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April 15, 2021

Configuring the DX NetOps and DX Operational Intelligence Connector for SDN Deployments

by: Nestor Falcon Gonzalez

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

We recently had some discussions with an SDN vendor about how we could enrich SDN insights with other IT domains such as application and infrastructure.

The key question was: “How can I measure the impact of my SDN deployments on my business services?”.

We decided to run a quick pilot to see how data from applications, infrastructure, and SDN architectures would impact a business service topology. The data volume, variety, and complexity was the key driver to leverage AIOps in this exercise. The primary goal was to analyze the insights produced after noise reduction and root cause analysis performed in our AIOps platform.

We started by setting DX NetOps fault management (powered by DX NetOps Spectrum), as a data source into the AIOps platform. DX NetOps supports a variety of SDN vendors for comprehensive monitoring and full visibility so it made sense to stream data from DX NetOps Spectrum into AIOps.

This practitioner blog post will showcase the integration between DX NetOps Spectrum and DX Operational Intelligence, the value-added, and relevant Insights. We hope it is a good kick-start for you to explore the value of plugging SDN performance data into AIOps and realize the full potential of this integration.

 

Why Feed NetOps Data into AIOps 

So DX NetOps Spectrum does a phenomenal job with fault isolation; why add another layer on top of it? That is a fair question.

DX NetOps Spectrum uses an active communication mechanism to isolate faults and analyze the connectivity issue at L2/L3, segregating root cause and symptomatic alarms. We need to look at the global picture in order to see the value added by Broadcom’s AIOps solution in conjunction with DX NetOps. The following use cases can enrich and complement SDN insights:

  • Alarm situations – clustering of network events using ML/AI to group alarms based on time correlation, NLP, service definitions, and historical precedence
  • Service analytics – business service-based views to connect the underlying network to application components
  • Noise reduction – correlation between events from several domains (Network, App, Infrastructure) to produce root cause analysis and filter symptomatic alarms across the technology stack
  • Automation – reducing outages and fixing problems before they impact business with policy-driven automation and a Recommendation Engine

A full list of use cases can be found here.

Let’s dive into how you can set up the DX NetOps Spectrum connector, also called Spectrum Data Publisher.

 

Setting up the Spectrum Data Publisher Connector

This section will walk you through the process of setting up the integration between DX NetOps and DX Operational Intelligence. The Spectrum Data Publisher is a standalone connector that can sit on any server with connectivity to DX NetOps Spectrum and DX Operational Intelligence APIs. This connector streams network alarms, inventory, topology, and change events from DX NetOps Spectrum to AIOps from Broadcom.

In the case that DX NetOps Spectrum is not your fault management solution, we’ve got you covered: DX RESTMon can stream data from many other network solutions such as SolarWinds, ThousandEyes, DataDog, etc.

Start by downloading the connector from DX NetOps Spectrum One Click server - Administration - Analytics configuration. The installation of the Spectrum Data Publisher is straightforward by launching the downloaded java application and following the on-screen instructions.

(Note this guide is specific to the connector from DX NetOps Spectrum 20.2.7+ integrated with DX Operational Intelligence SaaS or DX Operational Intelligence on-prem 20.2.2+.)

The configuration of the connector is driven by the file ConnectorConfig.xml under the “config” folder of the connector. You need the following information to configure the connector:

1. Spectrum Details -- Spectrum OneClick URL and port (if you need to enable SSL between SPD and OC, import the DX NetOps Spectrum certificate into SPD security folder).

2. DX Operational Intelligence APIs --There are 2 APIs to use when configuring the connector.

  • DX Operational Intelligence Topology Ingestion API (TAS) - Is specified in the DestinationUrl field.

For SaaS: https://apmgw.dxi-na1.saas.broadcom.com.

For On-Prem: output of “oc get routes | grep apmservices-gateway” or “kubectl get ingress | grep apmservices'' depending on your platform type.

  • DX Operational Intelligence Alarm API (Jarvis) - Enable Alarm Reconciliation setting “Enable” field to “true” under “AlarmReconcileConfiguration” section and provide the jarvis URL.

For SaaS: https://doi.dxi-na1.saas.broadcom.com
For On-Prem: output of “ kubectl get ingress | grep dxi-adminui”

To enable secure communications for these 2 APIs, import SSL certs from DX Operational Intelligence into SPD 

3. Data Types: You can fine tune the data types to be sent to AIOps by setting below flags to true/false:
                 <Alarms>true</Alarms>

           <Ncm>true</Ncm>

           <Tas>true</Tas>

4. TasConfiguration and AlarmConfiguration: You can configure how often topology and alarms will be synched to DX Operational Intelligence.

5. Tenant Id: Tenant Id associated with your tenant. For SaaS, you can retrieve it like explained here, for on-prem DX Operational Intelligence follow the same process but just replace axa.dxi-na1.saas.broadcom.com by your admin UI URL (e.g. adminui.<domain>)

6. Tokens: There are 2 tokens to configure.

  • Alarm reconciliation token: To be used under BearerToken field in AlarmReconcileConfiguration section. Details here.
  • Topology ingestion token (TAS Token): To be specified when starting up the Spectrum Data Publisher. Details to obtain it here and for on-prem here.
7. Proxy details (optional): Specify host and port of proxy to use when connecting to DX Operational Intelligence.
Remember you can set up

8. Alarm Filters to decide which events are sent from DX NetOps Spectrum into DX Operational Intelligence

 

 This SaaS configuration below puts it all together:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<ConnectorConfiguration>

   <!-- DX Spectrum OneClick Server Configuration -->

   <SpectrumConfiguration>

       <OneClickServerUrl>http://<OCSERVER>:9090</OneClickServerUrl>

       <ConfigFile>SpectrumConfig.xml</ConfigFile>

<WebappLaunchUrl>http://<OCSERVER>:9090/spectrum/webapp</WebappLaunchUrl>

   </SpectrumConfiguration>

   <Destinations>

       <DestinationConfiguration>

           <DestinationType>DOI</DestinationType>

<DestinationDefaultTenant><TENANTID></DestinationDefaultTenant>

<DestinationUrl>https://apmgw.dxi-na1.saas.broadcom.com</DestinationUrl>

              ...

             <ConfigFile>DOIConfig.xml</ConfigFile>

             <Alarms>true</Alarms>

             <Ncm>true</Ncm>

             <Tas>true</Tas>

             <AlarmReconcileConfiguration>

               <Enable>true</Enable>

               <OIUrl>https://doi.dxi-na1.saas.broadcom.com</OIUrl>

   <BearerToken>eyJ0a2...nRydWV9</BearerToken>

             </AlarmReconcileConfiguration>

       </DestinationConfiguration>

   </Destinations> ...


Now you are ready to launch the Spectrum Data Publisher connector.

      • Simply execute “run.sh start” or “run.bat start” script from the connector folder.
      • You will be prompted to provide a password to manage the connector, Spectrum OC credentials, TAS token, and proxy credentials.

And you are done! You should have now network data flowing into DX Operational Intelligence ready to be processed and produce insights.

In case of problems take a look at the following Broadcom technical document.

 

Consuming SDN Data in AIOps 

So now that we have set up the integration, the next step is to consume SDN metrics or traditional network insights in our AIOps platform so we can benefit from the use cases described in the previous sections of this blog.

We have events, alarms, and topology (including Global Collection, Containers, and relationships) in our AIOps platform so you can benefit from the following use cases:

  1. Consume SDN Topology in Service Analytics by drilling down from business views into SDN topology. This view will enable you to see how your SDN components are impacting your business.
ESD_CY21_Academy-SkillBuilder.Configuring the DX NetOps and DX Operational Intelligence Connector for SDN Deployments.Figure_01Figure 1: Service Topology Viewer
 
  1. Leverage insights from Alarm Clustering powered by ML/AI to reduce noise and build situational awareness.
    ESD_CY21_Academy-SkillBuilder.Configuring the DX NetOps and DX Operational Intelligence Connector for SDN Deployments.Figure_02Figure 2: Alarm Clustering
  2. Cross-domain root-cause analysis allows you to quickly identify if your business services are degraded due to SDN faults, infrastructure issues, or application performance problems.

    ESD_CY21_Academy-SkillBuilder.Configuring the DX NetOps and DX Operational Intelligence Connector for SDN Deployments.Figure_03Figure 3: Root-Cause Analysis

  3. DX Dashboards provide a single, unified view of the correlation between business service performance to the technology stack, including the SDN layer.
    ESD_CY21_Academy-SkillBuilder.Configuring the DX NetOps and DX Operational Intelligence Connector for SDN Deployments.Figure_04

    Figure:4. Business To Infrastructure Dashboard

5. Achieve network operational excellence by running self-triage and self-remediation actions on network insights. The recommendation engine, powered by AI/ML, can learn from historical remediations and suggest the most effective solution.
ESD_CY21_Academy-SkillBuilder.Configuring the DX NetOps and DX Operational Intelligence Connector for SDN Deployments.Figure_05
Figure 5: ML-Driven Recommendation Engine
 

Conclusion

We started by presenting the different use cases to get value out of AIOps on top of SDN events and topology. Then we jumped into the technical details of configuring the DX NetOps - DX Operational Intelligence connector. And, finally we have shown you how to leverage network insights in ourAIOps platform.

I hope this blog has given you a good overview of how AIOps from Broadcom and DX NetOps can complement and enrich each other, and it helps you to set up the Spectrum Data Publisher integration and explore the value yourself.

To learn more about AIOps, visit the Enterprise Software Academy's AIOps page.