A case study of Phen and the CCG software suite

 Phen as a NOC ( the CCG PaaN offering ).

This article meant to present Phen and the CCG Software Suite being used and defined as PaaN (Phen as a NOC). This should not be taken as a limiting and narrowing of the CCG Software Suite and Phen. They are capable as a security tool that can provide internal threat discovery, bring enhanced compliance to Government and Private sector requirements, and even cover 17 of the SANS 20 critical security controls.

As PaaN, Phen and the CCG Software Suite, are designed to provide a dynamic service that can be used by carriers. Skilled staff are always a challenge to find for employment in Network Operations Centers. Not to mention, the difficulty in retaining those people that can be found. What is being envisioned here is Phen as a NOC facilitator.

Most customers, with mission critical data transport needs, heavily weight their decision on a carrier’s ability to maintain network services, even in the case of a disaster at their Network Operation Center/s. PaaN is designed to help integrate into the infrastructure allowing it to assist and extend the capabilities of the staff.

The traditional NOC support

This is the NOC layout that has been build over the last 20+ years into what is being used to support the network today.

  • Most NOC’s are staffed by Tier I personnel who typically field initial customer calls reporting network troubles or outright failure. Tier I folks will always be needed, because they are at the starting point of customer support.
  • Tier II personnel then take over and typically provide affected customers with updates, and represent roughly 50% of any given NOC’s team.  We will look below at how Phen could essentially take over many of the Tier II tasking. Especially considering Phen will out-perform these folks. Talk about your basic ROI. WOW!!!
  • Tier III personnel manage all escalations on critical network outages. These folks are at the top of the pyramid, and basically irreplaceable, when taking into account their tenure and experience.

Now lets move to new capabilities and a model that is available from CCG now. This will take your opperation into the future. Placing Phen inside your NOC support system to work independently of and with your current support staff.

I look at the approach here… Tier III are stable required personal for the foreseeable future.  Phen is positioned to help collapse the Tier I && II into a single layer.  When this happens, you have less people than the total from the original Tier I & II model.  You immediately have smarter Tier I people, just by allowing them to interface with Phen.  You reduce your Tier II costs as Phen continues to take on more responsibilities.  This is done as the software provides the TierI/II level support to make stronger and more accurate conclusions at a more rapid pace.

This is done by the variety and depth of the detailed information that has been ensured for accuracy and scope by Phen.  CCG’s approach allows the collapse of the traditional 3 Tier NOC into a 2 Tier system.


Discovering critical network points

In addition to Phen relying on NeTERS to verify live network connectivity for any given carrier’s traffic, Phen can thus help track down and identify fiber cuts and other service disruptive factors much quicker than today’s methodologies. It usually takes a given carrier 20 minutes or so to acknowledge a network outage.

This critical information will continue to grow as Phen discovers and unravels the critical network crossroads (traffic hotspots). These discovered points to monitor will be expanded, added or removed, as Phen discovers changes in these critical network points. CCG’s customers have used this to track problems with their carriers (read carriers from now on as Verizon, Comcast, etc).  The example below provides three network points being monitored before and after points of interests in the network.  This provides accurate and specific information about outages within a dynamic network including those caused by a customer’s carriers. Our customers use this to quickly isolate and identify carrier problems in real time;.  This becomes a very big deal with our smaller customers who’s internet connections are the life blood of their business.

Phen tracking network availability

One of the many data information points NeTERS will provide, is collecting internal network patters (without being given anything but the network address space to be concerned). This allows Phen to identify key “traffic exchange points” in real time.

NeTERS internal network map

With these key traffic crossroad points (in this case the 227 and 17 systems), Phen will build collection set to be monitored. This provides real time detection of traffic breaks. This is show in the human consumable presentation below:

Phen tracking network availability

Weather Monitoring

Phen develops network-monitoring points, or points of interest, from NeTERS’ real time traffic analysis and updated for the dynamically changing networks. This becomes extremely difficult for people to keep up with when entering the world of SDNs (software defined networks). The traditional method would be to target traffic points based on development design from the day they were designed and are rarely updated.

It can be very beneficial to plug Phen into the National Weather Service, due to the importance of EVERY NOC to be as proactive as possible whenever storms are in the forecast. This is especially significant to carriers with aerial fiber. When storms knock down poles and wires, this Act of God is a nightmare. The more warning the better, and Phen is ideal for this.

Weather Service

PaaN collects and utilize this weather data. This provides additional targeting and possibilities for that data. The weather is collected and used and PaaN presents that in the CCG interface. Pulling some of the data:

Is designed to fetch Metarreports from NOAA (http://www.noaa.gov) and has access to the included weather information.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, www.noaa.gov) provides easy access to the weather reports generated by a large number of weather stations (mostly at airports) worldwide. Those reports are called METAR reports and are delivered as plain text.

The data is read and interpreted by Phen.  The data is also converted to a human digestible format presented in the interface, seen below.

The CCG Software Suite provides weather collection and results. Providing upto the moment enrichment data providing why some network breaks may occur. The targeted collection from NeTERS’ real time network collection is also used for this process. This collection data provides exit points from the internal network to the Internet. Once these points are discovered, Phen will identify their physical location and ensure the CCG software is able to collect weather information for that location.

This allows Phen to correlate weather conditions to network outages in order to provide perspective and allow for solutions to networking for systems in the local network.

Phen tracking weather