Network Configuration and Management

Network Management Challenge

Networks, connectivity and mobile access are evolving, growing exponentially in volume and scope, with spectrum extending from large corporate and telecom networks to connectivity between thousands of “constrained devices”, including Machine-to-Machine (M2M) automation networks and sensor based, data gathering and analysis networks, described as Internet of Things (IoT).

The computing networks increasingly take shape of large multi-campus installations, providing applications, storage and connectivity services, often via multi-tenant cloud architectures.

All networking sectors require Internet & mobile connectivity, demanding security, instant remote configurations, monitoring and network management. The challenge is in carrying these concepts across different networking architectures, levels of computing and memory resources while retaining some commonalities in application APIs to provide an effective foundation for automation and sophisticated management applications of networking infrastructure, services and information.

Private, Carrier & Constrained Device Networks

The size and complexity of today’s networks are evident, from volumes of specialized function boxes in carrier networks, and complexity of network applications to connectivity intelligence in just about any device that produces information or is in need of receiving configuration and command data in IoT networks.

Applications are far reaching and expanding, from business, services and carrier applications to industrial, energy, medical, building automation, transportation, dynamic consumer analysis, logistics sector, to name a few; the mandate is creating intelligent eco-systems providing desired data and application services and automatically responding to events, reporting systems status to management applications or adjusting environment to evolving conditions, all in line with a pre-configured policy.

Software Defined Networks & Network Function Virtualisation

Responding to complexity, in order to provide reliable service and manageability, networks are undergoing changes, adopting new architectures. These are taking cues from modern computing environments with regards to virtualization. This capability improves server and network storage availability, it provides for rapid provisioning of services in demand, and it can adapt and scale network connectivity and capacity to changing applications and use patterns.

The virtual networking architecture’s promises to make “the dream of wire once and use forever” possible … 🙂 … It is the approach that re-makes the network connectivity on demand, making it software configurable, in an application & usage adaptable fashion.

SDN and NFV Industry Initiatives

  • Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) Project at the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) – potentially simplifies the physical network infrastructure by moving away from many specialized devices to fewer standard Servers, Storage, Core & Edge Switch devices while implementing network functions in software, an attractive proposition for carriers.

  • Software Defined Networks (SDN) Project at the ONF (Open Networking Foundation) – a complementary approach, conceives the decomposition of networking equipment into a Control Layer and a Forwarding, Datapath Layer, where the Control Layer offers software APIs that deal with the real time management of flows in the forwarding plane (OpenFlow protocol) and provides for remote configuration of datapath resources, via remote configuration protocols, allowing for increasing bandwidth and connectivity where and when it’s needed.

  • Interface to the Routing System Working Group – the I2RS group of IETF (the Internet Engineering Task Force) is developing an SDN strategy that aims to balance the routing decision between central controllers and field proven routing protocols, running across the network’s hardware devices.

  • Linux Foundation (LF) Open DayLight Project – a collaborative SDN / NFV Open DayLight project is supported by numerous networking vendors and industry groups.

  • Linux Foundation (LF) Open Platform OPNFV Project – an open source OPNFV Project focused on creation of an NFV reference platform accelerating new products and services.

Management and Orchestration (MANO) – Network Configuration Protocols

MANO aims to deal with complexities of modern networks through software APIs, inviting a new wave of innovations. They enable new business models, reducing costs and risks, and providing value by being adaptive to changing conditions, for example cloud service providers deliver flexible “Network as a Service” offering to enterprises and educational institutions.

Several of these next generation networking architecture projects have selected the IETF’s NETCONF / YANG standards as their remote configuration protocol and data modeling language, coupled with the SSH transport protocol for implementation.

For example, the Linux Foundation Open DayLight project has selected to use the NETCONF / YANG configuration protocol going forward but in order to support the existing legacy devices, it uses present SNMP and CLI configuration capabilities as well.

NETCONF / YANG technologies use XML data models and RPC’s to model the configuration data, actions and deliver them to remote devices. Regardless of a vendor’s NFV / SDN architecture implementations, NETCONF / YANG technologies promise a scalable and extensible network configuration and management framework.

NuDesign Product Direction

NuDesign has invested into migrating from today’s SNMP and CLI only management interfaces, into integrated and synchronized NETCONF / CLI / SNMP / Web / RESTCONF monitoring and remote configuration solutions.

This approach helps protect customer’s management software investment, it secures continuity and integration between generations of management applications and networking product families, by providing co-existence and transition of existing SNMP monitoring infrastructure to a new generation of management applications with support for IETF’s NETCONF / YANG configuration standard in networked devices and ultimately networks as a whole.

NuDesign’s ndCONF Agent Development Studio contains the extensible YANG Datastore Server, with datastore object providers built and instrumented from source YANG modules, using NuDesign’s ndCONF Builder.

The YANG Datastore Server can be deployed with any combination of NuDesign’s protocol specific Access Agents (NETConf, CLI, SNMP and / or RESTCONF), providing an OEM device with a well integrated ndCONF Agent for a monitoring and remote configuration agent solution, exposing required multiprotocol interfaces to provisioning and management applications.

The company continues evolving its present SNMP products and other software management technologies and products for use in their present markets as well.

Learn more…

To review and for selection of NuDesign’s YANG based NETConf, SNMP, CLI & RESTCONF development tools please review NETCONF & YANG Development information.

To review and for selection of NuDesign’s MIB based SNMP & CLI development tools please review SNMP & CLI Development information.