Legacy Network Management Data
Figure 1 illustrates a service provider network being used to join together geographically dispersed sites. The sites are all part of the one enterprise. The NMS at the bottom of Figure 1 is employed to help manage the network and its deployed services. An operational network might feature several individual applications (rather than a single monolithic one) that together make up the NMS function. We'll take an overall view as if the NMS is a single application.
Figure 1 Typical small managed service provider network.
In most cases, the NMS in Figure 1 is provided by one of the major vendors (for example, HP, Cisco, Alcatel, and so on). It is used to manage the network devices in Figure 1 in the functional areas of fault, configuration, accounting, performance, and security (FCAPS). Some details of what the NMS does can be found in the References section at the end of this article and in my previous article, "Network Management and MPLS."
Most NMS applications push data into and pull data out of the managed network. Push data include device and service configuration. For example, if I want to create an MPLS LSP (an LSP is basically a reserved path) between LER A and LER B, the NMS can be used to push this data into the network. Pull data includes fault, performance, accounting, security, and so on. If I want to automatically "discover" the network elements in Figure 1, I can run the NMS auto-discovery function. The latter then reads or pulls the required data from the network. The NMS data is what constitutes the legacy data in this article.
As new devices and technologies are added to the network, the NMS might need new management software. Some technologies might require data migration; for example, moving from ATM to MPLS. In some cases, NMS software changes might require a new platform; for example, moving from
- Windows NT to Windows 2000
- Windows 2000 to Linux
- J2SE to J2EE
Examples of legacy NMS data include
- Topology information auto-discovered from the network
- Customer detail data entered as customers order network services
- Customer service details
- Scheduled maintenance records
The list of NMS data types goes on and on! Suffice it to say that running a large and complex network requires a large and complex technical infrastructure. This infrastructure generates a great deal of legacy data.