers.
A Right-to-Manage license for each Cisco device managed by ANA is required and is available as an option within the ANA-37-SOFTWARE product. The device series and device type will determine the appropriate Right-to-Manage group.
To place an order contact your local Cisco account representative or visit the Cisco Download Software page and click ANA VNE Drivers for the latest release.