SoftBank Corp.

SoftBank,"Net LineDancer crucial for accessing customer networks"

EXECTIVE SUMMARY

Customer Name:SoftBank Corp.

Industry: Telecommunications / Carrier

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Net sales: $2.3B (FY2016)

Background

SoftBank had handle d all its network configuration management (NCM) manually for ten years before deciding on Net LineDancer (netLD) to manage and maintain its Managed CPE-S or CPE bundle carrier services in 2011.

BUSINESS CHALLENGES

  • In 2011 they and support vendors manually handled theNCM for over 250 customers.
  • It took 10 days to make customer requested changes.
  • Network engineers traveled to each customer location at least twice per year (500+ trips) plus engineering salaries.
  • There were differing views between SoftBank and their support ve ndors about which par ty would assume responsibility for maintaining all the configurations.
  • All teams required overtime just to keep up with the NCM workload.
  • They needed multi-vendor support so Cisco PI would not work for them.

Solution

Net LineDancer on Private Cloud

BUSINESS RESULTS

  • netLD is managing over 10,000+ devices on a large number of customer networks for SoftBank worldwide.
  • SoftBank tracks all configurations now without depending on their several support vendors.
  • NLD access-control provides clear delineation between SoftBank and its support vendor’ s responsibilities.
  • Config changes can occur remotely now in minutes instead of days, saving hundreds of trips per year.
  • SoftBank engineers and sub-contractors can now easily keep up with NCM duties, spend time doing other important jobs and can even handle NCM from home.
  • netLD has become an indispensable part of SoftBank’s managed service business model.
  • netLD’s Terminal Proxy allowing “automatic login” and trace “session logs” for their several support vendors has been very effective!
  • Intelligent management of all the information for device recovery: configuration, OS version and module information.

Background

SoftBank Corp., formerly SoftBank Mobile Corp., launched ‘SoftBank’ branded mobile services in Japan in 2006 after it was acquired from Vodafone Group in the same year. Today it is one of the largest telecommunications carriers in Japan. It has over 17,000 employees and its net sales were $2.8B in fiscal year 2016.

SoftBank had been doing NCM manually for its Managed CPE-S or CPE bundle carrier services for ten years. At one point SoftBank wanted their subcontractors to claim ownership and maintain the configuration files, but the subs wanted SoftBank own them. SoftBank purchased netLD and this is no longer an issue.


“We primarily bought netLD for configuration changes, but now it is crucial for accessing our customer networks. It would be impossible to do our job now without netLD.”
Kazuhiko Maruko, Network Engineer
SoftBank

Selecting an NCM Solution

SoftBank selected Net LineDancer for managing and maintaining Managed CPE-S or CPE bundle carrier services. It allows its subcontractors to access and manage devices with total control via Net LineDancer which has proven convenient and facilitated the unification of their configurations at reasonable cost.

SoftBank engineers had considered a Cisco NCM solution, but even if they decided to buy all Cisco equipment in-house, their customers would still use everything else imaginable so Cisco PI would not have worked. According to Kazuhiko Maruko of SoftBank, “netLD’ s vendor coverage is much broader than its competitors. It covers more types of network devices, more supplier products, and provides greater utility.”
SoftBank additionally works with several subcontracting network companies and has netLD managing the NCM for all of it. With netLD on SoftBank’ s cloud, netLD provide s secure access for its subcontractors with SoftBank maintaining total control of each subcontractor’ s access and permissions.

From left to right:
Kazuhiko Maruko SB, Makoto Takahashi SB,
Bobby Olander LVI, Nolan Miracle LVI, and Kou Sasaoka LVI.


Growing Fast and Saving Money

In 2010 SoftBank was manually handling the NCM for over hundreds of customers with the help of several maintenance partner vendors. Engineers had to travel to hundreds of customer locations twice per year (hundreds of trips) costing huge.

With netLD SoftBank was able to scale their business and take their service offering internationally. Currently SoftBank is managing over 10,000+ devices on over a large number of customer networks in United States, Canada and Asia.

Keeping up with customer NCM requests used to be a full time job for the team, but now they are able to handle NCM issues quickly, provide appropriate le vels of se cured access to sub-contractors, and now have time for other important tasks as well. SoftBank employe es can eve n make changes from home now.

According to Kazuhiko Maruko of SoftBank, “We primarily bought netLD for network configuration, but now it is crucial for accessing our managed CPE. It would be i mpossible to do our job now without netLD.”

The Real Success Story

The real success story has be en the development of a great working relationship between SoftBank and LogicVein. SoftBank needed a capable and responsive NCM vendor who would work with them to provide the flexibility and capability in an NCM product they could use.

LVI has never stopped working hard to make sure SoftBank and all our customers are happy and productive. LogicVein has turned NLD into a product our customers find they cannot do without.


“LogicVein is very flexible and continually provides us with the changes and features we ask for. It is flexible to provide this level of support.”
Kazuhiko Maruko, Network Engineer
SoftBank

SoftBank’ s Favorite netLD Features

Manage who, when and how a job has been done:

It is important to manage the history of operations accomplished by partner vendors. History of config changes and access logs can be easily managed and maintained by SoftBank and partner vendors. SoftBank can support inquiries of customers immediately. Access logs are automatically stored, which allows SoftBank to see who did what.

Make changes without remembering login IDs/Passwords:

With credentials linking a devices to netLD accounts, netLD allows SoftBank to manipulate devices without thinking about login IDs/Passwords. Allows handling devices without thinking of IDs/Passwords. SoftBank has no need to disclose IDs/Passwords to partner vendors and with netLD has only to make changes to Credentials of netLD to recover problems in case of a security incident.

Unique access control per user:

The ability to mix- match 20 types of access controls provides the right access to every user. netLD provides SoftBank granular control of its users including authority to add or delete an SoftBank SE, SoftBank operator or partner vendors.

Flexible design:

LogicVein has been flexible and supportive with changes and functionality SoftBank has needed as they go.

Designed for collaboration:

Net LineDancer for managing and maintaining Managed CPE-S or CPE bundle carrier services. Allows its partner vendors access to manage any number of devices with a total control. Made NCM and the task of unification of their many disparate networks easier and at a reasonable cost.

Articles

Softbank Success Story(PDF: 803KB)  

  Atria Senior Living  

Real impact on network operations efficiency in ways they didn't even expect.

Background

Atria Senior Living creates vibrant communities where older adults can thrive and participate. Established in 1996, Atria has 12,500 employees serving 20,000 residents in 28 states and 7 Canadian provinces.

Atria Senior Living has high standards when it comes to quality, because they know what's at stake for customers and employees.

A replacement was needed for the SolarWinds' Orion Network Configuration Manager Software module to back up their configurations in a mixed vendor environment. NCM, while functional, was often clunky and difficult to obtain support for. After staring at the daunting task of getting a RANCID deployment set up, and then keeping it up to date, they started evaluating alternatives and found Net LineDancer.

Business Challenge

Back up their configurations in a mixed vendor environment. NCM, while functional, was often clunky and difficult to get support for.

Solution

Immediately, they saw the value in Net LineDancer.

  • The demo was easy to set up, and within minutes of installing it they were able to add devices and test the software.
  • Once the full service was acquired they were able to add all of their devices in to the system in no time and saw an almost immediate benefit from the purchase of the software.

Business Results

  1. Discovered over 80 devices that had been operating with their running configurations unsaved to the startup configuration including one with an entire sub interface unsaved. One command in NetLD and all of their configurations were saved to flash and backed up.
  2. Used NetLD to audit local user accounts on the devices and discovered over 20 local user accounts set up by various admins over the years. With a few command pushes from NetLD were able to eliminate all of the extra user accounts and standardize the passwords for the one account they wanted to allow.
  3. Able to determine which of their devices were running out of date software versions, determine which of them had enough space to push the newer code to, and then push the updates to the ones that could be updated and configure them to boot to the new code on the next cycle. All without a single fault or failure.
  4. Able to implement the terminal proxy feature to allow helpdesk users access to view mac address tables and the like, without having to worry that they could make unauthorized changes.

Net LineDancer

"Working with NetLD has been a case of night and day. With SolarWinds NCM, configuration management was an emergency backup that we very rarely referenced and hated having to deal with when it was needed. NetLD on the other hand has had real impact on our network operations efficiency in ways we didn't expect to get from a configuration management software."

-Ryan Brown, Senior Network Administrator

Articles

Atria Senior Living Success(PDF: 321KB)  

  SoftBank Telecom Corp.

Background

As one of the biggest Telephone Company in Japan, SoftBank Telecom Corp. has picked Net LineDancer for managing and maintaining Managed CPE-S or CPE bundle carrier services and allows its subcontractors to access and manage a number of devices with a total control of Net LineDancer, which has enhanced greatly increased conveniences and unification of configurations at reasonable cost.

Articles

  SoftBank Telecom Corp. Application Example (PDF: 1.28MB)

Product Purchased

Net LineDancer Enterprise 9,000 nodes license

  AppCentrix

Background

As one of the biggest MSP in South Africa, AppCentrix monitors and manages IT resources to accurately pinpoint and project the health, performance, and availability of IT applications and services for their customers in the retail and financial industry. They had been looking for ideal NCM tool and has decided to deploy Net LineDancer as their network configuration manager.

Articles

Web Host Industry Review July 25th, 2012
ScienceLogic, Inc. News and Events July 25th, 2012

Product Purchased

Net LineDancer Enterprise 3,000 nodes license with SmartBridge option

  INTEROP 2013 Shownet

Background

US Interop 2013 now takes advantage of Net LineDancer to prepare for an extremely large network!

Net LineDancer was adopted as Network Configuration Tool working together With EM7 of ScienceLogic, NMS for a large network and cloud, in Interop Las Vegas in May of 2013.

Product Purchased

Net LineDancer Enterprise

  

  NTTDATA SMS Corporation

Background

The company, as a MSP and Data Center, controls the configuration management of a number of enterprises and government departments. Net LineDancer was selected and deployed because of its unique feature called SmartBridge, handling the same IP addresses scattered across multiple network segments.

Product Purchased

Net LineDancer Enterprise version 70,000 nodes license

  Sega Corporation

Background

"When we started, we were sending engineers overseas, on site, to configure the network devices," says Takeshi Utsumi, an Assistant Team Manager of Sega's AM Sales Support Team. In deploying a network they call "ALL.Net" that connects all the amusement centers scattered in Asia, they were looking for a way to reduce administrator's burden of installing and configuring network devices there.

Solution:

  • Net LineDancer
  • Automatic configuration distribution
  • Zero-Touch*

 

What is Zero-Touch?

Zero-Touch* is a Net LineDancer feature that deploys configurations into remote devices by taking advantage of Cisco IOS AutoInstall and Cisco Networking Services (CNS). As soon as the device is plugged into the network, Net LineDancer will automatically configure it.

Outcome:

  • Reduced network configuration management costs by automating configuration of devices overseas.
  • Reduced configuration errors and improved standardization of configurations because they can now manage configurations remotely from their headquarters.
  • Reduced engineer working hours to configure devices to one sixth.

 

Product:

Net LineDancer Enterprise

For mode details, please see following document:

 Sega Corporation Zero-Touch Case Study

  Company A from Entertainment Market Leaders

Background

The team which consisted of 5 people managed network equipment in Tokyo and Osaka, but only two engineers were experienced enough to operate unsupervised. No one else could perform some of the troubleshooting if there were network issues in their absence. The two engineers were forced work through holidays incase problems occured while they were out, especially Golden Week or New Year's Holidays.

They installed Net LineDancer and created an internal manual that walked through operations that were dependent on individual's skills. This allowed less experienced staff to respond to unexpected problems.

Main Functions Used

  • Regularly configurations backup
  • Input information of configurations and recover
  • Inventory report(Export for configurations of managed devices)

 

Managed Devices

300 nodes mainly Cisco, Foundry(current:Brocade)equipment on their own network.

Product Purchased

Net LineDancer Enterprise version 500 nodes license

  Company B from System Integrator Leaders

Background

When introducing the network devices to their remote locations, their engineers used to go on business trips, after sending the devices on-site. They heard about Net LineDancer while looking for tools to save time and reduce cost.

Zero-Touch1, which allowed them to configure devices from a remote location, was applied. However, they asked to take measures since they are required to unbox and power the devices on to confirm the IDs of managed devices by their MAC address.

After the spec of Net LineDancer about the Zero-Touch1 feature changed to be able to confirm by serial numbers, instead of MAC addresses, they decided to install Net LineDancer, since it became unnecessary to unbox.

Main Functions Used

  • Input intersectional configurations at the same time to network devices before shipping
  • Compare Configurations after configured
  • Zero-Touch1

 

1: Zero-Touch feature netLD Zero-Touch is the ability to distribute configuration into remote multi devices by only connecting with the cable. As soon as devices are connected to network initially, the device will be configured automatically. Zero-touch allows engineers to skip the steps of distance business trips, called zero-trip.
Zero-Touch has changed the name to Cisco Plug and Play from Net LineDancer ver.14.06.

 

Managed Devices

Mainly Cisco, Yamaha devices

Product Purchased

Net LineDancer Enterprise version for 500 nodes was licensed for the trial installation. It has possibilities to increase.

  Company C from Communications Company Leaders

Background

They faced the technical challenge of configuration management of 1,200 various vendors' devices, being managed at different locations using multiple tools through the CLI.

Additionally their handlings took much time to discover by getting update information in case of troubles and the collection of log data required the engineers to work at out-of-hours and initial charge.

The SI vendor who maintained their network devices designed a management solution using Net LineDancer to expand their channel allowing them to raise their unit price and differentiate themselves from other competing vendors which only sold equipment and support. Net LineDancer was adoted after the trial after resolving the problems discussed earlier.

Main Functions Used

  • Compare Configurations
  • Configuration change to multiple devices at the same time
  • Hardware Inventory Manage
  • Managed devices
  • 1,200 nodes for trial installation, it will be increase to about 2,000 nodes

 

Product Purchased

Net LineDancer Enterprise version 3000 nodes license

Technical Report -Net LineDancer, a Network Management

A Tool Helping Novice Engineers Manage the Network.

For more details, please refer the link.