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We Can See Clearly Now

Imagine driving on a humid rainy day with the windows of your car fogging repeatedly. When time and safety are of the essence, this quickly becomes more than a nuisance. Especially in situations of busy traffic and rapidly changing road conditions, visibility is critical.

A leading indicator of the real adoption of private clouds by demanding enterprises is that the same observation is being made. Safely and productively expanding private cloud deployments often means breaking through an operational fog. Just this week at the Open Network Users Group (ONUG), an elite team of early adopters largely from financial institutions, retail and healthcare verticals will release and discuss their key requirements in the form of a test plan issued to challenge the industry.

Having lived at the cutting edge of SDN trials and tribulations for its age of incubation, many ONUG community users are extending the scope and use cases from test/dev environments to multi-datacenter production scenarios: Getting to 100,000 endpoints, going beyond virtual machines to containers, incorporating bare metal assets for business critical legacy applications, federating policy across disparate domains, and doing so with documented open APIs are what it’s all about in their most recent test plan.

But with all that comes the need for peace of mind. In this DevOps age, as connections become more ephemeral and environments become more programmable, the ops team has every right to ask for a little peace of mind. The biggest gap that remains is peace of mind in operationalizing these highly dynamic and heterogeneous virtual environments. Ben Kepes (@BenKepes) recently called it “the magic ingredient that has been missing”. Hey, how will I know which virtual workloads will be affected if a link goes down in my physical infrastructure? How can I effectively monitor the health of my network (open virtual on top of open physical) with appropriate operational visibility at scale?

That has not been left to the future. Indeed roughly a quarter of the ONUG community’s test plan was focused on exactly these concerns of correlation, monitoring and performance between overlays and underlays.

ONUG Nuage Networks Testing Results

ONUG Virtual Network Overlays Working Group Test Results

What better time than the present to deliver a toolset for operational visibility between SDN overlays independent of networking hardware. Today Nuage Networks has introduced the Virtualized Services Assurance Platform (VSAP). The VSAP, used in successfully executing the ONUG test plan over the past couple of months, correlates between an enterprise’s policy-based overlay networks and their choice of underlying network hardware. It provides timely visibility for fault isolation, service management, and inventory management. To do so, the VSAP uses open protocols to discover and maintain topologies, and aggregates those virtual and physical topologies to correlate services and facilitate remediation actions. VSAP builds and monitors a full view of the physical network, and correlates virtual network policies and physical topologies for troubleshooting, fault correlation, network monitoring and inventory.

Regardless of an enterprise’s choice of network equipment, hypervisor or cloud management system, VSAP gives clear and actionable operational insight into the interplay of the physical and virtual networking environments in their private cloud. VSAP is a module of the Nuage Networks VSP, which has been deployed worldwide in dozens of demanding multi-datacenter networks to date. It is already in customer trials and will be generally available within a quarter. With VSAP as part of our VSP offering, we not only passed the suite of ONUG tests with flying colors, but we were the only ones in our category to get 10 out of 10.

In the meantime, the fog on our car windows seems to have cleared away. With operational tools like VSAP, we can see all obstacles in our way as we focus on the streaming music and discover the potential of open clouds.

For more information check out these links:
Virtualized Services Assurance Platform (VSAP)
Press Release: Nuage Networks solves critical operational challenge to accelerate adoption of SDN-powered enterprise cloud and wide area network (WAN) services
Dimitri Stiliadis, CTO, Nuage Networks showcases VSAP at Tech Field Day Extra @ ONUG
Blog: It’s Overlay O’clock ! Do You Know Where Your Packets Are?

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