One thing is clear when I talk to our Communications Service Providers (CSPs) customers: they understand the urgency of modernizing their Operations Support System (OSS) environments. These systems have been built and maintained over decades by creating customized OSS silos on top of one another to support each new technology innovation. The resulting complexity has made it almost impossible to accelerate innovation and fully monetize promising technologies like 5G network slicing.

As Blue Planet’s Joe Cumello recently explained, there is a better approach to tackling OSS modernization, but it requires greater collaboration and changing your mindset to view OSS as your competitive advantage, not an obstacle.

Which is why I’m so excited to share today the introduction of our new Blue Planet Cloud Native Platform. The industry’s only cloud-native OSS.

With this major enhancement to our intelligent automation software portfolio, CSPs can now start to eliminate what we often refer to as ‘spaghetti’ integrations and manual operations. With our new platform, they can start to move toward a modular and cloud-native OSS that fully leverages the elasticity and scale of the cloud and simplifies the evolution towards intent-driven automation from end-to-end.

Based on a Kubernetes (K8s) architecture, our Cloud Native Platform converges Blue Planet’s inventory, orchestration, and assurance applications with a shared user interface and a path toward a common data model. With this platform, CSPs can fully embrace the cloud and AI to automate operations, cut costs, and develop new revenue streams.

Change your OSS mindset: Introducing Blue Planet's Cloud Native PlatformFigure 1.  Blue Planet Cloud Native Platform

Our Cloud Native Platform is the result of a vision and journey that began in 2015 when Ciena acquired Cyan, an innovator in multi-domain service orchestration. This was followed by more acquisitions in 2018 and 2019 when Ciena acquired Packet Design, DonRiver, and Centina, each delivering strategic capabilities that complemented our own organic development. This strategy has allowed us to stay one step ahead of the competition who are still aspiring to offer the cohesive cloud-native solution Blue Planet can already deliver today. But what really counts is the business outcomes our Cloud Native Platform delivers for customers while helping them accelerate their digital transformations. Let’s take a closer look...

Reducing opex and cloud footprint

While customized legacy OSS solutions are tightly integrated with network service offers, the Blue Planet Cloud Native Platform uniquely decouples the OSS from the network. This abstraction allows the platform to provide a shared user interface and a path towards a common data model across inventory, orchestration, and assurance. This is a step change versus the legacy approach of offering OSS applications as completely separate products that require extensive customization and integration.

Many of our customers start by deploying just one Blue Planet application, like inventory or orchestration. This is possible because we’ve designed all our K8s-based applications to be independently deployable in any environment. But our platform now allows you to deploy additional applications more quickly and efficiently because they’re pre-integrated, reducing the hefty integration tax that often comes with a best-of-breed approach while allowing you to evolve your OSS at the pace that makes the most sense for your business. And the fact that the platform is open and standards-based means it supports any service or vendor.

The shared user interface and common data model also maximizes the ROI on the time and money you’ve already invested by reusing work on inventory management to optimize service orchestration, for example. This allows you to improve operational efficiency and reduce your cloud footprint because you’re not replicating data and functions.

"CSPs’ legacy OSS is a complex environment of highly customized, siloed systems that represent a constraint on growth and greater agility. The new Blue Planet Cloud Native Platform consolidates Blue Planet's unique capabilities, telecom experience, and cloud-native vision, giving CSPs a foundation for simplifying and modernizing their operations."

- Francis Haysom, Principal Analyst, Appledore Research

A unique, ‘multicloud-native’ approach

Every CSP has a strategy for shifting OSS and BSS workloads to the public cloud. Indeed, telcos’ BSS transformation is largely complete, but modernizing OSS has been harder because of the tight coupling with the network. But even so, more than 80% of our OSS applications are deployed by our customers today in public clouds.

The Blue Planet Cloud Native platform is unique because it is ‘multicloud-native,’ a term coined for us by the analysts at Appledore Research – meaning the use of K8s and open APIs northbound and southbound allow it to run in any public or private cloud. So, it doesn’t matter to us whether you’re an AWS, Google, Microsoft, or private cloud shop – or even ‘all of the above’.

K8s has become the standard for deploying and managing cloud-native software in the telecoms industry due to operators’ need for more elasticity, scalability, and efficiency in deploying their OSS apps in the cloud and managing their cloud-based network functions and services.

In theory, simply using K8s should make OSS applications plug-and-play in different cloud environments. But Blue Planet has gone further – we have made significant investments in integrating our OSS applications and providing related cloud-native operations services to further streamline the transition to the cloud. Many of our competitors have not.

"The Blue Planet Cloud Native Platform transcends the traditional approach of custom ‘spaghetti integrations’ that have shackled CSPs’ ability to be adaptable, open and agile. We are pioneering a new level of convergence that embraces the cloud and transforms the OSS to be a competitive differentiator, reducing operational costs and allowing for rapid creation of new business models.”

- Joe Cumello, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Blue Planet

Changing culture for the better

We don’t talk enough about the organizational and cultural changes required to transition to modern, cloud-native OSS. But this is where a shift in mindset becomes especially important.

The Blue Planet Cloud Native Platform helps CSPs embrace a DevOps model of continuous integration, delivery, and testing (CI/CD), enabling in-service software upgrades (ISSU). These are completely new ways of working for CSPs, both internally and when collaborating with their vendor partners.

In the traditional environment, separate network, IT, and operations teams build their own isolated platforms and capabilities. This stifles innovation. Driving a converged organizational model that leverages the DevOps model and aligns across the OSS stack in an open architecture is absolutely critical. For this reason, we’re a big supporter of industry-wide initiatives like the TM Forum Open Digital Architecture (ODA).

In addition to benefitting from a DevOps mode of operations, Blue Planet customers are also able to access new features and capabilities as they’re developed, and they’ll be able to test them in a production environment. Instead of implementing software releases a few times a year, operators can now adopt an innovation-centric mindset while taking advantage of the most advanced OSS capabilities.


Finally, the Blue Planet Cloud Native Platform features an AI Studio to help CSPs realize their ambition to become AI-driven. We began incorporating AIOps and machine learning capabilities in our portfolio in 2019 to enable proactive service assurance. Our platform-wide AI Studio will let CSPs apply AI-based capabilities developed by their own data science teams, from Blue Planet, or from third parties, to any operational processes Blue Planet is automating. For example, a machine learning algorithm for determining optimal cross-domain connections could be applied to network planning or assurance processes, or you might decide to use a large language model as an orchestration tool to automate the flow of data between systems and across teams.

Make your OSS an enabler for growth

With the Blue Planet Cloud Native Platform, we offer CSPs the industry’s only cloud-native platform to help modernize their OSS and monetize their network investments more efficiently. We can deliver an ODA-ready, multicloud-native platform that converges inventory, orchestration, and assurance applications. In turn, this can help you reduce operational complexity and realize end-to-end automation across the entire service lifecycle.