Archive for the ‘Service Assurance’ Category

IT Operations Management Insights From the United Airlines, NYSE and WSJ Outages

In rapid-fire succession on 8 July 2015, United Airlines, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) website experienced extremely high-profile outages.

The culprits? For United Airlines and the IT OperationsNYSE, it was the network (routers and gateways, respectively); for the WSJ, it was the combination of insufficient capacity for unanticipated demand, and a failure of server connections (a 504 error).

Key factors in these events were network devices, outages, downtime, service impact, configurations, and capacity –the realm of monitoring and management of IT infrastructure used to deliver applications and services. Yet most of what I’ve read sensationalized the nonexistent cybersecurity angle. So I’m highlighting some key IT operations management insights to take away from incidents such as these:

Any assumption that could impact ongoing business and IT operations should be considered wrong. Felix Unger said it best: Never assume.

The United Airlines router outage impacted applications and services that ultimately grounded all planes. An IT operator easily could have assumed in such a scenario that he or she would see a relevant alert generated by a faulty device. But what if the bad router effectively imploded before getting a chance to deliver its “suicide note”? Then the operator has to know to look for events that should have been generated but weren’t. In my experience, the kind of out-of-the-box thinking needed to immediately deduce this type of problem is extremely rare – especially in a major-outage scenario, in which significant pressure exists to solve the problem ASAP, and everyone presumes all relevant data is there, but it just hasn’t (yet) been properly analyzed into something insightful. (more…)

Service Assurance for NFV

Serge Marokhovsky

Serge Marokhovsky

Serge Marokhovsky

Latest posts by Serge Marokhovsky (see all)

There is a growing interest across the telecom industry today with Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). NFV is being evaluated in labs across the world and piloted for production rollout. In particular, larger service providers are steering their strategies around NFV to get in front of the pack and give themselves the agility they lack against the smaller and more aggressive players. A second key driver for NFV is to reduce costs while maintaining carrier class service assurance. With the fast arrival of NFV, are the current OSS & BSS tools in use today going to work in the future when NFV goes mainstream? If so, will they give the operational benefits management is anticipating to achieve with NFV or just keep doing the same thing? Let’s explore the challenges and new opportunities to achieve with service assurance in an NFV environment.The main business benefits of NFV are as follows:

  1. CAPEX: Service Providers will be purchasing commodity hardware based on x86 architecture running Linux and hypervisors bringing the benefits of virtualization; instead of running network functions on expensive proprietary hardware.
  2. OPEX: operational costs will provide the bulk of cost savings with greater automation. When service orchestration, automated root cause analytics, service impact analytics, and automated service remediation replace the current manual processes of many service providers; then NFV will become effective. Orchestration is required for full service management from provisioning of resources to de-activation and service changes to meet customer changing requirements over the life of a service. Next a real-time automated root cause analysis tool will reduce the burden most operations staff has to identify faults or network congestions. Operations staff is overwhelmed with the millions of daily events unable to identify faults in the network. Furthermore, the complexity of networks makes it impossible to know the service impact of such faults. Then the 3rd element for NFV operations requires to automate remediation of services through new software tools that get invoked when root causes are identified, service impact is understood and remediation steps are executed based on the knowledge of the environment.
  3. Competitiveness: it’s obvious with lower operational costs. More competitive prices can be offered but that’s not all. The big competitive advantage comes from the fact service providers will be able to activate services faster than today (seconds instead of days). Self-service portals will be given to customers to choose services, expand or contract them as needed on the fly, automatically without the intervention of personnel. More efficient use of hardware resource to provide users greater performance and service providers will have the flexibility to move network functions anywhere in the network; edge, core, backhaul… by virtue of virtualization.
  4. Accurate metering and billing: in a world where everything is virtualized, it becomes difficult to know how much of the actual physical resources are used. Accurate metering of service usage results in better pricing and gives service providers the opportunity for greater profits.

Now let’s look into the NFV architecture required for Service Assurance to higher levels.


Service Assurance Component
This component is the brain of the overall system performing complex analytics to ensure SLAs are met and efficiencies are at their highest. It is designed to monitor the infrastructure for faults, congestion, anomalies, and service impacts. Then problems are automatically root caused, service impact is assessed in real-time, and remediation is automatically initiated to counter impact to end users. When the root cause is equipment failure or insufficient hardware resources, a ticket is automatically created to engage the support staff to replace/repair the defective hardware component or initiate the request to add hardware resources.

The operational value is to ensure the highest possible service levels with minimal costs.

Inventory & Topology Component
This next component is at the heart of system mapping all the elements of the infrastructure to allow orchestration, service assurance and network functions to do their job with accuracy. This component first maintains a detailed and accurate listing of the infrastructure, applications and service catalog. A thorough topology is maintained mapping the relationship of the various network elements, activated services, physical/virtual network relationships in real-time.

Its operational value is to provide accurate and detailed information about the service provider systems without human intervention to maintain a correct listing.

Service Orchestration
This is not a fully automated component because it requires human intervention to request new services, approve service changes and other input functions to serve end-users and administrators. However, there is a great deal of automation to provision services with great turnaround time (seconds instead of days) and programmatically interact with the network infrastructure with no human intervention.

EMC’s Service Assurance Answers to NFV
EMC is well positioned with its current Service Assurance Suite of products to offer automated root cause analysis, discovery and topology service, impact analysis and a rich API to allow external systems to integrate and customize solution to the specific business needs.

Furthermore, EMC is leading the investment into Openstack to drive service orchestration and interface uniformly with other parts of the infrastructure to drive automation. EMC is also investing into high performance analytics to offer real-time results to automatically remediate problems before SLAs and user experience is affected.

Finally the journey for service providers toward NFV will transform them to build IT organizations similar to today’s enterprise IT organizations. With x86 platform at the core of NFV values, the transformation of network functions from proprietary hardware to commodity x86 hardware running in large datacenters will require service providers to rely on vendors such as EMC with expertise with data center management.

There is a lot of activity happening around NFV and EMC is leading the charge, to learn more, the TMForum Digital Disruption event Dec 8-11th in San Jose CA is the place to be and EMC will have a presence at this year’s event.   If you can’t make it to the event, there are other opportunities to learn more, download this analyst brief on Service Assurance or join our next webcast on Service Assurance on December 11th by following this link:

It Takes a Village or Sometimes Just an Online Community…

We have all been to one type of industry trade show or another in our careers. The focus of these events is usually product or solution education, activities and sweepstakes that drive attendees to the tradeshow floor, big after hours networking parties, and, of course, the announcement of what the next big industry trend will be. Sound familiar?

Have you ever stopped to think about how all that information gets socialized? In the past, you would have read about it in an industry trade magazine, an analyst report, a press release perhaps, or sometimes you might receive an email inviting you to attend yet another live or virtual event on the subject. You may also belong to an industry specific organization that has monthly meetings where the new trends are featured as the topics for discussion.


Not anymore! The world has changed and on top of all of these traditional communication methods, you now have to consider the huge impact of social media. We hear the announcement of a new trend and that trend immediately gets tweeted and retweeted right from the second it is announced. If enough buzz is generated, a few blogs are written about the subject, which are then tweeted and again retweeted. Starting to see the pattern?

Someone may also take that same afore mentioned blog and share it on LinkedIn, whether it is a post to his profile or to open a discussion within a group to which she belongs. If the company has an online community, this behavior is frequently repeated there too. All of these social groups we belong to, participate in, follow, like, etc. make up the social community. The people within that community that do the most tweeting, blogging, and commenting in the socialverse become the top influencers. We now live in a world where our “village” is not so much in-person but rather resides in cyber space. Our village leaders are the ones with the highest Klout scores.

Here’s a great upcoming real world example: the VMworld conference in Barcelona is taking place October 13-16th. Amongst all of the activities that are happening, it is important to note that the rock stars of the online technical communities will be coming together face-to-face to celebrate their cyber village. This event is aptly named vRockstar aka Virtual Rock Star.

vRockstar is a community focused event sponsored by various VMware partners. The event is designed to bring influential members of the technical community within the social media realm together to open a dialogue for further conversation. Some of the sponsors include Cisco, VMUG, and EMC. Each of these organizations has communities of their own that have very influential members who can be a great resource for you. Let’s take a look at some of those communities.

Cisco has a community program called the Cisco Champions. The Cisco champions are passionate about IT, love sharing knowledge, and want access to Cisco experts. Cisco views vRockStar as a great example of how community can work together to welcome community. At past events, Cisco has seen connections that were made carry through the conference and continue on throughout the year. Want to be a Cisco Champion? 2015 nominations are open now!

The EMC Elect Program is EMC‘s premier social media brand advocacy and influencer recognition program. Each year EMC encourages members to keep up their great work through social syndication. Members are enabled with exclusive access to product launches, technical sessions, beta programs, and unique in-person events. The nominations to become an EMC Elect member in 2015 are happening now.

The EMC ViPR Community is a central place for IT professionals, developers, and business partners to learn about, try, develop, and collaborate on ViPR Software-Defined Storage, ViPR SRM, and ECS Appliance (Powered by ViPR). By joining the community you can learn about how ViPR products help you get the most out of your storage investments, get direct access to developers, and join in on the conversation.

The Service Assurance Suite Community is designed to enable EMC Smarts, NCM, and Watch4net users, who share a common interest to engage with one another for collaboration and innovation. /Service Assurance Suite User Group “Members Only” area of this community provides access to exclusive User Group Events, webcasts, and activities. There is also the opportunity to participate in discussions that will significantly impact future product strategies and directions.

The VMware User Group, better known as VMUG, is an independent, global, customer-led organization, created to maximize members’ use of VMware and partner solutions through knowledge sharing, training, collaboration, and events. It is free to become a VMUG Member and those who join gain access to user conferences, program discounts, local groups, virtual education, and more.

These are just a few of the technical communities out there that can help you find your cyber village. If you are a social rock star or one in training and are going to be at VMworld Barcelona, be sure to join us at the vRockstar Event. The event will take place on Sunday, October 12th, at, of course, the Hard Rock Café. Be sure to register today for your ticket and kick off VMworld the right way. You might even connect with some of the top VMworld conference speakers or even be the big winner of a Hard Rock Café Barcelona personalized electric guitar!

Are there other communities you belong to and want to share? Tell us about them in the comments section of this blog.

Hope to see you at the vRockstar Event on the 12th!

Accelerating Network Virtualization with VMware NSX and EMC Service Assurance Suite

Venky Deshpande

Venky Deshpande

*The following is a guest blog post from Venky Deshpande from VMware NSX product management, discussing the integration that the VMware NSX Network Virtualization Platform has with the EMC Service Assurance Suite.  These solutions are going to featured at VMworld August 24-28 in San Francisco, CA.  go to for more information

Network Virtualization – A Critical Component of SDDC
As more organizations seek to fully implement Software-Defined Data Centers – which are characterized by server virtualization, storage virtualization and network virtualization – the “traditional” network and its inherent inefficiencies increasingly represents a barrier to IT’s ability to meet today’s dynamic business needs:

  • Network service provisioning is slow, manual and error-prone
  • Workload placement and mobility are limited
  • Network changes required to support a rapidly changing environment are often complex and hard to implement efficiently and effectively

Overcoming these challenges requires a Software-Defined Data Center approach.

By allowing virtual networks, like server virtual machines, to be programmatically created, cloned, migrated, deleted, and restored on-demand to enable applications to be quickly provisioned and deployed, VMware NSX™ network virtualization platform provides the network virtualization pillar that delivers to the network the same benefits that VMware delivered to compute infrastructure.

Network virtualization with NSX provides fast provisioning of network services, service automation and increased visibility into virtual environments. Combine this functionality with a management solution that assures the availability and performance of services and applications delivered over virtual and physical IT infrastructures, and you can transform your IT service delivery environment into an agile, scalable data center with unparalleled data center-wide visibility and control.

This is exactly what VMware and EMC have partnered together to deliver. The VMware NSX network virtualization platform provides you with the flexibility needed to provision logical networks, while the EMC Service Assurance Suite provides the visibility and insight needed to ensure the availability and performance of critical business services delivered over this dynamic infrastructure. The integration between the EMC Service Assurance Suite and VMware NSX delivers on the promise of network virtualization.

EMC Service Assurance Suite with VMware NSX – Solution Overview
The VMware NSX platform provides the following standard options for network monitoring tool vendors to integrate:

  • Standard SNMP MIB support
  • Port Mirroring (SPAN/Remote SPAN)
  • Syslog

The EMC Service Assurance Suite takes advantage of SNMP MIBs and NSX APIs to collect information about the NSX environment that includes virtual topologies and various statistics about network services. This allows the Service Assurance Suite to build virtual topology views on top of the physical topology information that it already has.

Traditional networks spread configuration and forwarding state across multiple, diverse network devices, resulting in impaired visibility and a potential impact on troubleshooting. NSX consolidates all states for all NSX components and enables virtual network elements, and the mapping between virtual network topologies and the underlying physical network, to be readily accessible through standard protocols and Restful NSX APIs.

The integration of NSX with the EMC Service Assurance Suite assures availability and performance of services and applications delivered over both virtual and physical IT infrastructures. The EMC Service Assurance Suite provides end-to-end management from the tenant through the virtual network infrastructure, all the way to the physical infrastructure components.

The Service Assurance Suite discovers all of the underlying components of the NSX environment, including their relationships to the physical infrastructure, providing end-to-end discovery and visibility. The Service Assurance Suite also discovers and presents topology views of the NSX platform, which consists of a control cluster, logical switches, logical routers, transport zones, and edge gateways, in addition to the controller nodes and NSX Manager. You have unparalleled line of sight into your virtual and physical network infrastructure that helps in quickly correlating failures, performing impact analysis, and reducing Mean-Time-To-Resolution (MTTR).

Customer Environment with NSX
As shown in the diagram below, there is physical network infrastructure that provides data for monitoring tools using standard protocols such as SNMP/ Port Mirroring. Similarly, the NSX components in the environment will provide all the data for virtual networks and network services.


When it comes to operations, network administrators want to have visibility in all network components that help them in isolating issues quickly and reducing downtime. Once the network is virtualized using NSX, the visibility requirement is more prominent because of traffic encapsulation and the dynamic nature of virtual networks.

End to End Visibility of Virtual and Physical Topology
The EMC Service Assurance Suite extends the visibility from the physical network infrastructure to virtual networks by providing the following key capabilities to the network administrators:

  • End to End visibility of Virtual and Physical topology
  • Reporting Availability/Failure of the Virtual and Physical components
  • Stats collection for the Virtual and Physical network components
  • Impact analysis of the Virtual and Physical failures

Let’s take a look at a Physical switch port failure scenario that impacts connectivity to a hypervisor. The Service Assurance Suite can help identify the impact of this failure and also draw end-to-end topology for the impacted application VM running on that hypervisor. This visibility allows network operations teams to quickly isolate outages and take remediation actions to avoid downtime and quickly restore service.

There is tremendous opportunity presented by Software-Defined Data Centers and VMware NSX is a fundamental building block to enable deployment of virtual network architectures. In order to fully operationalize these virtual networks for production environments, EMC Service Assurance Suite enhances the inherent management benefits of NSX by providing complete mapping between the virtual and physical domains helping to accelerate deployments of these logical architectures.

This is one of the many use cases that you will see demonstrated at VMworld 2014 in San Francisco this week, please visit both the EMC (#1405) and VMware (#1229) booths to get more details and demonstrations of this exciting solution.

EMC Has the Industry’s Strongest Software-Defined Storage Portfolio, AND, It Just Got A Lot Stronger

Since the announcement of ViPR 1.0 at EMC World 2013, it’s been a non-stop flurry of activity here at RS-New-Image-2EMC and the last month has been no exception. We announced one all-new product and three significant updates to existing products at EMC World 2014, all of which shipped in the last few weeks of June. With the general availability of the ECS Appliance (Powered by ViPR), ViPR 2.0, ViPR SRM 3.5 and Service Assurance Suite 9.3 we have strengthened our Software-defined Storage portfolio and brought public-cloud hyperscale capabilities and economics to everyone.

These are some pretty strong claims and it would be easy to dismiss them as standard marketing hyperbole as, let’s be honest, pretty much every storage sales guy or startup is probably saying the same thing to their customers. The difference with EMC is that at this point, these are all-new products. We haven’t just taken the marketing hype around Software-defined Storage and applied it to a bunch of existing platforms. We’ve built two truly differentiated Software-defined Storage platforms from the ground up and applied a lot of what we learned during the process to significantly enhance our existing products.

What Do Customers Want?

Throughout the ViPR development process, (which started in 2011), customers have given us very consistent feedback on what they need from their storage vendors, and it boils down to three core things:

1. Help me reduce my costs.
2. Give me freedom of choice.
3. Give me a simple path to the cloud.

This gave us a very clear idea of the product capabilities required in ViPR:

1. With ViPR, customers should be able to build a truly modern storage infrastructure on commodity platforms.
2. ViPR should make it very easy to manage any storage infrastructure from a cluster of two arrays to a truly hyperscale, multi-Petabyte environment.

Those two things are, in my opinion, the true value that EMC’s advanced software portfolio brings to our customers, (it also answers the often asked question “What exactly is ViPR?”)

The Value of EMC Advanced Software Today
With these latest product releases, if you want to build a modern storage infrastructure on commodity hardware, then EMC gives you the ability to do it. If you need to manage, provision and provide self-service storage capabilities at hyperscale (regardless of whether you’re dealing with commodity platforms or existing storage platforms from vendors as diverse as EMC, HDS, NetApp or anybody else), then EMC gives you the ability to do it.

Let’s Talk About Our Software Portfolio – Starting with The Hardware??
Mentioning theEMC ECS Appliancein the same breath as our software portfolio may seem like a contradiction in terms, but please keep two key details in mind:

1. It’s an appliance. Being your own system integrator adds cost, if you want an integrated system and access to the economies of scale of EMC – the ECS Appliance is the most simple, cost effective way for most* customers to get ViPR on commodity platforms.
2. It’s powered by ViPR 2.0 – the secret sauce in the ECS Appliance is ViPR. All the hardware components can be bought off the shelf, so really, think of the appliance as the delivery mechanism.
*If you can do the integration and get better economics from building your own hardware, please do. We’re more than happy to work with you e.g. the HP SL4540 is already supported.

What this means for our customers is that the ECS Appliance is the world’s first commercially available hyperscale storage infrastructure designed for the data center. It fundamentally redefines storage economics and provides all the benefits of the public cloud with effortless control. It’s now easy for any business to grow to Petabyte or even Exabyte scale without compromising on capability or flexibility.

The ECS Appliance provides all the benefits of the public cloud (cost, simplicity, scalability) with all the security and control inherent to private clouds/ internal IT departments. Let’s not forget about Service Providers either. If you’re a Service Provider and want to compete with the big boys in the public cloud, the ECS Appliance can give you more functionality at a cost basis that allows you to compete and still make money.

There’s More To Storage Than Just Storage
Delivering storage on commodity platforms and making it very simple to manage your entire storage infrastructure only solves one part of the problem – that of active management. To many of our customers the problem of just understanding what their storage environment (and beyond) really looks like and what it’s being used for is a critical concern. As storage environments become increasingly large, the importance of managing across the physical and virtual boundaries of multi-vendor environments has become exceedingly important. As a result, the ability to gain deep visibility into their infrastructure has become mission critical to many of our customers.

In many of the customer environments I visit today, whenever there’s a problem or outage, the atmosphere can quickly turn from one of calm to something resembling a scene from Apollo 13. Instead of having the ability to determine what’s actually causing an issue, it generally turns into multiple teams explaining why they are NOT causing the problem.

Over the last year, we’ve invested heavily in some of our existing products, most notably, ViPR SRM and the Service Assurance Suite to apply many of the insights we gained building ViPR to these new product releases in order to deliver automated real-time human intelligence at computer speed/scale and to provide the deep visibility our customers need across their entire environment.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the product features now generally available to customers with the shipment of these new products.

EMC ViPR 2.0 shipped June 26, 2014 containing the following key features:

• Support for commodity hardware
• Consistent data reliability and security across the entire data center
• Native array support for HDS (Hitachi Data Systems) and third-party plug-ins (e.g., Cinder) that enable support for numerous non-EMC platforms from vendors as diverse as HP, Dell, IBM and NetApp
• Content-Addressable Storage (CAS) support as well as support for EMC Centera systems
• Industry-leading, patent-pending Geo-distribution and protection capabilities
• Multi-tenancy support, detailed metering, an intuitive self-service portal, and billing integration
• The addition of ViPR Block Services (Powered by ScaleIO server-SAN software)

The EMC ECS Appliance became generally available on June 26, 2014 containing the following key features:

• Support for next-generation multi-protocol applications in a single platform which delivers block, object, and HDFS capabilities
• Single management view across multiple types of infrastructures
• Multi-site, active-active architecture with a single global namespace enabling the management of a geographically distributed environment as a single logical resource using metadata-driven policies to distribute and protect content
• Multi-tenancy support, detailed metering, and an intuitive self-service portal, as well as billing integration
EMC ViPR SRM 3.5 shipped June 13, 2014 with these enhanced capabilities:
• Deeper integration with the ViPR Controller including the ability to map Virtual Storage Pools, Projects, and Tenants to the underlying physical infrastructure
• Tighter integration with EMC VPLEX, including end-to-end topology mapping and capacity reporting for VPLEX-enabled environments
• Detailed chargeback reporting for VPLEX and ViPR, allowing ViPR tenants/projects to view chargeback reports based on Virtual Pool consumption

EMC Service Assurance Suite 9.3 shipped June 24, 2014 containing the following key features:

• Support for VMware NSX SDNs (Software-defined Networks)
• Application/process awareness & monitoring
• Integration with ViPR SRM to provide Availability Management of EMC Arrays (including storage connectivity)
• Enhanced Operator UI featuring a new use-case and role-based design
• Mobile networks (e.g. LTE) performance monitoring & reporting

These new features will give our customers the ability to actively manage and monitor their entire infrastructure at unprecedented levels, allowing them to better control costs even as data growth continues at extraordinary rates.

Simply stated, with the delivery of these products, the strongest Software-defined Storage portfolio in the industry just got stronger.

Service Assurance Suite 9.3 GA Accelerates SDN with VMware NSX

Rick Walsworth

Rick Walsworth

Rick Walsworth

Latest posts by Rick Walsworth (see all)

EMC Service Assurance Suite became generally available on June 24, 2014, delivering an entirely new set of capabilities, including Software-Defined Network (SDN) management via full integration with VMware NSX Network Virtualization Platform. Service Assurance 9.3 also features completely new operations User Interface, deeper application integration and improved storage monitoring for VMware environments.

The Service Assurance Suite 9.3 represents a significant milestone because it provides the next significant innovation for helping to accelerate deployment of Software Defined Data Centers. Service Assurance Suite is a foundational component of that strategy building upon the core operations tools that have been successfully deployed within the world’s largest Enterprise and Service Provider data centers. The capabilities delivered within this release bring industries best fault correlation and root cause analysis engine to software-defined networks by providing fault, availability and performance management across both virtual and physical networks. This is critical for organizations looking to deliver the benefits of virtualized network infrastructure, while seamlessly integrating these disruptive technologies into the disciplined operational models of their data centers.

It’s all about Service Delivery

SAS_1Customers that have deployed Service Assurance Suite are great testimonials on how to deploy next generation services with utility-like efficiency, while delivering carrier-class visualization across the entire data center. This requires intelligent fault analysis and event correlation, providing rapid root cause identification to optimize availability, configurations and performance. These capabilities help to bridge the gap between 2nd and 3rd Platform architectures without sacrificing service levels delivered back to the business.

The Next Frontier
Compute virtualization continues to be a core component of the customer’s journey to virtualized data centers, but there are still Software-defined frontiers to be conquered. As discussed in this blog,the world of storage has changed and storage systems in most data center environments no longer need to be silos of physical infrastructure.EMC ViPR software-defined storage has pioneered a whole way to deliver storage-as-a-service within the software-defined enterprise and provides a platform to deliver a whole new class of services rooted in the 3rd Platform. The ViPR team gets it; tackle operations and management challenges by design. By tightly integrating with Cloud stacks such as VMware vCloud Suite, ViPR enables tight operations and orchestration integration tailored specifically for the Cloud admin via vCenter Operations Manager (vC Ops) and vCloud Automation Center (vCAC). The operations and storage teams on the other hand, rely on deeper visibility across both virtual and physical boundaries and have a very unique set of requirements to ensure that application service levels are being delivered.

What about Software-Defined Networks?
When evaluating network virtualization, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is being touted as a disruptive technology that will, once implemented, allows service providers and corporations to lower IT costs and be more responsive and flexible. SDN has the promise to transform datacenters and allow lower cost hardware to be implemented, offloading tasks that are now people, router, and switch-centric to software. There is little doubt that networking architectures are moving towards an SDN reality – it’s not a matter of if, but when.

To be successful in this realm, one must address the challenges across the data plane, control plane, and even application environment in order to see wide spread adoption of SDN technology.

Some of the desired attributes of SDN technology:

• Agile
• Centrally managed
• Directly programmable
• Programmatically configured
• Open standards-based and vendor-neutral


Network virtualization solutions that abstract existing physical networks offer the promise to transform operations and economics. The VMware NSX network virtualization platform (a result of the Nicera acquisition), brings this promise to reality. NSX provides network agility by reducing the time it takes to provision any application to run across these multi-tier network topologies, offering significant cost savings and independence of the hypervisor and network hardware. By delivering the simplicity and efficiency of virtual machines for networks, you get all of the advantages of a fully functional network delivered in software.

To learn more about the VMware NSX platform go to the VMware Network Virtualization Blogand if you really want to get your geek on, I recommend you read Scott Lowes blog on NSX architectures.

Operational Service Delivery
What Service Assurance Suite 9.3 does so well is to integrate VMware NSX into operational data center deployment models, providing management visibility from the application through the virtual layer right to the physical network hardware. This can immediately improve the effectiveness of the operations teams, because they maintain control of availability and performance service level attainment, which typically has visibility all the way up to the CIO. These operations teams continually optimize their processes and Service Assurance 9.3 enables the agility to adapt quickly to accelerate deployments and minimize downtime across the entire data center. To effectively deploy virtual networking technologies into existing data center operations environments, it’s crucial to provide topological representations of the entire infrastructure, but you also need the intelligence to filter through event storms to get directly to the root cause, regardless of whether it is a physical or virtual fault.

As demonstrated at EMC World, the Service Assurance offers key capabilities for VMware NSX:
  • Manage cross domain infrastructure
  • Comprehensive vC Ops integration
  • Virtual-physical topology mapping
  • Root cause and impact analysis of risk conditions
  • Configuration management with compliance

A webcastcovering monitoring and management in the age of the software defined data center can be seen here. You can also get more information on Service Assurance by going or by following this blog. If you’re interested in joining the conversation or participating in the Service Assurance Suite Early Access Program (EAP), visit the Service Assurance ECN Community.



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