Where The Magic Happens: What You Need…

by | November 9, 2016
Where The Magic Happens: What You Need…

It is common for a vendor to espouse all of the virtues of their software, regardless of whether it is something you actually need right now or not. I am positive we have been guilty of that at Itential as well…we all are sometimes. I wanted to focus a little bit on not what Itential CAN do, but on the things that you NEED to be able to do and how Itential fits into that picture, along with other systems you may already have from other vendors.

Every customer we talk to shares an architecture with us of where they are wanting to go. On every single one of those architectures there is this box somewhere in the middle that the best they can explain what it does is, “this is where the magic happens.” Every customer has too many systems they must log into today. Every customer have way too many manual processes, at least partially (if not mostly) due to all those systems from the last sentence. The most common things they say they think they need boil down to a few buzzwords: a “dashboard” or a “single pane of glass” for managing their network. We prefer the “single pane of glass” (SPOG) designation, so I will be using that one. Dashboard implies more of a passive view of your environment with no actionable functionality involved. This is not enough to meet the need.

So, what do I see the need as?

  1. The multitude of systems present need to be abstracted from the operations personnel doing work on the network and/or data center day to day
  2. There needs to be a single management view, the above mentioned SPOG, that allows information to be at hand for each operational role’s responsibilities
  3. That SPOG should not ONLY display data, it must allow action to be taken on those areas as well
  4. That SPOG should be customizable to a specific role, not displaying an array of irrelevant information to that person’s job
  5. That SPOG should provide northbound APIs for other systems to interact with as needed, such as OSS/BSS
  6. That SPOG should interact with southbound APIs from the operational systems involved, such as NMS/EMS systems AND OSS/BSS as required
  7. Cross Functional orchestration has to be a key component of this solution, providing an end to end workflow across groups, systems, operational domains, etc.

In all of the above there is an aspect of middleware functionality, orchestration functionality, app server functionality, workflow, and even a little OSS-like functionality.

Itential checks those boxes. Our focus in on automating your operations, and filling in the gaps where the major players in each space mentioned so far aren’t able to fill today. Itential is not a middleware solution, but it does some things that might lead to you thinking it was if you only heard about those pieces.

Itential is not an orchestrator, but in order to supply the functionality we do there is a good bit of orchestration that goes on behind the scenes.

Itential is not an app server, but we have one embedded within our architecture to serve up the custom SPOG applications you would want to expose to your operations personnel.

Itential is not a workflow solution, but as above, there is some pretty sophisticated workflow capability we bring to the table to provide automated operations.

I have had people ask if Itential was one of the above things…many times. The answer to each is yes, and no. We do all of those things, but we don’t do those things for the sake of doing them standalone. We do them to provide the best integrated, single pane of glass, automated solution possible.

Our focus is to take the functionality of those southbound systems, expose that to an application layer, and then use the combination of those functions to allow you to automate specific operational activities that take up too much of your time today, allowing your engineers and highly skilled operations personnel to avoid the menial, repetitive tasks and focus on high value activities for your company. A great example of this is the MOP automation demo below:


So, what DO you need? Automated Operations so that your personnel can be leveraged in the highest value manner possible.

You don’t NEED to buy a new system. At least not, if you have something in house today that can accomplish everything above without extensive custom application development. If you don’t have such a solution in place…well, we have one.

Patrick Moore

Patrick Moore currently serves as the Director of Network Automation Strategy at Itential where he has responsibility for managing the delivery of services to implement network automation for clients leveraging both Itential products and custom developed solutions.

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