Service Assurance Suite 9.3 GA Accelerates SDN with VMware NSX

EMC Service Assurance Suite became generally available on June 24, 2014, delivering an entirely new set of capabilities, including Software-Defined Network (SDN) management via full integration with VMware NSX Network Virtualization Platform. Service Assurance 9.3 also features completely new operations User Interface, deeper application integration and improved storage monitoring for VMware environments.

The Service Assurance Suite 9.3 represents a significant milestone because it provides the next significant innovation for helping to accelerate deployment of Software Defined Data Centers. Service Assurance Suite is a foundational component of that strategy building upon the core operations tools that have been successfully deployed within the world’s largest Enterprise and Service Provider data centers. The capabilities delivered within this release bring industries best fault correlation and root cause analysis engine to software-defined networks by providing fault, availability and performance management across both virtual and physical networks. This is critical for organizations looking to deliver the benefits of virtualized network infrastructure, while seamlessly integrating these disruptive technologies into the disciplined operational models of their data centers.

It’s all about Service Delivery

SAS_1Customers that have deployed Service Assurance Suite are great testimonials on how to deploy next generation services with utility-like efficiency, while delivering carrier-class visualization across the entire data center. This requires intelligent fault analysis and event correlation, providing rapid root cause identification to optimize availability, configurations and performance. These capabilities help to bridge the gap between 2nd and 3rd Platform architectures without sacrificing service levels delivered back to the business.

The Next Frontier
Compute virtualization continues to be a core component of the customer’s journey to virtualized data centers, but there are still Software-defined frontiers to be conquered. As discussed in this blog,the world of storage has changed and storage systems in most data center environments no longer need to be silos of physical infrastructure.EMC ViPR software-defined storage has pioneered a whole way to deliver storage-as-a-service within the software-defined enterprise and provides a platform to deliver a whole new class of services rooted in the 3rd Platform. The ViPR team gets it; tackle operations and management challenges by design. By tightly integrating with Cloud stacks such as VMware vCloud Suite, ViPR enables tight operations and orchestration integration tailored specifically for the Cloud admin via vCenter Operations Manager (vC Ops) and vCloud Automation Center (vCAC). The operations and storage teams on the other hand, rely on deeper visibility across both virtual and physical boundaries and have a very unique set of requirements to ensure that application service levels are being delivered.

What about Software-Defined Networks?
When evaluating network virtualization, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is being touted as a disruptive technology that will, once implemented, allows service providers and corporations to lower IT costs and be more responsive and flexible. SDN has the promise to transform datacenters and allow lower cost hardware to be implemented, offloading tasks that are now people, router, and switch-centric to software. There is little doubt that networking architectures are moving towards an SDN reality – it’s not a matter of if, but when.

To be successful in this realm, one must address the challenges across the data plane, control plane, and even application environment in order to see wide spread adoption of SDN technology.

Some of the desired attributes of SDN technology:

• Agile
• Centrally managed
• Directly programmable
• Programmatically configured
• Open standards-based and vendor-neutral


Network virtualization solutions that abstract existing physical networks offer the promise to transform operations and economics. The VMware NSX network virtualization platform (a result of the Nicera acquisition), brings this promise to reality. NSX provides network agility by reducing the time it takes to provision any application to run across these multi-tier network topologies, offering significant cost savings and independence of the hypervisor and network hardware. By delivering the simplicity and efficiency of virtual machines for networks, you get all of the advantages of a fully functional network delivered in software.

To learn more about the VMware NSX platform go to the VMware Network Virtualization Blogand if you really want to get your geek on, I recommend you read Scott Lowes blog on NSX architectures.

Operational Service Delivery
What Service Assurance Suite 9.3 does so well is to integrate VMware NSX into operational data center deployment models, providing management visibility from the application through the virtual layer right to the physical network hardware. This can immediately improve the effectiveness of the operations teams, because they maintain control of availability and performance service level attainment, which typically has visibility all the way up to the CIO. These operations teams continually optimize their processes and Service Assurance 9.3 enables the agility to adapt quickly to accelerate deployments and minimize downtime across the entire data center. To effectively deploy virtual networking technologies into existing data center operations environments, it’s crucial to provide topological representations of the entire infrastructure, but you also need the intelligence to filter through event storms to get directly to the root cause, regardless of whether it is a physical or virtual fault.

As demonstrated at EMC World, the Service Assurance offers key capabilities for VMware NSX:
  • Manage cross domain infrastructure
  • Comprehensive vC Ops integration
  • Virtual-physical topology mapping
  • Root cause and impact analysis of risk conditions
  • Configuration management with compliance

A webcastcovering monitoring and management in the age of the software defined data center can be seen here. You can also get more information on Service Assurance by going or by following this blog. If you’re interested in joining the conversation or participating in the Service Assurance Suite Early Access Program (EAP), visit the Service Assurance ECN Community.

About the Author: Rick Walsworth

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