Ciena injects ONAP into its Blue Planet platform, enhances policy capabilities

LOS ANGELES—Ciena has introduced enhanced policy capabilities to its Blue Planet intelligent automation platform by incorporating the Linux Foundation’s open-source Open Networking Automation Platform (ONAP). 

Aiming to aid service providers’ evolution to more adaptive, software-centric networks, the new Blue Planet policy subsystem will support advanced closed-loop automation use cases, such as preventing a potential failure or dynamically scaling capacity to support growing bandwidth demands.

Ciena said an additional benefit of the enhanced platform is that service providers will gain more control to create intent-based policies that better guide their networks to address potential obstacles while meeting growth objectives.

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What’s key about Ciena’s new capabilities is that it reflects how policy is playing a greater role in service providers' adoption of closed-loop automation by creating rules that guide the decisions and actions taken by software to automatically modify the behavior of the network.

ONAP brings together several global carriers and vendors to build an automation and orchestration platform to transform the service delivery lifecycle for network, cable and cloud providers.

Ciena Blue Planet is adding support for ONAP virtual network function (VNF) descriptors and packaging specifications to the already supported ETSI ISG NFV Release 2 specification (PDF). By supporting both specifications, Ciena is providing customers greater choice in how they approach today’s rapidly evolving networking environment.

Ciena Blue Planet
Ciena Blue Planet

The vendor has been an active participant in multiple open-source initiatives, including ONOS, CORD and MEF LSO. Ciena is also Silver Member of ONAP, having joined in 2017.

Blue Planet’s support for ONAP VNF descriptors and packaging specifications are now available, while the enhanced policy subsystem will be available in the second half of 2018.

Several of Ciena’s service provider customers, including AT&T, Verizon and Windstream have been incorporating automation into their next-gen network processes via ONAP. ONAP gained more momentum when Verizon joined the project as a Platinum member, a move that reflects the service provider's desire to drive industry harmony around network virtualization and automation. 

Windstream is also becoming an active participant in driving open-source elements into the broader service provider community. In October, Windstream announced it was bringing its SDN Orchestrated Waves (SDNow) transport service to 50 U.S. markets, advancing its broader movement to equip its network with SDN.

By using multivendor service orchestration and automated provisioning, Windstream has created a dynamic service environment that is said will enable customers to order SDNow 10G point-to-point circuits for 1,500 long-haul route combinations, with delivery in 20 days.

"As a member of the ONAP project and a Blue Planet customer, we see the value that technology providers like Ciena can provide by incorporating open-source software for potential deployment in our production network environment,” said Art Nichols, VP of architecture and technology, Windstream, in a release.

For Ciena, it is important for the optical vendor to enhance its software capabilities that its large customers are demanding from the vendor community.

During the fourth quarter, Ciena reported that software segment revenues were $53.5 million, up year-over-year from $39.3 million. Within this segment, software platforms saw the largest growth with $29.6 million in revenues, while software-related services rose slightly to $23.9 million.