|The only publication dedicated to OSS Volume 2, Issue 4 - September 2005|
The Trick To High Availability Services
By Basil Alwan
In the face of relentless competition and constant technology innovation, the drive for profitability is changing the way service providers conduct business like never before. Major transformation projects, including SBC’s Lightspeed, BT 21st Century Network and China Telecom ChinaNet2, are underway throughout the world. The magnitude of these projects and the accelerated pace of service deployment are visible examples of the new business environment. So too are the types of services delivered – services like voice, video, and business VPNs - whose “always on” expectations are firmly entrenched in the minds of their users.
Transformation, however, is not without its challenges, especially operational challenges hidden in the details: rolling-out and provisioning services faster than ever to millions of subscribers is one thing, doing so, while increasing the reliability of the IP infrastructure to deliver high availability services is another. Together they are compelling service providers to re-think their strategies and long-term plans for a converged IP service deliver architecture. One area of focus, is placing more emphasis on the service-orientation of IP platforms and the tools to quickly provision and repair multiple services with multiple levels of service quality. Another is the reliability of routers and routing protocols to ensure traffic is always forward using up-to-date information – even during node failures. Addressing both gives service providers an infrastructure they can bank on.
The degree of router misconfiguration has been heavily influenced by the use of legacy, CLI-based management tools. A plethora of disparate tools are available, many as “freeware,” and different devices often speak different CLI dialects. Several management systems often access the IP devices in parallel, making it hard to verify if the aggregate result of these various device configuration changes is taking effect at network and service levels in a consistent, coherent, and predictable manner.
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