Optical/IP Networks

Syndesis Ups Provisioning Ante

Syndesis Ltd. says it has new software that will greatly simplify the setup and provisioning of IP services over optical networks.

The company claims additions to its Netprovision suite, due to be unveiled next week, will let carriers automatically define and set policies for IP services over multivendor optical, ATM (asynchronous transfer mode), and DSL (digital subscriber line) networks.

Syndesis is among the first independent software vendors (ISVs) to claim support for provisioning IP services over optical nets. The announcement is significant, because automated provisioning tools that support multivendor equipment are crucial to the future of optical networks. Without them, carriers won't be able to justify their optical investments, or continue to build on them in the future (see Automate or Suffocate and Top 10 Trends).

"Syndesis is responding to an important growth area," says Larry Goldman, senior analyst at research firm Ryan Hankin Kent Inc. (RHK). He says two key elements -- automation and multivendor support -- will be essential for product success.

Syndesis is attempting to address both demands. The new products include Netprovision Creator 2.0, the basic package used to set up a provisioning system, and Netprovision Activator 3.4, which actually configures network equipment. The Netprovision Creator, loaded onto a server in a carrier network, automatically locates and sets up connections to equipment. It provides an interface that lets carriers specify various types of services based on this inventory of gear. Then the Netprovision Activator comes into play: This software interacts directly with multivendor DWDM (dense wavelength-division multiplexing) gear, routers, and Layer 3 equipment to configure ports and settings that match the carrier's request.

Syndesis also has written interfaces to link Netprovision to a carrier's operations support systems (OSSs) and network management systems, ensuring that orders for service are logged and billed appropriately and any changes are recorded in the Syndesis database.

Without these tools, carriers would be forced to configure devices individually in order to set up new services -- a process that could take months and require lots of manual intervention, virtually negating the payback opportunity for optical gear.

Today, Syndesis's software works with routers from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and IP provisioning gear from Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK).

"There's no reason it won't work with Juniper [Nasdaq: JNPR], too," says vice president for marketing Martin Steinmann. But he hints that Cisco, a key Syndesis partner, may not want to encourage the vendor to publicize this capability. Instead, Syndesis will probably wait for customers to specifically request it before officially touting it.

Syndesis's new software is integrated into an optical portion of the company's software suite, which works with equipment from Cisco, Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN), Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), and Sycamore Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SCMR).

Despite Syndesis's apparent breakthrough, experts say it's too soon for major kudos. The main reason is that several other players, most notably Emperative Inc. and Nortel (via its purchase of telecom software maker Architel in April 2000) also have been working hard in the multivendor provisioning arena and have made similar claims.

The proof will come when these provisioning tools can be shown to operate in live carrier networks. And that remains to be seen. So far, Syndesis appears to have a solid customer base, but deployments are still in the nascent stage. Syndesis acknowledges that just because its software streamlines the process of service provisioning doesn't mean it doesn't take time to get it up and running properly.

Startup Ethernet carrier Yipes Inc., for example, says it's not ready to comment on its use of Syndesis's software, even though it's listed as a key customer on Syndesis's Web site. "We're under development with the Syndesis product -- we don't have enough experience to comment," said a Yipesperson.

-- Mary Jander, senior editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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jmarcus 12/4/2012 | 8:57:43 PM
re: Syndesis Ups Provisioning Ante Does the syndesis provisioning software reside on a server that directly interfaces with the network routing gear?
Please can someone explain how it is configured and interacts within the network.
NetMan 12/4/2012 | 8:57:42 PM
re: Syndesis Ups Provisioning Ante Syndesis' software product, NetProvision Activator, is a client/server application that typically resides on a Sun server running Solaris. You also need to run a copy of the Informix database in conjunction with NetProvision, the database being where all information about network resources and activated connections (inventory) resides.

Syndesis' server component is made up from three distinct layers: the Service definition layer is on top; in the middle is a generalized activation engine; at the bottom of the stack are vendor specific equipment modules. The equipment modules talk directly to either the hardware itself or the ems/mns associated with the hardware. If Syndesis is talking directly to the hardware, for example, a Lucent PSAX 2300, then the protocol is SNMP. If Syndesis is talking to a Lucent ATM core, then Syndesis goes through NavisCore NMS.
jmarcus 12/4/2012 | 8:57:30 PM
re: Syndesis Ups Provisioning Ante really appreciate it NetMan!
NetMan 12/4/2012 | 8:57:29 PM
re: Syndesis Ups Provisioning Ante Your welcome. Let me know if you need more info about NetProvision Activator, for example, flow through interface (FTI). FTI, btw, is how users get away from the client side GUI and take advantage the northbound CORBA interface, which allows you to integrate NetProvision Activator into a comprehensive OSS solution.
Tommy 12/4/2012 | 8:57:24 PM
re: Syndesis Ups Provisioning Ante Hi NetMan
If NetProvision needs to talk direct to the hardware but no SNMP agent exists what options are available? Can it do Telnet/proprietary CLI or TL1? If so, is there a developer toolkit to build this or would it have to be developed by Syndesis?
NetMan 12/4/2012 | 8:57:22 PM
re: Syndesis Ups Provisioning Ante Netprovision can use Telnet and can access proprietary CLIs; TL1 support may be an option, however, I do not have current information regarding support for this protocol. I know there were plans to productize an equipment module developer's toolkit, however, again, I do not have current information regarding this product.

The idea driving this developer's toolkit was that third party integrators, as well as other sophisticated users, could use the toolkit to more quickly develop support for all the new equipment being deployed by carriers today.
rmuirhead 12/4/2012 | 8:56:57 PM
re: Syndesis Ups Provisioning Ante Another key player in this space is Orchestream: http://www.orchestream.com who are deploying with Energis, NTT, AT&T and others!....!

palexander 12/4/2012 | 8:56:18 PM
re: Syndesis Ups Provisioning Ante Another vendor worth looking at is IPHighway (www.iphighway.com). They seem to have a much better architected product for larger (1000+ devices) networks.
kragon 12/4/2012 | 8:56:11 PM
re: Syndesis Ups Provisioning Ante Shouldn't there be a law against PR firms posting here.
I thought I read that somewhere in the bylaws.
LightMan 12/4/2012 | 8:52:24 PM
re: Syndesis Ups Provisioning Ante I agree. The fact of the matter is that both of these companies are having problems. IPHighway has been kicked from several of the service providers using it. It is largely a enterprise-shareware class product. IPHighway has decent GUI's but not carrier class.

Syndesis is getting its butt handed to it in the industry. Cisco can't sell it and has to go sell Ecosystem products. Then go look at the Northpoint disaster. Need a new NE supported - better have a cryogenics tank handy, because it takes 6+ mo to get one out. If the company was based in the states it would be out of business 1yr ago. but all the Canadian subsidizing keeps it flailing like around like a fish out of water.

Orchestream is almost as bad. NT-based architectures don't go very far in a service providers network offering.

Ask any of these guys about standards, CIM/DEN, DMTF, IETF, WWW Consortium, MPLS.org, etc. and they will just look at you funny.

Do your DD.
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