Getting Started with the MSActivator

Overview of the MSActivatorTM

The MSActivator is a vendor-agnostic, multi-tenant service orchestration software designed for agile service orchestration fulfillment and assurance of physical and virtual networking services.

The MSActivator spans across multiple domains (legacy hardware, SDN, NFV, etc.) and manages network devices as well as SDN controllers, VIM, VNFM, or any other system.

Within the MSActivator framework, every entity that needs to be managed across the value chain is called a "device". Device configuration updates are pushed by "adaptors", which handle the communication with individual devices.

Configuration updates are built by stacking Create | Read | Update | Delete and Import orders in "microservices". Microservices provide the needed abstraction layer for multi-vendor, multi-tenant and multi-domain support.

Service orchestration is done by designing microservices via the Workflow Builder module. "Workflows" are composed of a set of processes. A process is a suite of tasks designed to accomplish a specific goal. Tasks include microservices, scripts, and other methods of single-outcome programming.

Microservice and process definitions can be designed graphically on the fly (i.e. scripting not required) and are stored in central libraries. Workflows and microservices can be instantiated at will.

In addition to fulfillment capabilities, the MSActivator features service assurance, analytics and customer self-care. These modules, along with the orchestration capabilities, are highly customizable and designed to provide intent-based automation.

Main Concepts

Data Model and Management

The web portal is structured around the following entities:

Data model:

  • Device: Any managed component in the user's network (i.e. routers, switches, firewalls, UTM, IPPBX, VIM, etc.)
  • Customer: A tenancy level where devices can be grouped. (i.e. an Enterprise)
  • Operator: A tenancy level where customer can be grouped (i.e. a Service Provider)

Management:

  • Repository: A central location where configuration templates, microservices, firmware, licences, reports, etc. are stored and organized
  • Profile: A set of configuration or monitoring policies applicable to specific devices
  • Microservice: A configuration object for managing services
  • Operator Console: The web console and user interface for administrators, operators and managers
  • Customer Portal: A customizable portal for customer self-care access

The first thing the manager has to do is create a device within the customer environment. Regardless of the deployed vendor, the next steps apply:

  • Staging: Configure the device with a minimum set of commands to provide network connectivity.
  • Initial Provisioning:When the staged device is connected, the initial provisioning will remotely connect to the device and automatically configure the device with the initial configuration pre-determined by the chosen template.

Once the device is activated it can be managed using templates and microservices, which are stored in the central repository.

Users and Role Based Access Model

Configurations are applied to devices.

Devices are managed by the services providers, called managers. The reporter to a manager is called an operator. The operator is a tenant. The MSActivator allows multiple tenants to co-exist on the same platform (a multitenant platform).

This model leads to classical rule mapping or Role Based Access Model as illustrated below:

Image

The guide to Tenants and Users will help you create your first tenants and users after the initial installation of the MSActivator. The guide to Managed Devices will help you get started with device creation and activation.

Simple Security Management with the MSActivator

See Simple Managed Security Service with a Linux Firewall for a step by step explaination on how to activate a device and do some basic service management.