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The provision of layer 3 IP services is complex and challenging. The commercial landscape is one of healthy competition in this area! Because workflows associated with the lifecycle of IP services are complex and evolving, reviewing these workflows in advance of or in parallel with MIB design seems a good idea—the main merit being greater manageability of the delivered service.

One criticism that might be made about current IP VPN management products is that they're a little fragmented. By this I mean that some products operate exclusively on the edge devices, leaving the core configuration to other products. This can make an end-to-end view more difficult and needlessly complicates the workflows. There may be solid commercial reasons for splitting this area into several licensed software products, but my philosophy is always that manageability should never be sacrificed for financial gain.

As end users become more demanding of their purchased IP services, it's likely that management workflows will become even more complex. When this happens, vendors and MIB authors will see a return on the time invested in prior research into the anticipated workflows.

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