Modern telecommunications networks require addresses, routes, tunnels, security, policies, reliability, and performance metrics to deliver high-performance, efficient communications. This information must be easy to access and interpret, and organized into information models to ensure the network lifecycle.
Cisco has shared expertise in using Model-Driven Engineering (MDE) to accelerate network technology development, including:
- Representing network models
- Handling large models
- Applying industry standards
- Implementing distributed MDE
- Generating interface specifications and documentation directly from information models
Cisco shares this expertise through the Tigerstripe Project, an open-source project under the Eclipse Foundation. In January 2008, Cisco contributed the core technology of Tigerstripe, an MDE framework, to the Eclipse community.
Tigerstripe is a new type of tool designed for use by telecommunications engineers who may not be experts at UML modeling. Although it has ECore and UML at its core, Tigerstripe supports a Domain Specific Language that reflects current expertise in interfaces and integration.
Users can drag-and-drop icons like "Managed Entities," "Events," and "Queries" onto a graphical depiction of an interface. This specialized metamodel helps users quickly describe the integration solution, generate interface specifications and documentation, and develop compatible client and server code.
Using MDE greatly improves the quality of interface specifications and software when compared with manual development methods. Using tooling also frees engineers to focus on creative, design-oriented activities, instead of coding and fixing errors.
Basing Tigerstripe on Eclipse integrates MDE into an automated software-build environment. Tigerstripe often is used with other Eclipse plug-ins to build tools, manage change, and test systems, from both commercial and open sources. And Tigerstripe itself is extensible by advanced users who can train it to generate new types of artifacts.
In addition to sharing these innovations through the Tigerstripe open source initiative, Cisco uses its own products for MDE tooling. Tigerstripe is used to guide large network management development projects at Cisco, like Cisco® ANA, a network abstraction layer solution that helps integrate diverse network devices and software applications. Tigerstripe helps generate the newest interfaces from OSS/J and the TM Forum Interface Program.