As an organization offering services that rely on a satellite-based network, the firm has unique challenges when it comes to collecting and analyzing its network performance data.
The main reason for this is the non-standard nature of its performance data. What the firm needs to monitor goes far beyond the typical SNMP-based data that most companies rely on. To establish and maintain reliable connectivity with corporate and government assets in the world’s most remote locations, its satellite-based network utilizes a range of protocols and data types that are beyond the capabilities of traditional network monitoring systems.
The Challenge – Collecting & Analyzing All the Data
In recent years, the firm's Network Operations team had made several upgrades to its operational support systems (OSS) to both broaden and improve services available to customers and their challenging operations – such as cargo ships at sea, airliners in mid-flight, and the remotest of locations.
Despite these improvements, the team was still experiencing difficulties with gathering, normalizing, and analyzing performance data. With its unusual operating environment, and array of disparate and non-standard data types, they too often had to manually cobble together data from different subsystems in order to correlate it to a particular device or other network resource.
Simply put, the firm wanted a more efficient and way to collect and analyze all of its performance data so performance issues could be diagnosed and remediated quickly, before growing into customer-impacting events.
That’s when they turned to IBM SevOne Network Performance Management (NPM).
Meeting the Challenge with a Combination of Technologies
The firm had made earlier upgrades to its network performance and event management capabilities, including significant investments in IBM Watson AIOps. With IBM Watson AIOps, the IT and NetOps team get cross-domain correlation, enrichment and consolidation of high volumes of alerts and alarms and other operational data in a single dashboard.
The problem for the firm wasn’t the analysis and subsequent remediation actions based on incoming alerts, alarms, and other performance event data. Their fundamental challenge was getting all of its data into a single place and cohesive format so that it could then take advantage of IBM Watson AIOps’ strong capabilities. It was a problem that was familiar to the team, which faced real complexities when they tried to process and utilize all of its data, including its many non-standard data types in a unified manner.
SevOne NPM's unmatched flexibility and scalability gave the team an effective way to get past its roadblock. Using a Kafka-based resource as a middle ground, SevOne NPM was able to take in a range of Kafka streams containing data in non-standard forms, including satellite-specific formats, IoT data, etc. Once all the performance data was gathered via the Kafka/SevOne tie-in, it was easy to port it into the NOI solution for rapid, advances analysis and action.
Thanks to SevOne NPM's flexibility and scalability, the firm had all of its performance data in one place and in a single, IBM Watson AIOps-friendly format.
Closing the Loop with a ServiceNow Integration
To gain further operational efficiencies around the management of network performance issues, the firm effectively extended its SevOne NPM and IBM Watson AIOps approach with a two-way ServiceNow integration. ServiceNow is a cloud-based workflow automation platform that helps organizations to improve their operational efficiency and user experience by automating a range of IT service management tasks. Now, based on the comprehensive operational data flowing from SevOne NPM into IBM Watson AIOps, ServiceNow could automatically generate incident tickets, track open and closed tickets, and generate reports automatically
For the team, the ServiceNow integration completed its automated, closed closed-loop system for network performance issue monitoring and management.
“This seamless integration of three top technologies got us right where we wanted to be,” said the Senior IP Engineer - Network Applications. “We had all of our data – including the unwieldy types – in a single format and single location from which it could flow into NOI for advanced analytics and visualization. All that was backstopped by the ServiceNow integration which, thanks to automation across the board, delivered big gains in both operational efficiency and effectiveness.”
Extending the Value to Line-of-Business Staff
In addition to using SevOne NPM to take in streams of data in both typical and atypical formats, the firm offers easy ways for any user to find and share valuable network performance insights.
The firm's IT and NetOps teams quickly began using SevOne NPM's simple and reusable reporting and troubleshooting workflows to minimize service delivery risks and improve overall operations. But the uses didn’t stop there. After familiarizing themselves with SevOne NPM's advanced visualization capabilities, some of the firm's sales people began generating reports that detailed customers’ use of the firm's services and highlighted places where more services made sense. These SevOne NPM reports help several sales people to close new and expanded service subscriptions with customers.
Based their success with SevOne NPM to date, and particularly its integration with IBM Watson AIOps and ServiceNow, the firm's IT and NetOps team members are looking at other potential ways that this industry-leading network monitoring solution could help improve the services the firm provides to its customers. One possibility is more data-driven network capacity planning. Another is possibly using the SevOne NPM to help achieve more intelligent, automated provisioning of network resources.
“SevOne NPM has been a key resource as we continue to up our OSS game,” said the Senior IP Engineer - Network Applications. “With its great flexibility and scalability, there are innumerable ways it could help us to further enhance service quality and reliability moving forward. We’re already checking several of them out, and we’re looking forward to the next chapters of our story with SevOne NPM.
With its SevOne NPM deployment, the firm has been able to accelerate improvements to the OSS resources and strategies it uses to support the full range of satellite-based connectivity and communications services it provides to enterprise and government customers worldwide. With SevOne NPM, the firm is able to better execute across all for pillars of modern network monitoring and management:
- Comprehensive data collection – Gathering all the data and normalizing it in one place
- Advanced analytics – Understanding what’s normal and what isn’t, and enabling rapid action
- Workflow visualization – Making it easy to share performance insights across the organization
- IT operations integration – Multiplying the value of other system by blending in new functionality