Network executives face several challenges in migrating to advanced IP services for their next-generation networks, most prominently the implementation of services to manage the new network. The currently popular overlay management approach compromises bandwidth and adds costs.
A new approach is needed, one that not only allows for a blanket view and management of the entire global WAN, but that is actually embedded in the network itself - reducing bandwidth and cost issues. This approach is known as service-embedded network management.
One key challenge for NGN providers is to get accurate, granular information on the corporate traffic traversing the WAN. But adding an additional (management) application to the network introduces as many problems as it solves.
Since the server where the network traffic statistics are stored and analysed is somewhere in the enterprise network, accessing that information is an additional strain on the corporate network, consuming up to 20% of the available bandwidth.
An embedded approach, on the other hand, mirrors and stores critical network traffic statistics and allows immediate analysis, viewing and reporting from anywhere internet access is available. This service model captures session header information inside the provider edge network, eliminating the need for hardware or software on the enterprise side.
This innovative approach involves leveraging deep packet processing enabled through the service packet mirroring feature. This mirroring feature allows the service provider to capture all session header information for network traffic on a given circuit – not a five-minute traffic “sample” – and store that information on servers placed in a secure location inside the service provider’s network.
And because the session header information is mirrored and recorded at the provider-edge ingress and egress points, the service is always available at any time without requiring any equipment or integration effort. There is no waiting four to six months – or longer – to begin getting meaningful network statistics and reports. The service is simply “turned on” and the session header traffic is recorded for viewing at any time.
Lower network TCO
The costs for an embedded management service are substantially lower than those for an overlay solution. There are no hardware, software or integration costs, nor maintenance fees to pay. The service can be offered for a low monthly rate, thereby allowing the enterprise to redirect its capital while also reducing its operating costs.
A service-embedded approach is rich in benefits for the enterprise. Advanced provider-edge routers allow service providers to mirror and store critical network traffic statistics for immediate analysis, viewing and reporting. The results are improved application and WAN performance and a lower total cost of network ownership.
John Dumbleton is the UK managing director of Masergy