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In This Issue - October 1996 Volume 47 Issue 5

CURRENT ISSUE - October 1996 Volume 47 Issue 5 The components of a typical telecommunications network usually come from different vendors and the networks are usually distributed geographically. To manage these large-scale networks, a standards-based telecommunications network management system must be in place. Standards define the interfaces that enable telecommunications equipment manufacturers, system integrators, and service providers to develop network management applications that allow their products to interoperate in a heterogeneous telecommunications network environment. These vendors need a development platform and a toolset to take care of the underlying standards-compliant requirements for management applications.

The first nine articles in this issue describe HP products targeted to meet the needs of telecommunications application developers. Article 1 introduces the HP OpenView Distributed Management (DM) Platform, a software foundation that provides the services for building standards-compliant telecommunications management network applications. The article describes the Telecommunications Management Network (TMN) from ITU-T (International Telecommunications Union-Telecommunications), the features of the OSI-based version of HP OpenView DM, and the architecture of the new CORBA-based version of the HP OpenView Platform. CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) is a service that enables objects to make and receive requests and responses in an object-oriented distributed environment.

Developers creating applications to run in a distributed, heterogeneous telecommunications environment should not be concerned about what system their applications may be running on. They should be able to target their applications to run on a software architecture that handles all telecommunication management and control functions for distributed applications. Article 2 describes the HP Distributed Processing Environment, which provides infrastructure services that facilitate rapid development, deployment, and management of distributed applications in the telecommunications arena.

Network management relies on information, especially information from network elements such as bridges, routers, servers, and gateways. Article 3 describes the HP Open Element Management Framework (OEMF), which is the implementation of the ITU-T recommendation that covers fault management, performance management, and other third-party applications. OEMF makes possible the detection, isolation, and correction of the abnormal operation of a telecommunications network. OEMF includes the HP OpenView Fault Management Platform (FMP), which is a platform and utility tool for managing alarms from multivendor devices and network element managers.

When a fault occurs in a telecommunications system it can cause an event storm of several hundred events per second for tens of seconds. HP OpenView Event Correlation Services (ECS) helps operators determine the underlying cause for the thousands of events presented to them. ECS is made up of two components: the ECS engine, which executes a set of downloaded rules that control the processing of event streams, and the ECS Designer, which enables interactive development of correlation rules. ECS is described in Article 4.

TMN uses an object-oriented paradigm, and its management principles are based on the OSI (Open System Interconnection) standard. Thus, in the TMN model, network and system resources are modeled as objects, called managed objects. Telecommunications management application developers need to specify and model these managed objects to create management applications. Article 5 describes the HP OpenView GDMO (Guidelines for the Definition of Managed Objects) Modeling Toolset, which is an integrated set of tools that enable developers to use a graphical user interface to specify and create a file containing managed objects. GDMO is an ITU-T recommendation that defines how network objects and their behavior are to be specified.

Once the developer has created the GDMO specifications for the managed objects, the next step is to develop agent applications that maintain and provide access to the objects and the manager applications that manage the network through request and response processing. This is the agent/manager model of network management. The HP OpenView Managed Object Toolkit (Article 6) uses the contents of the GDMO specification file to automatically generate OSI-conformant executable agent applications.

The toolkit also provides a C++ interface that encapsulates the complexities of the underlying protocols, providing assistance in the development of management applications.

The managed objects are stored in a database called the Management Information Base (MIB). The objects in the MIB are defined by GDMO, organized hierarchically, and related by containment. Understanding this data and the operations required to access it are essential for developers implementing TMN management applications. Article 7 describes a prototype that addresses some of the requirements of TMN application developers by allowing them to explore the available management data and make enough sense of it to construct and deploy pieces of management applications.

Once the manager and agent applications have been created, the next step is to test both of these applications simultaneously. To help with this task, the new HP OpenView Agent Tester Toolkit (Article 9) generates tests that allow a developer to execute these tests individually or as a set. During agent development, the Agent Tester Toolkit is used to simulate requests sent from a manager, transmit these requests over the network to the agent, and then receive and process the responses from the agent.

The TMN architecture defines five network management layers in which telecommunications applications can fit. The two top layers are called the business management layer and the service management layer. The business management layer contains functions that are responsible for the whole enterprise, such as budgeting and product planning, and the service management layer contains functions that are responsible for managing services provided to customers, such as service transactions and billing. Article 8 describes an application called HP OpenPM, which fits into these two layers. HP OpenPM is an open, enterprise-capable, object-oriented business process flow management system (BPFM). HP OpenPM is a middleware service that provides the enabling technologies for defining and managing workflow in areas such as resource allocation, task initialization and data exchange, and end-to-end communication and security.

Telecommunications networks and distributed computing environments rely on reliable and consistent storage management strategies. Today, storage management strategies involve more than just more disk drives. They also include storage management and different types of storage devices for offline, nearline, and online data storage. Article 10 provides an overview of HP hardware and software products, services, and partners that provide storage management solutions.

Even though processor speeds continue to improve dramatically, they are barely keeping up with the increasing numbers of concurrently running applications and CPU-intensive applications with higher throughput requirements. Additionally, as the number of interconnects between systems and I/O devices continues to increase, I/O channels become bottlenecks to system performance. For all these reasons, today's parallel bus architectures are reaching their limits. In the search for a higher-performance serial interface, HP chose Fibre Channel because it overcomes the limitations mentioned above by supporting sustained gigabit data transfer rates. Article 12 describes Tachyon, which is HP's gigabit Fibre Channel chip. Article 11 presents a technical description of Fibre Channel.

C.L. Leath
Managing Editor

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