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Cisco Provisioning Center

FAQ about Cisco Provisioning Center

Q & A

Frequently Asked Questions about Cisco Provisioning Center

Q. What is Cisco Provisioning Center (CPC)?

A. CPC provides a fully scalable service and network management-level application for the rapid delivery of high-quality network services. CPC enables network managers to increase the quality and speed of configuration and provisioning by automating the processes. The provisioning engine communicates with network elements via generic interfaces between CPC and element managers, known as blades, that allow interaction between element managers such as Cisco WAN Manager.

Q. What is Cisco Service Management (CSM) system?

A. CSM is a network service and delivery management system that delivers a modular suite of service management products integrated within a common scalable, reliable, and high-performance infrastructure. CPC is part of the CSM system. CSM enables service providers to effectively deploy, monitor, and manage these new network services, while increasing revenue and reducing costs.

Q. How does Cisco Provisioning Center (CPC) benefit service providers?

A. CPC works across multiple network technologies and equipment so that operators can deploy end-to-end "services" rather than configure "boxes." By automating the process, CPC reduces the complexity and expense associated with today's manually configured services.

Q. What are the key benefits of Cisco Provisioning Center (CPC)?

A. The key benefits include:

  • Faster time to market through automation features that simplify deployment

  • Reduced operations costs through efficiency

  • Lower training costs because less expertise is required

  • Higher-quality deployment through automation, which improves service quality over error-prone, manual deployment methods

  • Integration with Operational Support Systems (OSSs)

Q. What services does Cisco Provisioning Center (CPC) help provision?

A. CPC helps provision Frame Relay, ATM, quality of service (QoS), and other network services. It allows users to create service "profiles" that define the service attributes to be configured for a customer. Profiles can be a combination of any attributes exposed through CPC's service objects. Service objects include:

  • ATM Service Objects—CBR, ABR, VBR, Peak Cell Rate, VCI (auto, manual), Termination points, logical name, customer reference, and NNI/UNI (Automatic)

  • Frame Relay Service Objects—DLCI (auto, manual), CIR, Excess Burst, Committed Burst, Max Frame Size, Logical name, customer reference, and termination points (node, shelf, port)

  • Interworking Service Objects—specify congestion control (fecn, becn, clp), specify interworkings within FR/ATM

Future CPC versions will provide support for IP-VPN, circuit emulation, dial, xDSL, and cable services through integration with Cisco IP Manager, VPN Solutions Center and other EMS® support.

Q. Describe the Cisco Provisioning Center (CPC) architecture.

A. CPC is based on a client/server architecture to support distributed computing through relational database systems. CPC runs under UNIX on Informix Version 7 and above and Solaris 2.5.1 and above. The distributed architecture allows CPC to address a full range of service provider capacity and throughput requirements.

Q. What platforms does Cisco Provisioning Center (CPC) support?

A. CPC, which runs on a Sun workstation with Solaris v2.5.1, supports automated provisioning of Cisco BPX®8600 series wide-area switches, Cisco IGX wide-area switches, and Cisco MGX 8220 edge concentrators. Subsequent releases will increase support for IP VPNs, Cisco IOS® software-based devices, as well as expanded Layer 2 support of the MGX 8850.

Q. What redundancy features are available in Cisco Provisioning Center (CPC)?

A. The redundancy strategy for CPC is a "warm-standby" model based on the replication features of the underlying RDBMS (Informix), plus some custom scripting code, which is installation dependent.

Basically, you construct a standby system that runs only the Informix Database server. The primary system is configured to trickle the Informix transactions to the standby system. If the primary system fails, all operator/FTI sessions will terminate and their transactions will be check-pointed. You must then execute procedures to start CPC on the standby system (which could be multiple host systems). Operators/FTI sessions will have to be restarted and their transactions will either continue to completion or be aborted/rolled-back.

The failover recovery time target is just minutes (perhaps 10 to 15) and is essentially the time it takes to perform a system restart from the replicant database. It is not currently possible to run redundant systems simultaneously.

A redundancy solution must be custom built for each installation and properly debugged and tested because of the complexities in multiple host systems, multiple network interfaces, setting up the Informix transaction replication, and so on, it is not an off-the-shelf solution at this time. In a future release, most likely CPC v3.0, Cisco plans to refine this redundancy strategy and make it less complex to configure, providing a more off-the-shelf form of disaster support.

Q. Will Cisco Provisioning Center (CPC) allow me to integrate with non-Cisco equipment?

A. CPC not only supports provisioning of Cisco equipment, but also third-party blades for Newbridge and Cascade. A blade is a generic interface between CPC and element managers. The support and acquisition of other vendor blades are attainable through Cisco's partner, Syndesis, Ltd. of Toronto, Canada.

Q. What levels of support are available for Cisco Provisioning Center (CPC)?

A. Service and support for CPC are available on a one-time or annual-contract basis. Supports ranges from help desk assistance to proactive, onsite consultation. All support contracts include major Cisco IOS software updates, full access rights to Cisco Connection Online (CCO), and 24-hour-a-day technical assistance.

Q. What are the Cisco Provisioning Center (CPC) hardware and software requirements?

A. CPC runs on the following environment:

  • OS:

    • Solaris 2.5.1 (Open Windows 3.5.1, CDE 1.0.2)

  • Database:

    • Informix 7.3 not included with product

  • Cisco EMS supported:

    • CWM 9.1.08, 9.2.04 and 9.2.07

  • Single host configuration (CPC server, client and database server):

    • Sun SPARCstation 5, SPARC Station 2.0 or Ultra-1

    • 256 MB RAM, 512 MB SWAP

    • Minimum 2-GB SCSI hard disk


Note Actual hard disk requirements will depend on database size, log retention time, and so on.

Recommended 2-host configuration is:

  • Server Host:

    • SPARC UltraServer 2, dual CPU

    • 512 MB physical RAM, 1024 MB SWAP space

    • 4-GB available hard drive space

  • Client Server:

    • One SPARC UltraServer 2 (also requires JDK 1.1.4-license not included)

    • Dual CPU (167 MHz or faster)

    • 256 MB RAM, 512-MB SWAP

    • 1-GB SCSI hard disk for each group of four concurrent sessions (such as flow-through sessions across the API, or interactive operators sessions using a GUI)

Q. What effort and skills are necessary to integrate Cisco Provisioning Center (CPC) with existing OSS?

A. Our partner Syndesis offers consulting services to assist, train, or perform the OSS integration. Experience in C++ and Korn Shell experience in addition to CPC's flow-through interface is required. The work and effort depends on the complexity of the services to be offered, network size and complexity, and the openness of the OSS interfaces. It has been suggested that at least six weeks integration and test time be allocated. The number of concurrent resources depends, again, on each network.

Q. Are there trainers or training available for Cisco Provisioning Center (CPC)?

A. Cisco is developing the curriculum and content for a CPC training package. The package will comprise several units, including CPC Administration and CPC Application Integration. Syndesis will be the training partner to deliver this to customers. Expect the pricing to include all out-of-pocket travel and living expenses, plus additional man-days to setup the training facilities, in addition to the training package.

Q. How do I find out more about Cisco Provisioning Center (CPC)?

A. Information on CPC and all of the Cisco Service Management applications can be found on the Cisco web page at: http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/779/servpro/operate/csm/. In addition, you can contact your Cisco account manager.