FCAPS Series: Accounting Management for Carrier Ethernet
Welcome to December 2011 issue of Creanord EchoNEWS. EchoNEWS aims to keep you informed of developments at Creanord and in the fields of SLA assurance, automated Ethernet service delivery and OAM (Operations, Administration and Maintenance).
This edition of EchoNews is part of a series on EchoVault and FCAPS, providing guidance to Communications Service Providers (CSPs) on implementing the accounting part of FCAPS (Fault, Configuration, Accounting, Performance and Security in the ITU-T TMN model). Any complete EMS/NMS platform should support a comprehensive set of FCAPS functions and integrate seamlessly with OSS/BSS systems. This edition focuses on Accounting Management for Carrier Ethernet.
FCAPS Accounting Management - The Network and the Numbers
Accounting Management is the area of FCAPS that is concerned with collecting resource consumption data to enable capacity and trend analysis, cost allocation, auditing and billing. For the purposes of billing, Accounting Management needs to provide information about users and their network resource usage. For cost allocation it needs to provide information about network asset usage. You might say it is here that the link is made between the network and its ability to provide you revenue. In this way Accounting Management provides a key process to connect available performance and configuration data to your business targets.
The first step toward fulfilling Accounting Management requirements is enabling resource usage data collection by ensuring that the inventory and network configuration information is available and up-to-date. EchoVault ensures this with the help of Plug & Go discovery. With this in place, the next step is to monitor the utilization of all relevant network resources. Integrated Configuration, Performance and Accounting Management allows automated customer associations and customer-specific service configurations. Moreover, optimal resource allocation can be provided by SLA based service provisioning. The data gathered can be used in order to gain insight into current usage patterns for trend analysis. Another part of Accounting Management are auditing tasks, which help verify the correctness in billing mechanisms and conformance of resource usage to SLAs. Finally, cost allocation caters for the appropriate charge assignment to specific resource usage.
Creanord EchoVault supports the Service Provider's Accounting Management needs with the following functionality:
- Trend analysis and capacity planning with detailed and summary-level trend analysis allowing forecasting
- Network inventory information for costing
- SLA based resource allocation with QoS
- Providing data to the billing system via an API taking into account e.g. bandwidth usage and maintenance windows
- Supporting auditing, for instance verifying conformance to the SLA or the correctness of an invoice as well as audit trail and reporting to support audits
- Flexibly configurable data archiving
SLA based resource allocation ensures that each service includes appropriate elements related to Accounting Management functions. This ensures that the relevant data is available to help the CSP reach their goal of efficiently managing their services. Linking the SLA to the configuration and relating all gathered performance data to the SLA enables full control of the assets also from a business perspective, not just technically.
Ensuring Profitable Operations with Accounting Management
The domain of provisioning communications services is a decidedly developed and competitive field. Intelligent Accounting Management plays an important role in the processes of the CSP, because this is where the capability to make profits is made. Further, the links to other FCAPS functionality need to be tight to make possible correct, efficient and lucrative operations.
Accounting Management with EchoVault aligns business needs with other FCAPS areas and lets you get the most out of your network assets thereby helping to leverage the investment to the maximum.
Stay tuned for more information on how EchoVault helps you move to the next level in leveraging the best practices of FCAPS.