Rick Saia – CRN
Networking giant Cisco and unified IT monitoring and service analytics developer Zenoss are teaming up to provide an integrated NFV (network functions virtualization) solution aimed at accelerating software-defined networking (SDN) deployments in communication service provider environments.
Zenoss, based in Austin, Texas, and a strategic partner of Cisco, said the integration enables rapid modernization of infrastructures in what it calls a highly competitive communication service provider space.
The jointly developed solution will be available through Cisco’s direct and indirect sales channels, according to Steve Sigler, senior director of business development for Zenoss.
The Cisco-Zenoss solution will enable service providers to accelerate NFV and software-defined networking deployments; automate monitoring and provisioning of systems and applications in highly <<dynamic>> NFV environments; improve performance and capacity planning to most efficiently use all computing resources at all times; identify software and hardware components throughout the stack that could affect service reliability for tenants and NFV instances; ensure service health and reliability at massive scale; and simplify relationship modeling and accelerate issue root-cause analysis, according to Zenoss.
In an interview with CRN, Sigler said the solution would benefit telecommunications and networking specialists that use cable, satellite and landline to provide general internet and networking capabilities.
The deployment components include a combination of Cisco’s Unified Computing Systems (UCS) and Nexus systems; the Cisco Virtualized Infrastructure Manager (VIM), which sits atop the RedHat OpenStack; and Zenoss Service Dynamics (ZSD) for NFVI, according to a statement from Zenoss.
The biggest benefits of the solution, Sigler noted, are in ease of installation and time to revenue, since the solution takes a process that that once typically took weeks to complete and shortens it dramatically to less than a day.
That weeks-long process used to involve multiple tool sets, “now it’s all pre-integrated for you by the folks at Cisco,” Sigler said.
“We can drop ship one of these things to a service provider. They can put it in their data center, spend about a day configuring it, and they’re up and running,” Sigler said.
“In this space, these things are clearly needed,” said Matt Duncan, director of GDT Labs, a Cisco partner based in Dallas. Service providers like GDT need such advanced technology to make networking deployments simpler, and “these products help bring us down that path.”
“Service providers are always looking to upsell customers to new or enhanced services, and the faster they can roll those out through automated provisioning, the faster they’ll churn new revenue from that customer,” said Jim Duffy, senior networking channel analyst at Boston-based 451 Research, in an email response to a question from CRN. “This is also the typical customer profile that could benefit from this integration – a service provider generating revenue from a Cisco NFVI infrastructure.”
The global NFV market is growing, according to analyst firm ReportsnReports, which recently forecast a combined annual growth rate of nearly 33 percent between 2016 and 2020.
The combination will also enable service providers to save money on software licensing, Sigler added.With Cisco’s OpenStack combined with Zenoss’s unified computing systems technology, service providers can also save money on software licensing, Sigler added.
Because Zenoss and Cisco are long-time strategic partners, product integration and marketing activities are deeper, Duffy added, “so, from an implementation standpoint, Zenoss’s service assurance and orchestration software should support Cisco NFVI systems … very tightly, almost natively. It’d be a surprise if they didn’t. “
Duffy said the solution would especially appeal to Cisco shops; others could benefit “only if during the upgrade cycle will they replace vendors for a system that performs better, cost less, reduces opex,” and offers other financial advantages such as improved total cost of ownership and ROI.