ATLANTA, June 5, 2001 - To enable service providers to reduce operating costs and accelerate the delivery of new billable data services, Cisco Systems, Inc., the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, today announced an integrated and programmable XML-based network solution for hands-free deployment and configuration of network devices and services.
The programmable network solution comprises two parts: the Cisco Intelligence Engine 2100, a new device in the Cisco Networking Services (CNS) product family that provides automated deployment and management of network devices, and new embedded CNS agents in Cisco IOS software that enable network devices to become intelligent peers in network provisioning and monitoring. This programmable network solution delivers the Cisco IOS XML interface, a single, open programmatic interface to the entire network.
An evolutionary step beyond today's device-by-device management and configuration, the programmable network solution delivers plug-and-play deployment and synchronized control of geographically distributed network devices, groups of devices and network-wide services.
"By pushing intelligence into the network, service providers are able to not only meet the demands for rapid service deployment but also ease the ever-present constraint on staffing resources and high operating costs," said Kevin Kennedy, senior vice president of Cisco's service provider line of business. "This programmable network solution is a cornerstone of Cisco's next-generation Internet router strategy to help service providers deliver higher-margin services and reduce operational expenditures."
Service providers can take the addition of intelligent network configuration capabilities of network equipment and services through the Cisco IE 2100 series and Cisco IOS CNS agent technology one step further. The solution integrates with the Cisco manufacturing service called Configuration Express to form a complete order-to-deployment system, enabling service providers to accept a service order via the Web, process the order through Cisco manufacturing and have Cisco equipment drop-shipped directly to the customer site. Once the equipment is plugged in and turned on, all service configurations occur remotely.
"Device configuration can consume almost half of a service provider's administration costs. Cisco's initiative to lower this cost via its programmable network solution will help drive the long-anticipated quest to automate service creation and adaptive networks to reality," said Ron Westfall, principal analyst at competitive response solutions firm Current Analysis. "Carriers are interested in driving this type of development forward because they need to be able to flexibly distribute intelligence through the network to automate configuration of new services and changes to existing services."
Service provider BroadRiver is rolling out the Cisco programmable networking layer capabilities to reduce the costly, manual endeavor of deploying new services.
"The marketplace has created a requisite for a new-services delivery channel that is easily replicable and enables a viral means of growth for differentiated services. Automated ebusiness process could save service providers as much as 20 cents per revenue dollar, by eliminating truck-rolls and reducing the possibility of service order activation error," said Ed Pimentel, chief technology officer at BroadRiver Communications.
The Cisco IE 2100 Automates Service CreationThe Cisco IE 2100 device is the central component of an integrated order-to-deployment solution. Once distributed on a service provider's network, the Cisco IE 2100 devices require minimal configuration and can be installed within minutes via an intuitive, task-oriented user interface. With that interface, network engineers require little training to immediately begin automating routine deployment and configuration tasks. The CIE 2100 can be used as both a building block of an integrated service delivery solution and as a standalone tool to help network engineers automate common tasks.
Swedish service provider Telia is testing the programmable networking solution to automate service deployment.
"Telia is actively evaluating the Cisco IE 2100 for automation of initial CPE deployment, managed device configuration, new service management and customer self-care. Today these processes are largely manual," said Mr Christer Odmalm, manager of service integration at Telia Networks. "Automation would benefit Telia by reducing the cost and delay these manual processes introduce, while increasing reliability and customer satisfaction. Hands-free automation would enable Telia to make more productive use of skilled network engineers while giving customers direct control over their own services."
The Cisco IOS XML interface provides an easy migration path for existing customers and network application developers. Making use of well-known programming standards such as XML and middleware messaging, the programmable network solution simplifies integration into a service provider's existing OSS/BSS or process workflow system. Service providers can take advantage of this innovation to quickly create new service offerings or enhance profitability of existing service offerings with functionality such as hands-free deployment.
BT Ignite Solutions, the e-business and communications solutions unit within BT Ignite, is using the Cisco IOS CNS technology as the basis of its plan to revamp and automate its existing service deployment processes.
"BT Ignite Solutions has joined forces with Cisco to build its next generation directory-enabled network provisioning solution. This twelve month project will utilize CNS IOS agent technology to provide intelligent infrastructure upon which BT Ignite Solutions will automate the deployment of new managed network services," said Paul Farmiloe, Director of Connectivity Solutions, BT Ignite Solutions.
CNS delivers the mechanism which logically centralizes the management plane and elevates Cisco IOS devices to be managed as intelligent peers in an OSS. Cisco IOS agents can take advantage of CNS's intelligent networking services to provide new functionality such as plug-and-play deployment and synchronized configuration of a service across distributed devices. This programmable network functionality will be the foundation for Cisco's delivery of self-healing highly-available adaptive networks.