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Ciena Jumps on ONAP Bandwagon

Carol Wilson

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Open Networking Summit -- Ciena is the next company to join ONAP, bringing its Blue Planet experience to that open source project, the company will announce today. That makes at least three new members this week, as Reliance Jio and Microsoft were also announced here as ONAP joiners.

Given that Ciena's Blue Planet is already engaged in orchestration of multiple network operators' NFV/SDN deployments, and has also adopted a microservices approach, there should be substantial contributions ready to flow to the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) project, says Kevin Wade, senior director of product marketing for Ciena.

"Blue Planet's microservices architecture enables us to rapidly extend the platform to new open source projects -- we now have 20 different projects represented," Wade tells Light Reading in an interview here. "Getting involved with ONAP is just a continuation. Once we have access to code, we feel we can adopt and integrate key components and provide a commercial readiness layer."

Ciena already provides a hardened version of ONOS for CORD, two other Linux Foundation projects, and has been able to contribute to those projects based on its real-world orchestration experience working with operators such as CenturyLink, Orange Business Services and Windstream, Wade says.

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Thus far, what Ciena has seen from ONAP is the creation of functional models that are a superset of functionality in Open Orchestration and ECOMP, the two open source projects that came together to create ONAP. Based on that exposure, Ciena would expect to be able to contribute to and adopt most of what ONAP is doing, Wade says.

"The principal advantage we have, in terms of how and where we can contribute and adopt, is that as we have developed Blue Planet over the course of the last three years, we have gravitated to being similar in scope to ECOMP, but in a more generalized way, because we weren't developing for one carrier," Wade notes. "As they are open sourcing ONAP, it will move to being more generalized as well [not specific to AT&T] and we think we can immediately add value there."

Blue Planet and ONAP have other things in common -- both are built on microservices and intended to be cloud-native, Wade says, and use containers to enable functions to be easily enhanced and updated.

"This is still a high-level assessment, since we haven't seen the code, but if everything plays out correctly, and if the code is as portable as it looks, we will be able to see how we can adopt and contribute," Wade says.

Ciena is also showing a further evolution of its ONOS and CORD engagements here, and expects ONAP to have a role to play in that orchestration process as well. AT&T was an early deployer of R-CORD, the residential broadband use case for CORD, so ONAP is expected to be engaged there as well. While some large Tier 1 operators may be ready to embrace ONAP and participate in the process, others along with Tier 2 and Tier 3 operators may be more interested in working with vendors both for distribution and support of the open source code. That is an area where Ciena can engage going forward, Wade notes.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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