Ciena: We'll Stop 95% of Network Outages

Kelsey Kusterer Ziser
5/14/2019
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By injecting AI and automation into a new Blue Planet service, Ciena claims it can prevent up to 95% of network outages. The new addition to the Blue Planet software platform -- Proactive Network Operations (PNO) – is a closed-loop automation platform that service providers can use to predict and prevent service disruptions.

The Ciena tool uses machine-learning algorithms to anticipate potential network outages by analyzing Ethernet and optical loss of signal (LOS) anomalies, Ciena explains in an announcement today. Once the system has identified the source of the issue, PNO provides guidance on the best course of action to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

Rebecca Prudhomme, VP of Portfolio Marketing for Ciena, says the goal of PNO is to improve operators' ability to manage their existing network infrastructure with less manual intervention. "We want to give service providers end-to-end visibility, predict outages and have an intelligent capability that learns your network and enhances the remediation recommendations over time," she adds.

The new service expands on Network Health Predictor (NHP), an AI platform that runs on Blue Planet analytics, which examines hundreds of thousands of network ports and identifies potential points of failure in service providers' networks. Mina Paik, director/senior advisor of Portfolio Marketing for Ciena, says PNO provides additional diagnostics as well as prescriptive analytics to NHP, so operators can take remedial action in advance of potential network failures.

"We now have a solution that can not only predict port failures, it can prescribe actions so operators can preemptively resolve [those failures]," says Paik. "The net result is a network that doesn't experience outages -- you can avoid it all together and move from a reactive to proactive approach."

PNO currently alerts engineers via the Blue Planet dashboard to take action on potential problems. Currently, most of Ciena's customers prefer to receive an alert and decide how to proceed, but Paik explains that in the future, service providers will be able to implement closed-loop, self-healing capabilities via PNO. PNO is also interoperable on third-party vendors' orchestration systems, in addition to Blue Planet.

Service providers have identified network fault prediction, detection and correction as their top priorities for AI, and over 40% of operators are prioritizing the implementation of that usage within the next 18 months, according to an Ovum report published in March.

As networks become increasingly complex and service providers plan for more complicating factors -- new devices on the network, 5G, increase cloud-based services and more -- operators want to reduce manual operations and increase network automation. PNO can assist operators in managing their existing infrastructure in a more automated fashion, says Prudhomme.

"AI works best when applied to real-world use cases that improve our network operations by eliminating time-consuming manual tasks," says Mirko Voltolini, global head of Network on Demand, Colt Technology Services, in the announcement. "Blue Planet provides the capability to … deliver real business benefits from predictive and eventually prescriptive analytics. This allows us to plan for the future, preparing our network for 5G, IoT, cloud and other emerging technologies." Blue Planet Prevents up to 95% of Network Outages With New Proactive Network Operations Solution.

Ciena's Blue Planet division also developed an interactive opex savings calculator which estimates savings service providers can achieve by deploying PNO. On average, Blue Planet estimates operators can save as much as 38% "in trouble-to-resolve Opex per year." Service providers can estimate annual savings on areas such as truck roll costs, event identifications costs, business impact assessment costs and more.

Ciena didn't share pricing for the PNO service but did say several service providers are using the technology in addition to Colt, and that PNO will be generally available by the end of the year.

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— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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