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Explorer Traffic Engineering

The Explorer Traffic Engineering (Explorer TE) application is an example of the intelligent, software-controlled orchestration capabilities that can be achieved with the Blue Planet Route Optimization and Assurance (ROA) product.

Explorer TE leverages ROA’s rich IP/MPLS network telemetry and analytics to automate the difficult and time-consuming task of balancing network loads. It does this by creating Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP-TE) or Segment Routing (SR-TE) tunnels to shift traffic from heavily-congested links to lightly-used links. This results in better overall use of network resources and smoother service delivery. The TE application taps into several components of ROA, including real-time IGP and BGP routing telemetry, traffic matrices, a policy-based path computation and optimization engine, to provision new traffic engineering tunnels via Blue Planet Multi-Domain Service Orchestration (MDSO) or any third-party SDN controller. It accesses these components via open RESTful APIs.

Explorer Traffic Engineering App Deployment

SDN-TE App Deployment diagram

Key Benefits

  • Optimize and balance the use of network resources by redistributing traffic loads
  • Increase network efficiency and maximize the return on infrastructure investments
  • Quickly resolve service slowdowns caused by congested links
  • Eliminate the risks of service impacts from traffic engineering miscalculations with analytics-driven traffic engineering recommendations
  • Avoid unplanned service interruptions with error-free, automated traffic engineering
  • Accommodate multiple services requirements by generating traffic matrices for different times and workload profiles
  • Easily integrate third party data sources and technologies, like traffic matrices, optimization algorithms, and orchestrators

Product Capabilities

Assessing the Opportunity for Optimization
The TE application assesses the current network state to determine if optimization is needed and possible. Overall network performance is summarized in a single display for the current set of paths and traffic demands, and graphically shows the maximum link utilization, maximum delay, and the maximum number of hops. It also charts the number of links that are uncongested, moderately congested, and heavily congested. The goal of the TE application is to reduce the utilization of these overly congested links.

Traffic Matrices
The TE application’s traffic demand matrices show traffic volume between each ingress and egress router and highlights the most congested links along the path for each ingress-egress pair. The specific path for any pair can be displayed simply by right-clicking on that cell in the traffic matrix and clicking “Show Map”. The TE application supports full-mesh traffic engineering as well as tactical traffic engineering to remediate isolated congestion.

The user may select a specific daily, weekly, monthly, or a specific time period for the traffic engineering calculations and use either maximum, minimum or the 95th percentile traffic utilization levels. By specifying a “Maximum Utilization per Link” value, any link with utilization above this threshold is selected and its ingress and egress routers are automatically inferred. Router groups may also be selected manually for the traffic matrix.

For full-mesh traffic engineering, all edge routers are selected; for specific sections of the network, just the associated routers are selected. Multiple traffic demand matrices can be created simultaneously and they can either be optimized for the same time or for different times of the day to satisfy the needs of the multiple services running on the network.

If desired, traffic matrices may be imported and used in place of those generated by Blue Planet ROA. Similarly, third party optimization algorithms may be invoked. This plug-and-play capability is made possible by the REST APIs.

Policy- Based Path Computation & Optimization
The TE application user can set policies to define allowable tunnel characteristics. Policy determines which path optimization algorithm to use, either a fast, global constraint-based optimization algorithm or a capacity optimization algorithm. Policy settings also determine whether or not traffic may be split among multiple paths between ingress and egress routers based on bandwidth rate.  Splitting the traffic into multiple paths is useful when no single path has sufficient capacity to satisfy the demand.

The policies support even more options for optimization including creating diverse paths, under or over provisioning of TE tunnels, and balancing traffic based on load or bandwidth.

Intelligent Orchestration
With a click of the mouse, the path computation and optimization engine calculates the optimal RSVP-TE or Segment Routing tunnel configurations and presents them as recommendations to the user. The SDN-TE application presents before-and-after measures for maximum link utilization, delay, and number of hops, as well as the link utilization distribution. These metrics provide an at-a-glance view of the impact that the computed new paths will have on network utilization.

The user may override any or all of the recommendations, and when satisfied that the new TE tunnel configurations will have the desired impact, another click of the mouse signals the  Blue Planet ROA product to communicate these paths to Blue Planet MDSO or any 3rd party SDN controller via its northbound API. The controller uses a southbound protocol to configure the paths in the network devices and ensures the paths are persistent. When the new tunnels are signaled by the routers they are immediately detected and appear in the ROA’s real-time routing topology model, creating a closed-loop analytics and automation process. The user may update or de-provision the tunnels at any time using the Explorer TE application.

The ROA product’s RESTful APIs enable integration with third party orchestration and OSS/BSS solutions. This means that the ROA products with the TE application may be implemented as a standalone solution or as part of a multi-vendor, multi-domain, and even multi-layer orchestration ecosystem.

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