Words: Sonja Filiposka (UKIM), Roman Łapacz (PSNC)
We are experiencing a shift to a new normal for “business as usual” where teams and tools need to work together in a highly flexible way to adapt to the dynamic environment. In these times of change, terms such as orchestration, automation and virtualisation are becoming persistent companions on the top of our priority list for enabling fast new service deployment, quick troubleshooting, and eliminating human error. This is the point when you start thinking along the lines of, “Could it be possible for all of my tools to talk to each other, exchange information and draw upon a single source of truth about the network?”
As it happens these are the goals around which the Service Provider Architecture (SPA) platform is being built. It envisions the network management platform as a set of fully automated microservices that can be orchestrated together to implement the intents of the network operations manager.
By interfacing with physical or virtual network device managers, SPA can provide a complete service lifecycle management integrated into a single self-service portal. Each of its components is a unique feature puzzle piece that is integrated into the whole via the orchestration engine. The information stored in each component is accessible via a TM Forum specified Open API and an accompanying data model. This includes a machine-readable service specification in the Service Catalogue, based on which new service instances are stored in the Resource and Service Inventory.
There is also Order Management that stores and tracks the history of all orders made by users whose information is managed in the Users Database. The rules are specified in the Policy Management component, while the Service Activation component interfaces with the correct manager to translate the intent into network configuration changes. Service Testing allows for defining regular or ad-hoc service tests to be conducted to make sure the network and services are running smoothly and there are no problems.
SPA is based on a pluggable architecture design allowing new components to be added or existing components to be replaced or removed as required. Legacy applications can be integrated through open APIs. The processes defined in the orchestration engine define the fabric of the system that specifies the steps that need to be executed in order to create a new service instance, make a modification, or terminate a service. Thus, it is a very flexible approach that can easily fit all services and implementation styles.
At the moment most of SPA’s components are being used to manage the lifecycle of the GÉANT Connectivity Service (GCS) used to implement GÉANT Plus services where SPA interfaces with an OpenNSA management agent to be able to configure circuits in the live network infrastructure.
If you are interested in testing SPA or maybe just some of its components, we are happy to inform you that it is currently being prepared to be released as a new application in the NMaaS catalogue. In the meantime, you might want to take a look at SPA’s Inventory which is already available for testing purposes in NMaaS.
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