Getting Cloudy

VoicenData Bureau
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Network management services are maturing from specifics such as

network/servers/databases to service level management. This is primarily because

of the business trend that CTOs/CIOs proactively focus upon-managing customer

experience. In the recent past, network management services were based on

service oriented architecture (SOA) that effectively integrated traditional

disparate network management tools and various heterogeneous networks.


Network management, which is particularly defined as the remote or onsite

proposition to monitor and manage enterprise's networks, will cease to exist as

a standalone proposition. Also, the value proposition of narrowly defined

network management services has drastically reduced due to security, voice, and

application acceleration technologies becoming commonplace.

Tech Trends

The major technology drift that industry stakeholders are watching very

closely is the spread of cloud concept taking over. Whether it is private or

public cloud based networks, the network management challenges emerging from

these developments are enormous. These new-age networks have placed the burden

on management vendors to use cutting-edge tools and deploy management experts to

enable the virtual infrastructure to be managed flexibly.

Expert Panel

Alamuri Sitaramaiah, director, sales and marketing,

Fluke Networks

Kiran Desai, VP, MIT, Wipro Infotech

Rajesh Thakur, associate VP, India business, HCL Comnet

Gowri Krishna, VP, network design & engineering, Tech Mahindra


Infrastructure performance management and leveraging deep packet monitoring,

inspection, and analysis techniques-to arrive at the root cause analysis and

stream-to-disk-are the two new key issues coming up in a big way in the network

management segment.

Some of the other technological trends in the network management space are

migration of network connectivity from hub and spoke topology to MPLS; business

opportunity coming from e-governance initiatives of states & central government

and public sector undertakings; network management outsourcing to service

provider's remote infrastructure management centers; etc.

Network behavioral analysis technologies from HCL Comnet combines visibility

of network usage patterns, profiling end users network usage, security

operations and visibility of network security data and adds in the ability to

detect anomalous behavior for any application traffic that deviates from a

defined operational baseline.


Fluke Networks is currently bringing out advanced solutions in areas of wired

and wireless network and protocol analysis, proactive performance management

solutions, wireless intrusion detection and wireless intrusion prevention

solution, deep packet monitoring, analysis, and inspection techniques.

Wipro Infotech is also planning to introduce technologies like in-house tools

to automate first level troubleshooting and alarm validation and deskilling

activities in network management and automation of mundane activities to improve


Tips for CIOs

One of the key elements that CIOs need to remember is to focus on end user

experience of the IT infrastructure through frameworks and roadmaps for

instrumenting management solutions. This is the best way to ensure that CIOs can

meet their internal/external customer needs of IT infrastructure performance as

well as costs.


CIOs should ensure that they engage a mature system integrator with deep

telecom domain understanding and one who has delivered large scale solution

across OSS/BSS and networks. In view of the forecast technology changes and

resulting complexities of networks and aggressive service expectations from

customers, CIOs should take a long term view while deciding on network

management services with respect to the technology roadmap, system integrators

who present capabilities and future technology adoption and support.

Tech Advances

  • CDMA 3x or 1x connectivity to MPLS is becoming popular
  • WiMax and HX VSAT as an alternate last mile, wherever feasibility is

    an issue
  • Secure connectivity through Internet broadband
  • Growth in the implementation of wireless LAN, WAN optimization, load

    balancers, etc
  • Device consolidation and virtualization is data center to reduce the

    space, power, etc
  • Service variants in MPLS and Internet from service providers

CIOs should focus on strategic maintenance of the network in the same way as

they expect their IT managers to focus on tactical maintenance of network



Besides, CIOs should outsource network management to partners who have the

following capabilities:

  • Certified engineers availability to support customers
  • Proven and demonstrated skills and experience in implementation and

  • Better infrastructure and proven processes in the sustenance support for

  • Trained teams on new technologies and best practices before the public

    roll-out itself
  • Access to solution architecture and system integration help for technology

  • In-house tools to handle commercial tool limitation and task automation

Enterprise Concerns

Enterprises are focused on achieving cost reduction, efficiency, adoption of

rapid technology change, regulatory compliance, control and security, agility

and responsiveness. Three areas that stand out as major concerns are improving

security and availability; controlling maintenance and resource cost; and

increasing agility.


The other major concern raised by enterprises are the increasing complexity

and management costs of IT infrastructure, and the lack of skill in-house or in

outsourced agencies that take a comprehensive approach to managing the various

facets of infrastructure. This problem is becoming more acute as more

applications like data, VoIP, and videoconferencing are being increasingly

deployed and the infrastructure itself is becoming more business critical.

Some of the other concerns raised by enterprises are:

  • Cost of hiring and retaining skilled networking resources in-house
  • Driving service providers to meet SLAs
  • Cost of tools and technology related limitations like ISDN monitoring,

    Ethernet link monitoring, etc
  • Asset management
  • Overall network management investment if it is in-house

Apart from cost optimization and performance enhancement issues, there are a

few other relevant concerns raised by enterprises as they seek an infrastructure

management solution. The flexibility and scalability provided by virtualization

and cloud computing, leads to difficulty in managing the virtual infrastructure.

Organizations are concerned about acquiring the right bouquet of complementary

management solutions to help manage these sophisticated networks.

A Green Shift

When the entire telecom industry is talking about going green and

eco-friendliness, network management space is no exception. All players are very

active on the going green front. HCL Comnet has recently up-designed and

implemented its infrastructure management service platform to make use of the

most energy efficient, lean computing technologies that run minimally fussy

management tools. The company's data centers are built and maintained on green

practices. For customers with onsite network management facilities, HCL provides

process consulting to achieve infrastructure consolidation and optimization to

reduce both cost and carbon footprint. On the other side, Tech Mahindra often

aligns and help its global customers to build a predefined carbon reduction

strategy at the initial phase of the solution design.

CIO Wishlist

  • Improved network availability
  • Improved internal customer satisfaction
  • Improved IT employee productivity
  • Improved RoI of IT
  • Reduced cost
  • Reduced hidden costs that traditionally increases the total cost of

  • Better capacity utilization
  • Further automation to reduce MTTR and increase MTBF
  • Compliance to process standards and stipulated regulations
  • IMSs be tightly integrated with security management systems and audit


Growth Prospects

The space is witnessing the rush of enterprises across verticals standing up

and demanding optimization of their network infrastructure with a view to reduce

bandwidth costs and the risk of application availability degradation. There is

an immense potential for growth over the next three to five years, focusing on

building strong skill-sets in network management tool sets and packaging

services as an integral part of either enterprise cost optimization bouquet or

the composite infrastructure management.

Arpita Prem