Manageability Imperatives (2 of 3): Solution Must Provide a Complete Set of Related Features

This the second in a series of three blog posts on important imperatives for network equipment provider development teams to consider when planning for, and designing on-device configuration management systems. Each post states a claim and expands on the subject with some background, context and ties it into features and benefits of our ConfD product

This post claims that Solution Must Provide a Complete Set of Related Features

BACKGROUND: The number of features expected to manage a network element is exploding. Network operations teams require a wide range of features ranging from APIs for third party software (e.g. routing and switching stacks) to role-based user management, and detailed audit trail capabilities. The challenge is to build a system that not only provides a number of solid user interfaces and APIs supporting all features available in the system, but also to ensure that the architecture has the flexibility to support changing application needs.

IN THE CONTEXT: For developers, this means that the risk associated with developing a new system from scratch and the cost of maintaining legacy systems can be daunting. Systems written by in-house development teams commonly aim to solve known, specific issues and developers are rarely are provided the time or resources needed to build a framework to support future needs. This often leads to painfully long turnaround times for features that product management believes are simple or basic additions to the software stack. In the worst case, it prevents development teams from supporting for new features in time to meet competitive or market windows.

FEATURE: ConfD is a complete on-device configuration management system that has been integrated and deployed in a wide variety of systems including some of the most advanced and challenging environments in the industry. ConfD meets all the required features expected from a modern management system including:

  • A full set of northbound interfaces including Juniper- and Cisco-style CLIs, NETCONF, SNMP, Web UI and REST interfaces
  • A high performance and highly available data store that supports synchronous and asynchronous data replication
  • Pre-integration with common third party software including routing and switching stacks

BENEFITS: Developing with ConfD dramatically reduces the amount of resources and risk required to develop an on-device management solution for any new product. Reducing the size of the required code base and the length of the development project significantly reduces the operation risk of delays or feature shortage that is a natural part of any larger scale software development project. Moreover, it allows development teams to work in a highly efficient fashion and focus on bringing competitive manageability features to the market.