business should have an IT infrastructure that matches
it's growth rate and keeps up with changes in technology
to keep providing efficient service to the organization.
A company can take the help of a Managed Network Services
provider, which will help it offer its IT services better.
by Dilip Kumar
today's e-commerce enabled business environment, stable
and high performance communication systems are of immense
value. Especially to organizations that have presence
in various cities worldwide. Every business organisation
needs an IT infrastructure that can extend globally
to all prospective customers, employees, suppliers,
and partners. And the infrastructure should be able
to offer innovative and efficient business processes.
Such demands are further aggravated by the spiralling
complexity of information networks and the high cost
of hiring and retaining specialised personnel. As a
result of this aggravation, organisations find themselves
gradually losing control of the direction and effectiveness
of its infrastructures. Few organisations have the internal
resources to ensure stable operation of such an e-business-ready
network infrastructure. This situation creates a tremendous
opportunity for SPs (Service Providers) to offer value-added
MNS (Managed Network Services).
MNS typically include voice/data integration services,
VPN (Virtual Private Network) services, network management,
performance management, guaranteed service levels, fault
management, change management, configuration management,
security (PKI, Firewalls), and application outsourcing.
No official figures are currently available for managed
services in India, but I feel that the market will grow
to about Rs. 100 crores within the next three years.
LANs, WANs, and the Internet continue to grow not only
in reach and importance, but in complexity as well.
New products appear every month, and old products don't
always go away. Maintaining technical expertise in the
midst of this richly ramifying profusion of network
technologies is difficult. And recruiting, training,
and retaining sufficient qualified personnel borders
on the impossible.
Service providers can implement changes quickly and
many organisations turn to MNS because service providers
are quicker than IT staff to add new connections or
upgrade bandwidth. Allowing a service provider to manage
the network will also enable companies to focus on its
core competency. This trend will steadily grow stronger
as service providers offer more managed services, and
as businesses see the advantages of using them.
MNS provider services
Traditional systems usually fail because they are not
designed to integrate customer information and network
infrastructure. The result is that things like provisioning,
performance management, and fault management are more
difficult and time-consuming than they should be.
MNS describe a wide array of services in which the SP
takes responsibility for more than just the transport
Management: The SP should be able to provide a robust
and scalable proprietary architecture that is able to
correlate and prioritise events from a multitude of
best-breed management systems, and generate pertinent
management information and events from which to respond.
Put quite simply, this means faster response to a fault
and faster turnaround time to restore a service to an
environmentbusiness as usual.
Management: Configuration management is a complicated,
time-consuming task that is often neglected, especially
in a large enterprise environment. Customised specialist
tools are often required to retrieve configuration management
information from devices deployed in an environment.
Change Management: It generally involves the detection
of unauthorized changes to the network and device configurations
and then either restoring the original configuration
or applying for a change control.
Security Management: Some of the basic processes
included in implementing site security are:
Secure network connection
Basic device access control
Device security management
Access audit trials
Management: The customer can have online access
to device metric graphs and detailed performance reports
like the network service health and service level through
a service portal. These service health reports compare
the current network performance to its historical performance
and evaluate the current network health based on the
utilisation and errors detected. The reports can include
information on the network's volume, volume trends,
health analysis, utilisation, availability, and exceptions.
Management: Some of the threshold events may include:
Threshold event reporting
Critical threshold event notification
Major threshold notification
delivery usually requires the creation of an NOC (Network
Operations Center) with a core set of tools. Also relatively
small number of experts to efficiently perform remote
monitoring and management functions. A key factor in
the profit equation for a managed network service is
the NOC's operational efficiency. The more the tools
and related training that are utilized across multiple
customers, products and services, the more cost efficient
becomes the NOC operation.
This can be partly attributed to reduced software acquisition
and maintenance cost. But even more to the ability to
personnel to tasks across customers and services as
needed, rather than having narrowly trained specialist
Several recent customer studies have determined that
customers are influenced to outsource their network
services primarily because outsourcing provides the
Helps maintain the internal staff's focus on core
Enables fixed cost budgeting.
Provides instant on-line access to network status,
performance and outstanding issues.
Allows proactive, interactive and reactive focus on
Provides extensive and proactive monitoring of key
Enables accurate capacity budgeting allowing future
Provides 24x7 coverage.
Expands scope from regional to global.
The enterprise IT environment of any modern company
is subject to continual change, and its reliability
and performance have a direct impact on the company's
overall success and profitability. The trend toward
network integration services will certainly sustain
because enterprises need to match the pace of technology
innovation to stay above in competition. And in such
a case an MNS provider may be a very viable option.
Kumar is President of Datacraft India