Cisco claims progress on its OSS portfolio

Cisco Systems Inc. said it is making progress in its efforts to offer service providers an operational support system for IP and data that rivals the functionality of such systems for voice.

Cisco recently unveiled enhancements to its Internet OSS portfolio of products that the company said are designed to let service providers rapidly provision new services to enterprise customers by significantly improving the manageability of Cisco products. Management has been a shortcoming in Cisco’s offerings to service providers, said Kurt Dahm, Cisco director of OSS market development and deployment.

“Operations folks have criticized us for the lack of manageability of our devices,” Dahm said. “Our OSS is now a competitive advantage [for customers, and Cisco], a differentiator.”

After initial missteps in marketing to incumbent service providers, Cisco now targets the operational staff of incumbents, who are more closely associated with product-buying decisions than upper management. An appealing OSS is key for Cisco to impress operations personnel who previously received Cisco’s overtures tepidly.

To increase that appeal, Cisco added two products to its Internet OSS and enhanced another. The new products are the Cisco Networks Services (CNS) Notification Engine and the CNS Performance Engine.

CNS Notification Engine provides fault-management capabilities designed to detect, diagnose and resolve network faults. It provides user-defined filtering and correlation, and eliminates redundancy of device notifications; collection and processing of Cisco IOS syslog messages; and distributed processing of notifications from the device, which reduces polling traffic on the network, Cisco said.

CNS Performance Engine delivers local processing and correlation of performance metrics for particular services and application domains. It collects, aggregates and forwards performance and usage data from a variety of Cisco elements according to programmed policies.

The enhanced product is Cisco Access Registrar. This product is a Remote Authentication Dial-In Service.

Enhancements to Cisco Access Registrar include support for Oracle databases, an interface to prepaid billing applications for mobile wireless services and an improved configuration interface for faster and easier provisioning.