Netrounds and Cisco Polish Orchestrated Assurance Credentials but Operator Readiness Uncertain

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

• Netrounds and Cisco expand their relationship to include the certification of Netrounds Virtual Test Agents (vTA) technology on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers targeting increasing operator demand for orchestrated assurance capabilities.

• Netrounds and Cisco confront adoption barriers as many operators exhibit fear of failure toward automating assurance processes without more use cases and rivals offer single-vendor, pre-integrated alternatives.

In June 2017, Netrounds and Cisco expanded its partnership targeting growing operator demand for orchestrated assurance. The collaboration entails the compatibility certification of Netrounds vTAs with Cisco UCS servers building on Netrounds existing certification and integration with Cisco Network Service Orchestrator (NSO). The move boosts the market profile of Netrounds’ automated service activation testing and active monitoring solution through the channel and certification alignment with Cisco. Both Cisco and Netrounds strengthen their hand in driving orchestrated automation as compatibility certification is an essential feature in spurring operator automation of assurance processes. However, the collaboration must show it can provide the solution capabilities needed to drive the full range of orchestrated assurance requirements and faces adoption barriers as operators continue to investigate which assurance processes are best suited for automation.

So what does the Netrounds/Cisco alliance require to succeed? A few things quickly come to mind:

• Netrounds and Cisco need to generate new use cases that demonstrate how their collaboration distinctly overcomes operator fear of failure in the adoption of automated activation testing and monitoring processes. Operators are struggling to identify the operational processes best-suited for automation, and many are in a wait-and-see mode before they trust adopting automated test and monitoring on a network-wide scale.

• Cisco needs to furnish more disclosure of its NSO/MANO platform in delivering third-party VNF support in live hybrid network environments to bolster its multi-vendor orchestration credentials. Equally important, Cisco should develop and market its multilayer and multicarrier services orchestration portfolio capabilities to counter rivals like Netcracker, Amdocs, and Ericsson who look to apply such capabilities in winning more end-to-end orchestration deals.

• The Netrounds/Cisco alliance obliges operators to use separate test/monitoring and orchestration platforms. This goes against the grain of operators adopting single vendor, pre-integrated solutions that fulfill their end-to-end orchestration requirements, including automated assurance applications like active monitoring. As a result, Netrounds and Cisco should assert that their best-of-breed combination overcomes expanding pre-integration preference(s), or how the trend is non-applicable to their specific bi-vendor solution set.

• The alliance needs to address how its dual orchestrated assurance proposition eases integration with cloud administration functions such as policy management and mobile/desktop user interface ease-of-use for operator personnel. This puts the onus on Cisco to address the full range of automated orchestration requirements with policy management an area, where Cisco needs to update its credentials in driving the network-wide policies required to scale the automated activation of emerging 5G network slicing applications.

The orchestrated assurance collaboration between Netrounds and Cisco capitalizes on growing operator demand to automate their assurance processes, including service activation and service monitoring applications. The challenge for both players now is showing that Cisco UCS certification of Netrounds vTAs accelerates operator adoption of automated assurance and meets the full range of operator orchestrated assurance demands, especially in the areas of E2E orchestration, policy integration, and cloud administration.

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