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Ensuring Consistent, Accurate Network Inventory Management for NRENs

13 June 2022
Mike Dorland

Trusted by:

Telecom Egypt
BC Hydro


National Grid
Open Fiber
TPX Communications
Ella Link
Red Iris
Surf Net

When you change network and service tech, you can’t lose sight of the big picture – consistency matters, so that national and international research networks can deliver to their users. Effective inventory management is critical to delivering agile services across complex, multi-site networks.

Continual network evolution requires effective inventory management

As specialist providers of internet and connectivity facilities, National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) have demanding needs, with strict obligations to deliver. Their customers and users can have diverse requirements and may need dedicated and often very different services – connecting, for example, globally distributed research teams undertaking markedly different projects. Moreover, the logical and physical service connections may span multiple NRENs, as well as pan-continental networks, such as GÉANT

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NRENs are also often early adopters of new solutions and need to ensure that the introduction and management of each new technology proceeds as smoothly as possible. Each, such as WDM/OTN, MPLS or SDN/SD-WAN, adds a new dimension to consider. Comprehensive inventory management is the key to handling successive waves of technology, delivering a consolidated view of your network, assets, and the logical / physical relationships between them – end-to-end. Some legacy platforms are unable to support new technologies as they are introduced, which inhibits performance and agility.

Inventory is integral to business and process management

New services bring new possibilities, resulting in an increasingly diverse portfolio that can be delivered between research partners, or even to specific teams in different sites. These must be provisioned and assured correctly. And, the services delivered end-to-end may traverse a series of interconnecting paths – nationally leased dark fiber, as well as international leased lines. If you establish a new project, or forge a new relationship, you need these services and the connectivity they require to be allocated, dynamically – and to be accounted for.

That applies equally to existing services and connections. What if a leased line that had been heavily utilized becomes redundant, due to the conclusion of a project? It needs to be shut down or redeployed so that costs can be managed – an effective inventory solution can identify usage and correlate it to payments, so that optimization steps can be flagged.

Updating and accuracy – reconciliation is essential

Inventory management solutions should be able to present operational data correlated with a real-time view of physical locations and resources, as well as the virtual services enabled for all generations of technology. It’s essential for this view to be maintained, updated daily to take account of any changes, so this can be mapped to organizational requirements – regardless of the evolution of the network. So, when you transition from one generation to another, you need a tool that can maintain this view – for WDM/OTN, MPLS, SDN/SD-WAN and more.

VC4-IMS – a complete inventory management solution for NRENs

VC4-IMS is a complete, intelligent inventory management system that brings data together, eliminating silos and providing a consolidated record of your network assets – physical, virtual, logical, and service – giving you clarity and supporting operational automation and transformation. It is compatible with every generation of technology you adopt – and supports a unique reconciliation process, so that it is automatically updated – providing the flexibility you need to meet the demands of your customers. In other words, it boosts your capability to deliver high-performance networks to researchers – nationally and internationally.