Are today’s Service Provider SLAs good enough?

April 7, 2008 - 0 Comments

Managed services is always a top of mind subject for Service Providers (MSP). As we observe the trend of MSP’s, I continue to see them looking for ways to help Enterprise customers achieve there business goals. Conversations between MSP’s and Enterprises have more and more centered around the intelligent network services that enhance the networks ability to be business relevant. An example of this type of intelligence is: Application Aware Networks. Essentially, with an Application Aware service, businesses identify their applications as critical, important and best-effort, classifications that align to the business goal for application availability. Creating an Application Aware service requires that dynamic QoS be deployed in the carriers IP NGN, along with, the ability to tune the QoS mechanisms as required. Customer satisfaction hinges on the carriers ability to successfully deliver application aware SLAs. This is an excellent opportunity for MSP’s, as, new applications are demanding new levels of QoS on the networks.Do Service Providers need to adjust their SLAs and the underlying technologies to support the new Application Aware Networks? The answer is a resounding: ‘Yes’.MSPs need to respond by enabling businesses to identify what applications are actually running on their networks, help identify application foot-print (behavior, network requirements including QoS, user interactions and such) and then, abstract the complexity of QoS required for applications. Additionally, self-provisioning brings forward the dynamic QoS aspect and for that, IP NGNs would need to have Application Awareness throughout the network and not just in closed-loop systems. Application aware IP NGNs need to monitor and report application behavior at CPE, PE or infrastructure level. For this, we need embedded technologies (IOS NetFlow, IPSLA, FPM, NBAR, etc.) end-to-end on the IP NGN. When businesses require application awareness, abstraction of QoS and dynamic tuning via self-provisioing, end-to-end embedded technologies on the IP NGN will help MSPs respond appropriately and help make their customers successful in their business objectives.Therefore, the direction for the Application Aware Services would be for the Service Providers to:

    1. Create capabilities to identify applications running on their customers’ Networks.2. Understand or qualify applications into critical, important or best effort categories.3. Develop ability to abstract QoS deployment, as well as, change QoS on the fly (Dynamic QOS)4. Enable customers to log on to their service portals to effortlessly change their service requirements as per their changing business demands.

These would help applications resonate directly to the businesses charter and, reduce technical complexities when it comes to delivering a seamless application experience.

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