Zen 7 Cloud Native Software Platform for Telecoms, Smart Energy, IoT and Enterprise IP Networks

Introducing Zen 7

2020 sees the launch of Zen 7, the latest release of our software platform, continuing the Zen evolution and bringing major new features and enhancements including cloud native deployment, support for 5G, Smart Energy IoT and large enterprise IP networks.

Cloud Native Deployment

On premises or in the cloud, Zen 7 runs on bare metal, data centre VMWare vSphere or Cloud (AWS). Our continuous strategy to containerise and move to Kubernetes and Helm lowers data centre and cloud costs through best-in-class orchestration.

Zen 7 has all of the benefits of an evolving architecture and technology stack including:
  • Portable architecture
    • Java
    • Python
    • Docker
    • Linux
  • Loosely coupled services to ease orchestration
  • Automated test framework supporting Agile development cycles
  • Re-usable, proven and scalable ETL layer
  • Optimised for Vertica with ability to support other data warehouses
  • Patented correlation engine with machine learning and automation support
  • High availability and scalability

Support for 5G

Cloud native architecture is crucial for the long term success of 5G and is the foundation for 5G Innovation. Zen 7 provides service assurance and data analytics for the 5G era whilst addressing the challenges of operating in a hybrid environment. Zen is already providing service assurance functions for 5G networks along side different generations of technology operating on traditional physical networks and cloud based network virtualisation (NFV/SDN/VNF) for RAN / OpenRAN, Transmission and Core.

Zen is evolving to support the transition to 5G Stand Alone, and the service scenario based opportunities it presents. These services will be implemented using end-to-end dynamic network slicing, providing ultra reliable low latency communications (URLLC), massive machine type communications (mMTC) or enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), that must meet the specific SLA requirements of the vertical industry markets. The opportunity for CSP’s is enormous, however this comes at the price of exponential increases in complexity and data volumes produced by telecoms networks. Key to managing these new types of customer services is AI, Machine learning and automation based on distributed data analytics operating at different velocities and locations in the network, combined with service assurance / root cause analysis covering all the different physical and abstracted layers involved in dynamic network slices and assuring the customer’s SLA.

Designed from inception to address these types of requirements Zen is now evolving to cater for the increasing demands for 5G Stand Alone network service assurance, analytics and automation.

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Large Enterprise IP Networks

Zen 7 includes major enhancements to the SNMP management functions. By providing insight into the performance of large, evolving, enterprise and safety critical networks, Zen helps to assure adherence to demanding SLAs.

An upgraded SNMP Poller offers enhanced monitoring and alerting functionality to provide up to the minute monitoring of a vast number of device types. each with thousands of instances across the network and providing visualisation through the feature rich reporting available in Zen.

Zen implements a network of distributed SNMP probes to allow monitoring and reporting across the security layers of a large enterprise network. Using industry standard SNMP technology, Zen assures reliability and broad compatibility with existing infrastructure to provide a vendor agnostic view of the operation and performance of your IP network.

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Smart Energy & IoT

With Zen 7 our adaptable framework has been enhanced to support Digital Integration Platform (DIP) applications for Smart Energy Management and IoT applications.

The Zen DIP acts as a fully scalable device and application enablement platform. This facilitates command and control, providing monitoring and Insight into the metrics from IoT and M2M devices, controllers, sensors, and hubs. Zen can scale to Integrate with any number of devices, monitoring for deviations from model-based thresholds and proactively identifying anomalies from expected behaviour on   Impulse . Zen can utilise its in-built Intellect to automate actions or alerts when co-existing conditions arise, helping to build new services or initiate automated activities.

  • Supports Control interface integrations with either a third party cloud or multiple IoT/Smart Meter devices provided by external solution providers. Zen provides a generic Control interface API library in Java, and implements all control interfaces based on this API. The cloud-specific calls are abstracted
  • Supports Loader interfaces responsible for authentication & bulk data collection from sensors (polled or bulk export) from the third-party clouds and the normalisation of this data for loading to the Vertica database
  • The DIP can support data not directly associated with Smart device inventory such as Weather data or Tariff data and can be loaded by a dedicated interface as required. Data can be normalised to support joins with Smart device data, for example geolocation correlation.

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Enhanced Security

Zen 7 enhances the comprehensive features and deep integration provided by the Zen platform to address all aspects of enterprise security. Zen uses an identity store (Window/Linux) to manage user and group information and to determine access rights to the platform. There are two kinds of identity stores; Local implemented in Zen Server; External authentication technologies such as Active Directory, OpenLDAP, SAML, or OpenID, including SAML with F5 BIG-IP and Microsoft AD FS (Active Directory Federation Services). Authentication verifies a user’s identity and this is then used to grant authorised access to Zen—whether to manage the server, or to publish, browse, or administer content.

Zen Northbound Interfaces

Zen provides manager-of-managers functionality for Fault Management, Performance Management and Customer Experience Management. An extensive range of interfaces are available off-the-shelf for integration with Network Elements/Element Managers (physical and virtual) and 3 rd Party OSS/BSS systems in the customer’s environment.

Zen 7 introduces an enhanced SNMP service for integration with north bound operational systems. The following integration points are supported:

KPI Breach Alerts to achieve SLAs 

Zen can monitor KPIs based on any individual metric or perform rapid calculations across multiple metrics that form a KPI. The results are evaluated for deviation from group or entity specific thresholds, generating SLA performance alerts for any KPI breach. The Zen 7 Northbound SNMP Service is now available to integrate with North bound systems to create performance KPI / SLA breach alerts. 

Planned Outages Management

Zen 7 introduces a new planned outage microservice that utilises the Zen Northbound SNMP service. The microservice can be configured so false alarms can be avoided during planned works, equipment commissioning and maintenance.