Light Reading

Ciena Introduces Management Tools to Make Networks Flexible

Mitch Wagner

Ciena today introduced WAN management software designed to help carriers provide meet the unpredictable bandwidth demands of today's enterprise and cloud customers.

The Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) Agility Multilayer WAN Controller is designed to allow carriers to optimize wide-area networks. It's built on the OpenDaylight SDN controller, to enhance interoperability with other vendors' hardware and software. Ciena, which recently won Light Reading's Leading Lights award this year for Best New Product (Telecom) for its WaveLogic Photonics, first talked about its SDN controller plans in March this year. (See Ciena Develops an SDN Controller, Leading Lights Awards 2014: The Winners, and Defining SDN & NFV.)

The Agility controller will work with four apps to handle different elements of network configuration:

Navigate automatically determines the best possible route through the network to establish a connection.

Protect determines alternate routes in case the initial route runs into problems.

Optimize defragments the network to free up available resources by reallocating capacity and fine-tuning connection routing.

V-WAN allows enterprise and cloud customers to schedule their own bandwidth on demand through end-user portals or applications such as a cloud or NFV orchestration system.

V-WAN has its own applications, including MyPerformance, for performance monitoring; MyPortal, a web portal application to allow customers to request bandwidth on demand and verify delivery and performance; and MyAdapter and On-Demand Service VPNs.

MyAdapter plugs into enterprise or cloud network applications to allow the carrier customers' applications to request bandwidth automatically. For example, an enterprise customer using VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) software to manage multiple cloud datacenters might use MyAdapter to allow VMware to automatically request bandwidth as needed.

MyAdapter can also orchestrate across multiple domains, automating bandwidth allocations between local metro network operators, regional providers or exchange providers, and datacenter cloud operators such as Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Azure. "The enterprise doesn't need a permanent connection to a particular cloud operator. They can at will select who they want to connect to, and just pay for the amount of capacity from their datacenter to the cloud operator for a particular transaction," says Mitch Auster, Ciena senior director, market development.

Finally, On-Demand Service VPNs allows carriers' customers to set up virtual WANS between multiple sites, scheduling resources on an as-needed basis.

The Agility software suite is entering trials with Tier 1 operators, and will be available later this year.

I pumped Auster for information about interoperability with other vendor solutions. I've been hung up on this subject since the weekend, when I came across this conversation on the Software Defined Networking Group on LinkedIn. Greg Whalen, a management consultant with Greywale Management, asks: "If everyone is selling a 'single pane of glass' solution don't you end up with multiple 'single panes of glass'?"

I asked Auster if the Ciena software will work with other vendors' products. He said it will -- that's why they used OpenDaylight as the basis for the product. The Agility controller supports the OpenDaylight Service Abstraction Layer, allowing multiple vendor management programs to interoperate with the Agility software.

We went back and forth, with Auster declining to name specific names of any other vendors' whose products the Ciena software will work with. He kept pointing back to Agility's compliance with the OpenDaylight standard. But of course compliance with standards is only a start -- interoperability requires real-world testing.

As Auster resisted naming names, my malarkey-meter was on red alert. It looked like this:

But then Auster said Ciena will offer professional services to ensure that its products work with other products used by its network operator customers.

So there's that. Network operators will have the opportunity to ensure the Ciena software works on their own network configurations before they buy.

Auster and I also got into some interesting discussion of the business and technology conditions that are placing new demands for flexibility on carrier networks. But this article has gone on long enough -- I'll save that discussion for another article, coming soon.

More about Ciena:

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/9/2014 | 10:23:38 PM
who would want to name competitors when promoting their products..?
I don't blame Ciena reps for not wanting to name which of their competitors that they'll be compatible with.. ultimately, compatibility may not be up to them -- and why promote competitors?

User Rank: Lightning
7/9/2014 | 3:38:15 PM
Vendor interop with Ciena OpenDaylight-based SDN controller and apps
Thanks for the story, Mitch (great name by the way). I thought it might be helpful to clarify the issue of vendor interoperability. You actually brought up the key point in your story: vendors creating 'restricted to members only' ego-systems with a single pane of glass – one for each siloed ego-system!


That is exactly what we're helping network operators avoid with OpenDaylight, which offers a single pane of glass that belongs to the whole industry. Any network element vendor can develop and offer up their own plug-in to that service abstraction layer (SAL), without asking Ciena or anyone else for permission or instructions. The same goes for control layer modules that add value to or improve upon the open source baseline. Since OpenDaylight is an open, vendor-neutral ecosystem that doesn't restrict value creation (and accretion) to the vendor supplying the ODL-based controller, third-party vendors are happy to contribute.  The fully open approach makes things easier on a technical level, and makes things work on a commercial dynamics level for both vendors and operators.


Will network operators or their partners, such as Ciena, need to test to make sure things work together? Sure, but with a common model-driven framework, open APIs and the SAL that becomes a much quicker and simpler task than doing so with proprietary management systems as in the past – and also a lot more palatable to vendors as proprietary management systems always belonged to some other vendor.  As Carol Wilson reported a couple days ago, I'd mentioned on a Big Telecom Event panel that Ciena recently demonstrated successful interoperability of our controller with a top router vendor (using NETCONF/YANG, btw) in a lab trial with a Tier 1 operator with less than 2 weeks effort. Immediate efforts are in such contexts with customers so we have some constraints right now on what we can comment in detail. But as this aspect is important we will continue to push and to help operators benefit quickly from contributions from the whole community. A very large number of vendors are participating in OpenDaylight, so operators expect the components under that single pane of glass to build rapidly – and so do we.
From The Founder
Steve Saunders provides an overview of white box networking and introduces a new "slim line" version of the OSI 7-layer model.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Centec on Ethernet Switching

11|26|15   |   09:58   |   (0) comments

Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
LRTV Custom TV
Delivering Service Agility in the Virtualization Era

11|25|15   |   5.41   |   (0) comments

Interview with Massimo Fatato, WW OSS Business Lead, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Wagner’s Ring
How Might Open Source Fail?

11|24|15   |     |   (10) comments

Open source, SDN, and NFV are looking inevitable – but performance, standards proliferation and regulatory capture could derail the movement.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Lifecycle Orchestration – a Fresh Vision for Telco

11|23|15   |   6.40   |   (0) comments

Simon Osborne, CTO Comptel, and Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell reveal the business impacts of new SDN and NFV, and what the term service orchestration actually means. Together they define Lifecycle Service Orchestration and how the virtualized future will look for telecoms operators.
Between the CEOs
Cisco's Virtual Role in Saudi

11|20|15   |   12:15   |   (2) comments

Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Leads With Kubernetes for Cloud PaaS

11|19|15   |   08:26   |   (0) comments

Huawei is looking to Kubernetes as a key tool for building robust open source technologies for customers and partners, said Ying Xiong, chief architect of cloud platform at Huawei, in an interview with Light Reading West Coast Bureau Chief Mitch Wagner at the recent Kubecon conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
WiC in London: The Highlight Reel

11|19|15   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

NetCracker's Mervat El Dabae headlines an inspiring morning in London with help from leading women from Vodafone, TalkTalk, Hyperoptics and Ciena.
LRTV Documentaries
Why Saudi's So Hot for New Tech

11|19|15   |   05:07   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders reports from Saudi Arabia, a hyper-competitive market desperate to embrace the next generation of communications technologies and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Why Data Models Deliver More Value Than Information Models

11|19|15   |   5.08   |   (0) comments

Stefan Vallin argues that more automation is needed to manage end-to-end services and the hybrid networks they run on, and that data models are key to achieving this.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
SDN Management & Orchestration in the WAN

11|17|15   |   7.20   |   (0) comments

Carol Wilson and Packet Design CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu discuss CSPs' SDN service delivery and assurance requirements. Learn about a modular approach to building automated control, orchestration and management functions for the WAN that are policy- and analytics-driven.
LRTV Custom TV
Flash Networks: Optimizing for Radio Spectral Efficiency

11|17|15   |   3:34   |   (0) comments

Today most optimization vendors only focus on optimizing voice or data. Ofer Gottfried, Flash Networks' CTO, shows how improving data throughput and maximizing spectral efficiency reduces capital and operating expenses while also providing a platform for user engagement.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Pay-TV User Experiences Millennial-Friendly

11|16|15   |   6:42   |   (0) comments

The unique challenge of reaching and engaging Millennials is driving pay-TV video experience transformation that can include higher quality UIs, viewing of multiple content streams at once and seamless transitions between handheld devices and the television.
Allot MobileTrends Report H2/2015 reveals how daily online behavior can be used to discover smarter ways to profile customers and propose valuable, real-time offers to them.
Hot Topics
Samsung to Sell Wireless Networking Unit?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Samsung: No Sale of Wireless Unit
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/25/2015
How Might Open Source Fail?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/24/2015
Sprint to Get $1.2B From New Leasing Venture
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Networking Shines in HP's Gloomy Final Earnings
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/25/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
December 15, 2015
Virtualizing Cable Services
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
Cats with Phones
Can't Find the Phone on Thanksgiving? Click Here
Check under the cat! (hint: bottom right)
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.