Purpose behind APIO
APIs have been around for years but in the telco space have tended to be a closed domain because of the highly specialist nature of their networks. APIO or API Orchestrator removes the need to understand the detailed workings of a telco network simplifying the process of allowing 3rd parties to connect to it. In certain areas, particularly mobile, this is a game changer and is one of Netaxis’ own products that is really gaining traction amongst Tier 1 and Tier 2 telcos.
APIO allows the creation of business logic specific to each API function and separates the front and back end APIs so that different vendor equipment can be accommodated. APIO dramatically improves time to market and considerably simplifies the provisioning process in VoIP networks.
What has been done to really push the innovative boundaries with APIO
Advanced and innovative API management – APIO has a very innovative architecture natively designed to be Vendor agnostic, hide vendor API complexity, provide complete independence between front-end and back-end APIs (e.g. Front-end APIs remain unchanged even if vendor APIs are modified), flexible orchestration for different network equipment.
APIO is also able to trigger actions towards network elements that do NOT belong to the same domain, not the same operator, not the same department of an operator (mobile or fixed), or that do not all belong to any operator but to the end-user – eg, opening or closing a port on a CISCO router. Another innovative aspect of this product is the fact that decision tree theory is used for asynchronous request handling – groundbreaking in telco environments.
Request Prioritization – APIO can apply different priorities to a request based on different criteria eg, user creation might take precedence over user modification.
Error handling – implements different error handling behaviour depending on the nature of the request. eg error reception can lead to the stopping of the orchestration script and rolling-back all modifications carried out in the previous step of the script.
Logging – keeps track of requests that have been processed: request content, user initiating the request, status of the request, error handling behaviour.
User rights and authentication – internal database stores user profiles allowing APIO to apply a strict user policy. eg, user removal requests would only be allowed from OSS layer. Flexibility remains as APIO can also take access rights information from other, external elements.
Operating performance metrics of APIO – quality, reliability, scalability
As a candidate for large telco VoIP networks APIO has been designed to scale massively. Multiple APIO instances can be implemented in front of session aware HTTP load balancers to distribute API requests. A powerful test tool incorporating more than 1500 test cases is run after every development release to ensure product quality. Request rate based load testing is run for all major releases and can also be run on an individual project basis. Performance is actually dependent on orchestration scripts that are typically project specific. Reliability is enhanced as an APIO instance runs on a Virtual Machine where multiple instances can be deployed reducing dependency on any one machine.
APIO Use Cases
The sections below describe some examples of existing services where APIO is used.
Fraud Management Engo Fraud Management System and the operator environment. ENGO triggers a call indicating a fraud is in progress. APIO determines action based on time of day policy eg during business hours an email sent to NOC/out of hours command sent to softswitch to block calls.
Telecom Solution Management Portal: assisted process APIO facilitates the development of Management portals that simplify complex operations (eg creation of an Enterprise on multi-tenant softswitch so that the end-user (Customer) can perform an important part of the work by himself/herself. Configuration of properties such as Call Capacity, creation of users assignment of telephone numbers, device (telephone) assignment are performed by the IT administrator.
Workflow for changes Automates repetitive processes that are prone to user error. A “dashboard view” provides a view on which workflow has been applied to which users.
Fixed-Mobile Convergence – Business versus Private Calls Eg APIO mediates between User, mobile network and softswitch determining call outcome based on Personal and Business profiles.
Number Portability Number portability calls to action are by definition asynchronous and cause cascading delays that cannot be handled by synchronous operations. APIO provides an NPACT module designed to deal with such scenarios.
We will expand on all of the above in future blog posts but that should do you for now:)