Most professionals working in the network design and NOC design of Carrier Service Providers (CSP) are frequently facing a dilemma. Should they implement a vendor’s Element Manager (EMS) and integrate it to their OSS/NMS umbrella systems or should they directly manage the vendors devices from the umbrella OSS/NMS?

Let’s try to identify and analyze the MIB integration risks, and then see if there are any benefits when deploying the vendor’s NMS.

MIB integration risks that CSPs may face

Typically, the vendors use MIBs in their products that are both proprietary and standard ones.

Sure, CSPs can get the MIBs and buy consulting services from vendors if needed, to directly integrate the devices to umbrella OSS/NMS platform(s), but here are some MIB integration risks that need to be considered:

How fast is integration of new MIBs? With every new firmware the probability of change of MIBs is non-zero. Thus the CSP has to do a fresh integration and at least check if the new firmware (and MIBs) did not cause something to break. This has an impact on how fast a new firmware release can be introduced in the network, thus slowing the pace of adding features or solving technical issues.

How complete is the MIB integration? Despite CSP effort to do 100% MIB integration, there may be pieces of information in the vendor’s devices which can be accessed/uploaded by other than SNMP interfaces. Examples include:

  • logs which may be better retrieved via SFTP, or
  • batch configurations that can be downloaded using scripts over SSH.

Obviously this variety has an impact on how much of the operational features are integrated to the umbrella NMS/OSS.

What features are you missing? Each product has a provisioning state machine which can’t be replicated in each and every NMS platform. Additionally, there are facilities which are available because of development effort in the NMS platform of the radio vendor and not because of the MIB. Examples include:

  • photo-realistic visualization of devices,
  • or calculated KPIs that combine multiple synchronized measurements,

These  cannot easily be replicated on umbrella NMS/OSS.

Savings & benefits when using the vendor’s NMS

Effective provisioning & monitoring. Most vendors implement effective methods for provisioning of their devices, some times using proprietary methods and interfaces. A vendor’s NMS will probably use the process that the vendor considers best for his device, something not possible within the (usually restrictive) environment of umbrella NMS/OSS.

Out-of-the-box manageability. With the vendor’s NMS, the network is manageable from day zero of putting the first device in the network. In contrast, 2-3 months may be required till MIB integration with 3rd party NMS is completed and tested

Fast network updates and upgrades. New firmware can be introduced on the devices quickly and safely, as vendors typically ensure that latest firmware files are supported in their NMS as soon as the firmware is released.

Integrity and security of data. Communication and data are secured with the vendor’s NMS, as the vendor has strong incentives to make sure that his NMS will satisfy customers requirements. With umbrella NMS/OSS, integrity is responsibility of the project and may be compromised.

Dimensioning and scalability. Implementing an hierarchical architecture has scalability benefits. By letting the vendor’s NMS collect all performance measurements and alarms and then sending to the umbrella NMS/OSS only the useful data relieves the umbrella systems from unnecessary load.