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GRAVITY BLOG

6 ways to boost your success with network orchestration and automation

 22 Aug 2018 /  

In the third and final post in our series on the Adaptive Network and how it can help overcome today’s tough network management conditions, we explore network orchestration and automation. Software is a critical asset for operators looking to support exponential traffic growth and deliver complex IoT and 5G use cases. But software for future networking isn’t just about SDN controllers. It’s also about robust orchestration, automation, and analytics capabilities, says Karim Dembri, Sales and Business Development Manager, Ciena.

In the previous post in this series, we looked at how an Adaptive Network can help operators to stay ahead of the bandwidth demand curve, embrace emerging market opportunities, and deliver truly great customer experiences. This time around, we want to focus in on the software needed to deliver the Adaptive Network vision, and to bring new, revenue-generating services to market more quickly and cost-effectively.

Here are six key ways that intelligent network software can help you achieve your technology and business goals:

1) Improve your bottom line with maximum resource utilization: One of the top priorities for every operator is to maximize resource utilization, to improve OPEX and lower delivery costs. However, manual resource discovery and service mapping processes often stand in the way.

With intelligent networking software, such as Ciena’s Blue Planet technology, it becomes possible to discover available network resources automatically, giving you an inventory of the components and capacity you have available (as well as releasing resources to be reused when services are deleted). This takes the manual work out of discovery, while also maximizing utilization and returns on your existing infrastructure investments – all contributing directly to your bottom line.

2) Reduce time to market and revenue for new services: With an up-to-date inventory of your network assets in place, Blue Planet Multi-Domain Service Orchestration (MDSO) allows you to create, provision and turn up services quickly and easily across multi-vendor, multi-layer domains. Detailed information on all resources allows you to route latency or time-sensitive applications over shortest path or new edge infrastructure, and to deliver lower-value commodity services over existing infrastructure components.

By automating a large number of processes previously needed to discover resources and provision and turn up new services, Blue Planet reduces time to market and reduces your billing cycle by up to 15%. Additionally, admin teams can be redeployed to tasks that directly add value to your business and subscribers.

3) Deliver great customer experiences: Intelligent network orchestration and automation software is essential for delivering great customer experiences across a wide range of complex applications and use cases. In particular, the ability to scale bandwidth automatically on demand is crucial for complying with minimum QoS requirements and preventing poor application performance for subscribers, even during unforeseen demand peaks.

Ciena Blue Planet integrates and orchestrates the equipment and processes required to deliver bandwidth on-demand. At the front end, customers can access a portal and provision bandwidth as they need it, ensuring that critical customer-facing services are always available and performing well.

4) Boost network efficiency with virtualization: Intelligent network software, such as Ciena Blue Planet, helps mobile operators to pursue their network functions virtualization (NFV) strategies, bringing physical and virtual kit into a single network environment where it can be orchestrated and managed efficiently.

Additionally, Ciena’s vendor agnostic approach means that mobile operators can adopt VNFs from any vendor or partner, with no risk of lock-in to a specific technology.

5) Lay the foundations for an adaptive, self-healing network with advanced analytics: The network orchestration and automation capabilities of Blue Planet are the first step towards automating network behaviour. However, when these capabilities are combined with in-depth analytics of network metrics and performance data, the path is opened to self-aware, self-healing future networks.

Today, we’re still not quite there. But already we can support orchestration between the optical and IP layers of the network to create a single, coordinated traffic routing and protection environment. With analytics on top, it becomes possible to see how a failure or demand peak in one layer is impacting the network and a whole, allowing you to take immediate action to reduce negative impacts.

Recently, Ciena also completed the acquisition of Packet Design to further our vision of multi-layer network orchestration and help our customers in their path to the Adaptive Network.

6) Integrate best-of-breed, multi-vendor components: To maximize OPEX, you need to make best use of new and legacy equipment from a range of vendors. Ciena Blue Planet enables this by tying multi-vendor physical and virtualized infrastructure together into a single management, orchestration, and automation workflow. Critically, you can also deploy Ciena equipment to maximize available capacity on your existing line system with Alien Wavelength capabilities (powered by Ciena’s Waveserver Ai).

With the ability to orchestrate, automate and manage multi-vendor environments, you can discover your resources more easily, streamline service rollout, maximize utilization, and achieve all the other benefits outlined in this blog. You can also continue to integrate best-of-breed components from a range of manufacturers into your infrastructure.

This post originally appeared on the Ciena Network Insights blog.

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