A network service is only as good as its health. Hence, it is crucial that end-to-end management of network services should include health monitoring as part of the network service life cycle. When we talk about automating a network service, we mean automating the provisioning and maintenance of a network service. Health monitoring of a network service is typically thought of as a separate operation that is added after the network service is provisioned. Health monitoring is commonly performed through scripts or through UI. If the scope of the network service changes, then the health monitoring of the modified service must be revised as well. These disjointed operations can result in:

  • Overhead for provisioning of health monitoring of the network service.
  • Maintenance overhead when the network service is modified.
  • Increase in operational expenses as a result of additional resources required for provisioning and maintenance for health monitoring.

Health monitoring with Cisco Crosswork

Cisco Crosswork allows the health monitoring to be built as an integral part of the NSO network service, allowing auto identifying the health monitoring KPI’s and provisioning of the KPI’s for the NSO network service. This is done by defining one NSO network service for health monitoring, which is run each time a new NSO network service is provisioned. The advantages of enabling health monitoring of NSO services include:

  • Auto detection: The KPI’s for the network service are auto detected and provisioned based on the network service being commissioned.
  • Reusability: Define the health monitoring NSO service once and reuse it for all NSO services.
  • Improved Operational Efficiency: removes the need for manually configuring and maintaining the health monitoring KPIs for each of the network services.

Auto enabling and monitoring of KPI’s

Cisco’s Crosswork Health Insights, Change Automation, and Network Services Orchestrator (NSO) applications are used to achieve the goal of auto enabling and monitoring of KPI’s on NSO services.

  • Cisco Crosswork Health Insights enables defining the right set of KPI’s to manage all objects of the network service, allowing customization of KPI thresholds, monitoring the KPI’s and raising alerts if the thresholds are exceeded. These KPI’s can be enabled as part of service provisioning using NSO, thus monitoring the health of the network service from the time it is commissioned.
  • Crosswork Change Automation does closed-loop automation using playbooks. Playbooks use NSO to configure the network to fix the issues related to the KPI alerts. KPI’s are mapped to playbooks, even before the KPI thresholds are exceeded. This helps to invoke the playbook easily if the threshold is exceeded. Invoking the playbook becomes efficient and fast as it can derive the inputs to the playbook from the KPI alert, and playbooks leverage the NSO capabilities.
  • Network Services Orchestrator (NSO), the orchestrator used by Crosswork Change Automation for provisioning network services.

Figure 1 shows the interactions of the Crosswork Applications for auto detecting and enabling KPI’s for health monitoring of a network service.

Farook NSO health monitoringFigure 1: Auto Enabling Health Monitoring of Network Services

An NSO service is imported into Crosswork Change Automation as a play. Then plays can be combined to form a playbook. The ordering of plays in a playbook defines the sequence of execution of the plays. When an NSO network service is to be deployed, and health monitoring is to be enabled on the network service, the NSO service to be deployed is imported into Crosswork Change Automation as a play into a playbook and the health monitoring NSO service is also added as a play to the same playbook. Figure 1 shows the workflow steps for deployment of the playbook.

Step 1: When the playbook is executed, the NSO service is deployed first. Once the service is successfully deployed, the health monitoring service is activated.

Step 2: The health monitoring service takes the NSO service as an input. This service automatically generates a list of KPI’s relevant to the NSO service based on the configuration of the NSO service. The health monitoring service then calls the Crosswork Health Insights to create a KPI profile consisting of relevant KPI’s.

Step 3: Crosswork Health Insights calls NSO to provision the KPIs of the KPI Profile on the endpoints of the NSO service. From this point onwards the health of the NSO service is monitored against the thresholds of KPI’s. If any of the thresholds are exceeded, Crosswork Health Insights generates alerts.

See it in action with this demo.

The code for the use case

Related resources

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Mohammad Farook

Technical Marketing Engineering Leader

Cisco Crosswork