This book offers guidance for finding answers to one or more of the following questions:

  • How do I efficiently track network and application resource usage?

  • How do I know if my customers are adhering to usage policy agreements?

  • How do I account and bill for resources being utilized?

  • How do I effectively plan to allocate and deploy resources most efficiently?

  • How do I track customers to enhance marketing customer service opportunities?

After discussing accounting and performance management concepts in some level of detail, we can summarize the essential points:

Accounting management means

  • Collecting usage data records at network devices

  • Optional preprocessing of the data records at the device (filter, sample, aggregate)

  • Exporting the data records from the device toward a collection server

  • Processing the data records at the collection server (filter, sample, aggregate, mediate, de-duplicate)

  • Mediation: converting data records into a common format for higher-layer applications (performance, SLA, fault, security, billing, planning)

Performance management means

  • Monitoring: collecting device, network, and services data records at the device level (availability, response time, device and link utilization)

  • Data analysis: data record aggregation, QoS parameter verification, accuracy

  • Transforming data records into information: baselining, reporting, performance analysis, capacity planning, SLA compliance tests, alarming, quality assurance

  • Mediation: converting data records into a common format for higher-layer applications (baselining, reporting, performance analysis, capacity planning, SLA compliance tests, alarming, quality assurance)

  • Configuration management: adjusting configurations to improve performance and traffic handling of the network (threshold definitions, capacity planning)

This book emphasizes the close relationship between accounting and performance management. We will prove that the two areas are indeed complementary and, by combining the best of both parts, we set the foundation for better network management.

We have discussed various areas of network management, which can benefit from accounting and performance management. Table 1-9 summarizes the applications and highlights the areas with the closest fit, where check mark means a full match and check mark* means a partial match.

Table 1-9. Accounting and Performance Management Applied
AreaAccountingPerformance Management
Performance monitoring33
User monitoring and profiling3 
Application monitoring and profiling33
Capacity planning33
Traffic profiling and engineering3check mark*
Peering and transit agreements3 
Usage-/volume-based billing3check mark*
Destination/source-sensitive billing3 
Quality-of-service billing3check mark*
Application- and content-based billing3 
Time/connection-based billing33
Voice over IP (VoIP) and IP telephony (IPT) billing3 
Security analysis3check mark*
Baselining 3
Fault management33
Service monitoring 3

We have also identified blocking factors for implementing accounting and performance management architecture; these are mainly cost and overhead concerns such as

  • Collection

  • Mediation, processing, and reporting

By now, you understand the rationale behind accounting and performance management and can develop an individual business case. Based on the business justification, you can derive the required technical parameters and develop an appropriate accounting and performance management architecture. This book addresses technology-specific details, standards, and implementation guidelines. Finally, we will assign technologies to solutions to give guidelines that you can apply in your network. Because the prime focus of this book is technology-related, we will not go into more details from a business and operational perspective. If you are interested in these areas, refer to OSS Essentials by Kornel Terplan (Wiley, 2001). A very good introductory book on network management is Network Management Fundamentals by Alexander Clemm (Cisco Press, 2006).

Part II: Implementations on the Cisco Devices