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Cisco's Evolved Programmable Network Manager Offers New Power for the Network

By Steve Anderson June 04, 2015

Cisco was already a major name on several fronts to begin with, but no major name stays at the top of the heap for long without continuous advancement and refinement of earlier releases. This is a lesson Cisco has taken to heart, as it introduced a new addition to its Evolved Services Platform, one set on improving network service management.

More specifically, Cisco released the Evolved Programmable Network (EPN) Manager system, which is designed as a tool for unified network service management. It's intended to work with the WAN Automation Engine also available from Cisco, and provide help to not only network design, but also to provision and assurance. This makes management better able to be automated, and issues can be addressed in real time.

Generally, network service management tools don't offer that kind of real-time responsiveness; when network service management tools are built for physical network elements, it takes a lot of complex systems that have to be provisioned manually. That can stretch out the time to market on new services, and result in huge amounts of lost opportunity and competitive advantage. Worse, fault resolution across the various network service domains can be particularly difficult and even subject to more frequent errors, which makes the whole network that much less reliable.

But the Cisco EPN Manager steps that up a notch, bringing in new capability to put software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) to use, making for a programmable architecture that uses a model-driven setup. This in turn brings together the best of packet optical transport, data center tools, service provider Wi-Fi and more to create a system that not only meets today's needs, but also meets tomorrow's. It even includes geographic maps and service traces that encompass not only 3D but also multi-layer traces to make repair times go much faster and help keep the network up and running.

Analysis Mason's research director for network software and virtualization, Dana Cooperson, offered up a bit of commentary on the release and the extent of its capabilities, saying “Multi-layer real-time management solutions such as Cisco EPN Manager will enable carriers to increase business agility and operational efficiencies through automated device operations, fast provisioning and service assurance. The ability to manage both physical and virtual elements is also critical to carrier deployment of NFV technologies.”

The importance of a smoothly-operating network has never been so clear. With a host of functions depending on the network—everything from keeping up remote workforce operations to maintaining basic connectivity with suppliers, customers and beyond—making sure it operates to its fullest capability is vital for business. That's where tools like Cisco's EPN Manager really have an opportunity to shine, serving as that valuable bedrock on which the best network performance is made.

Cisco has had a lot of wins when it comes to providing the best in network capability, and this is likely just the latest in a long string of more to come. The company knows the importance of a fully-functional network, and as such, is looking to provide the means to optimize a service that makes all other services truly valuable.




Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

Contributing Writer

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