Service providers live and die by Service Level Agreements (SLAs). It’s a make-or-break, 24×7 commitment. But as important as SLA compliance is to customer renewals, meeting those levels is not enough to gain a leading position in today’s crowded marketplace for Unified Communications (UC) managed services.
To stand out, service providers need real-time visibility into the performance of networks supporting today’s many UC applications – data, voice, video, voice/video conferencing, messaging, presence and collaboration. They need to be able to quickly identify, isolate and remediate any problem that can affect quality no matter where the problem occurs – whether the root cause is within the corporate network or outside the network edge. In short, service providers need to be able to detect and respond to service degradations and outages wherever they happen at the moment they happen, and not just react to network problems long after they’ve occurred.
Nectar Converged Management PlatformTM (CMPTM) provides this real-time end-to-end view. This powerful suite of performance monitoring and management solutions for converged networks can empower service providers to raise quality of service to new heights. Here’s how:
Auto-discovery for a world of devices
If you have a vast UC enterprise network to manage, you need to know what’s installed, including which version of software is running on every connected device. Nectar CMP performs this function automatically with its Vendor Knowledge Modules (VKMs) and through its dependency tree mapping function. The software passively polls all the assets in a complex UC environment from end to end to construct a complete inventory of IP network assets, and employs dependency tree mapping to identify the relationships and interdependencies between systems, links and users.
Nectar CMP presents support staff with a context-sensitive real-time display showing the status of all components required to deliver applications to users. Downstream problems are elevated and highlighted, enabling support staff to focus immediately on remediation. If a service degradation or outage occurs, CMP shows at a glance what sessions and users are affected. This empowers your support staff to proactively reach out to customers and notify them of the issue. A proactive response always helps to increase customer satisfaction, while deployment costs and timetables can also be reduced.
CMP provides proactive service management for the latest UC and collaboration platforms across enterprise, managed and cloud environments. Nectar Vendor Knowledge Modules (VKMs) are available across the UC ecosystem to include Acme Packet, Avaya, Cisco, IPC, Microsoft, Nortel and Sonus. In addition, the Unified Communications DiagnosticsTM (UCDTM) module adds real-time forensics and analytics for Microsoft Lync UC environments to the Nectar CMP solutions suite.
Correlate faults to root causes
With Nectar technology in place, network support staff will have the intelligence needed to diagnose and resolve quality of service (QoS) issues quickly and cost-effectively. Through our patented IP Correlation EngineTM, the UCD module enables technicians to find the “needle in a haystack” in a matter of clicks – reducing the time to problem resolution by 70% or more.
The Unified Communications Diagnostics module of CMP provides real-time intelligence on Lync telephony application performance at a deep packet level. For example, instead of just being able to see one aggregate MOS score per call after a call has concluded, UCD lets technical staff examine the quality rating for each session link in progress, segment by segment. They can follow each hop, through the enterprise and beyond into the public carrier network. The Nectar UCD module provides the ability to monitor the routing and paths between end users and Lync applications, including connections to other vendor UC platforms.
The UCD module not only gathers all this information for historical analysis. The software can deliver this intelligence in real time, an advantage that derives from tight integration with the Microsoft Lync SDN API. No other Lync performance monitoring solution on the market can match this capability today.
Recreate the user experience
The Nectar CMP UCD module captures a real-time and historical record of Lync UC voice and video network performance. Technical staff can use these statistics to examine a reported bad call or selected group of calls in granular detail. Using the powerful analytic and forensic tools incorporated in the UCD module, network support staff can drill down to the session level to view the user experience and pinpoint exactly where and when a fault or degradation occurred. The software correlates session, content and topology data in real time. This unique capability not only helps service providers and network owners fine-tune Lync telephony services for peak performance. It puts a stop to endless “finger pointing” when the cause of faults cannot be found.
Capacity planning is another critical area where the real-time and historic trending reports of Nectar CMP and the UCD module can play a central role. Executives and technical staff can use the data and analytics Nectar technology provides to evaluate device performance, optimize resource utilization and adapt all aspects of network utilization for peak performance.
In sum, the session-level diagnostic power of Nectar CMP and the UCD module will equip service providers with the intelligence needed to maintain quality of service for Lync UC environments at peak levels, satisfy SLA agreements, lower TCO and raise customer satisfaction.