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ADVA Flexes Software Muscles at Optical Layer

Carol Wilson

ADVA today formally launched its optical network hypervisor intended to bring the same software-driven flexibility to the optical layer that exists in other network stacks.

Out of the gate, the ADVA FSP Network Hypervisor is interoperable with major open source and commercial controllers, offering network operators the ability to automate the process of checking network facility availability and activating service.

There will be additional benefits, of course, to those who use both the hypervisor and ADVA Optical Networking's optical networking gear including the ADVA FSP 3000 for data center interconnect, metro and core networks. The multivendor interoperability aspect has been part of the public trialing and demonstration efforts for this system since 2014.

"Optical networking has been evolving to more SDN-like capabilities," says Lee Doyle, principal analyst with Doyle Research. "Optical has been traditionally challenging to set up and inflexible and single vendor, so we are on the road to trying to alleviate some of those challenges. I think this is a good step in the right direction and if the approach works, it likely will gain more momentum. "

ADVA says the FSP Network Hypervisor is proven to be compatible with the OpenDaylight and ONOS controllers, as well as commercial models from Juniper Networks Inc. and NEC/Netcracker.

The new gear can act as the optical layer's domain controller, automating the key processes in rapidly setting up and changing services including discovery, managing connections and setting up the most efficient paths based on existing resources. The end goals include self-provisioned services, optimized use of resources and automated resiliency.

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Optical networks have been very much controlled by management systems that are vendor-specific and trying to tie those together was a complex process, notes Stephan Rettenberger, senior vice president of marketing and investor relations at ADVA.

"The hypervisor provides a level of abstraction with this pool of capacity that looks really simple, where you can create connectivity between geographically dispersed end points, you can virtualize these resources of optical end points, and you can also now command and control" optical resources via fairly advanced and accepted APIs, he says in an interview.

That layer of abstraction enables a higher-level orchestrator to now control those optical network resources, Rettenberger says.

ADVA has been advocating multivendor, higher-layer control for some time now, he adds, and working in this direction to build on the flexibility of ROADM-based optical network platforms to create wavelengths and sub-wavelengths more flexibly. The FSP Network Hypervisor has been in trials and proofs-of-concept since 2014, including public demonstrations, prior to this formal launch, so ADVA has some experience already in how this will work in networks going forward.

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

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