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Cloud Services Require New Class of Service Assurance, Heavy Reading Finds

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7/12/2013
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BOSTON -- To meet customer expectations for cloud services, service providers will require new service assurance solutions that can monitor the cloud infrastructure at all levels while preemptively managing subscriber experience at the application level, according to a major new report from Heavy Reading (www.heavyreading.com), the research division of Light Reading (www.lightreading.com).

Service Assurance in SDN & Cloud examines how traditional service assurance tools function in the context of today's cloud and IP networks and explains how those solutions must evolve to ensure the subscriber experience for different types of cloud services. The report explores how the concepts of software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) interact with these new service assurance challenges and analyzes the functions that a future comprehensive service assurance solution for the cloud must possess.

The report also examines seven key vendors in the cloud and IP assurance space, analyzing the critical qualities for success as a cloud assurance player: real-time session/service visibility and insight; service correlation and modeling; managing workload availability and mobility; application performance management; WAN optimization; issues in multi-vendor cloud environment; actionable alerts and root cause analysis; and reliance on probes.

Click here for the full list of included vendors.

"It is important for an effective cloud service assurance solution to have an end-to-end view of the entire network," notes Ari Banerjee, Senior Analyst with Heavy Reading and co-author of the report. "Because communication impairments can occur at any point along the path through the network, monitoring at a single point in the network or at the edge of a network cannot accurately identify the source of session-quality degradation."

Dynamic cloud services cannot rely on traditional service assurance solutions to meet enterprise requirements and expectations around QoE, Banerjee explains. "Service providers, in particular, must be more proactive in selecting solutions that can empower their cloud infrastructures to deliver the end-to-end, comprehensive network service visibility and data correlation required to lower their support costs and deliver upon their customers' SLAs."

Key findings of Service Assurance in SDN & Cloud include the following:

Service assurance for SDN will need close alignment with real-time OSS and best practice business processes. Close alignment between assurance and real-time OSS plus alignment with ITIL concepts will be important for service assurance solutions supporting cloud services and SDN.

Cloud success will depend on subscriber QoE. Cloud service providers must know that understanding the demands and apprehensions of cloud customers, whose primary concern is about quality of the overall experience, will be key to the success of cloud services.

Operators need granular network-facing application awareness, as well as subscriber-facing service awareness. This means real-time visibility into sessions and visibility into session paths and performance parameters. With a comprehensive view of all the sessions in the network, network operators can see those sessions that are impacted from various network events.

Application performance management must be married to service management. The key to fulfilling SLAs in a cloud environment will be the careful monitoring of the application layer. The application is where the customer is making transactions, and if the customer is not happy at this level, then the customer will not be satisfied.


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