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How to manage multivendor network management systems.

Management of a homogeneous network is not as much a problem as management of a heterogeneous network based on multivendor systems and different technologies.

Enterprise network equipment manufacturers are delivering the Integrated Network Management Systems (INMS) which can manage the hybrid network based on vendor-specific solutions or the equipment supporting standard management interfaces.

For example, IBM's computer and communication devices can be managed by Netview, and the intelligent muxes, modems and switches supplied by a single vendor for an enterprise network can be managed by a network management platform provided by the same vendor.

The problem arises when the network makeup comprises multivendor elements and element management systems which do not support any standard network management interfaces.

Solutions available in the market do provide a promise of integration but are far from the reality of total integration. The integrated management of every network is unique because of its environment.

Integrated network management systems are normally designed to integrate the generic network management functions.

The understanding of the management function by a network manager may be different than the network management system provider's. Therefore, an off-the-shelf system installed in an enterprise environment may not suit operational staff needs and could add one more element to the list of management systems.

The enterprise network operations environment varies from place to place.

It is important to define the integrated management requirements before looking at any integrated network management solution. The systems designed around international or de facto standards will not work where network equipment installed does not support standard-based network management interfaces.

The ideal integrated network management system provides flexibility of interaction with existing non-standards based management systems and supports an open architecture to accommodate evolving network management standard interfaces and protocols.

No matter how flexible the selected integrated network management system architecture is, a significant customization will be required.

Unitel is a Canadian carrier, and carriers have a dual need for network management systems: to manage their transmission and switching networks, and to provide network management services to customers to satisfy demands for more control over their portion of the public network.

Over the years carriers have invested a large sum of capital to automate operations by developing function-specific network management systems. They are now integrating their discrete system to face changing operational requirements, introduction of intelligent network technologies and the competitive business environment.

At Unitel, we concentrated on a practical approach to integrated management, developing interfaces between different elements and function-specific systems rather than replacing existing systems.

Our INMS architecture is based on a hierarchical approach consisting of five layers. They are: network elements, element management systems, sub-network management systems, integrator gateway and domain management.

The first two layers are self-explanatory. The sub-network management systems are function-specific--such as centralized testing systems and facilities record systems.

The integrator gateway collects data from many devices and systems and provides a cohesive view of the entire network specific to management domains. It does not replace the functionality of the vendor or technology-specific element management systems. It uses them as the extension of the overall integrated network management hierarchical architecture.

Domain management separates management responsibilities of the network. It includes service management, operations management, technology, customer interface, centralized testing and others.

A specific manager has full view of the service specific network, including transmission, switching and network termination equipment, as well as profiles of those subscribing to that service. A failure in the backbone can be quickly translated into the number of systems and customers affected for a specific service on the service management domain terminal.

The operations domain terminals provide access to network management applications specific to network operations centers.

The Network Management Control Center is an operations domain responsible for the backbone network. Technology domain is responsible for provisioning new technologies.

In addition to integrator gateway, Unitel chose Nynex's Allink operations coordinator, integrated management system as a service management platform. This system interfaces with many element management systems and sub-network management systems through the integrator gateway.

It was customized for Unitel operations with collective efforts of our operations support staff and Nynex staff. The system supports an open architecture for future interoperability with standards-based management systems supporting SNMP and Common Management Information Protocols. It is operational on an X.25 service network.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Rana, Zarar
Publication:Communications News
Date:Dec 1, 1992
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