After years of seeing OSS products, there’s one set of functionality that tends to be highly desired by customers but rarely offered (well) by vendors.
This tells me that it is very difficult to implement, and having also worked with vendors, I can attest to the challenge faced.
The functionality set I’m talking about relates to network planning, being able to store multiple overlapping or cross-dependant infrastructure designs ahead of their implementation.
It’s relatively easy to store states (eg planned, reserved, etc) against objects (eg equipment, ports, cables, ducts, etc). It’s much tougher to store plans of future infrastructure build-out that uses some existing objects, planned objects, multiple reserved use of objects for comparison planning (eg starting from a given port on an equipment, is route A or route B going to be more efficient?).
Tougher again is to show multiple future snapshots in time to plan cascading and dependant projects. Another challenge is managing the work-flow through the various planning states from design drawings and redline markups through to as builts, as well as the various approval gates.
As you can tell, this is important for any organisation that plans complex infrastructure builds.
The reason it’s so challenging from a product perspective is because of the multiple use states of a shared piece of infrastructure. For example, if port 1 is used for the Route A plan and Route B plan, then they’re both claiming “ownership” of the same object. Since most OSS are built on top of databases, where any data record is protected (locked) from being used simultaneously, OSS developers need to write code that works around this limitation (but powerful data integrity protection mechanism).
Have you seen a product that has provided this planning functionality simply and elegantly?Read the Passionate About OSS Blog for more or Subscribe to the Passionate About OSS Blog by Email