Transport network management startup Sedona Networks is deployed and in production in Verizon's network, enabling the operator to introduce automated processes, the companies have confirmed.

January 23, 2018

4 Min Read
Verizon Turns to Sedona for Transport SDN Management & Automation Smarts

Verizon has deployed software from transport network management startup Sedona Systems to help it gain visibility into, and manage, its extensive optical and IP transport networks.

It may not come as a surprise to many people in the optical and IP transport sectors, but now the deployment is public: The two companies made the deployment public by sharing a video interview between Glenn Wellbrock, director, optical transport network -- architecture, design and planning, at Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Ori Gerstel, CTO at Sedona Systems (see video below).

The four-year-old Tel Aviv, Israel-based vendor (which also has offices in Cupertino, Calif.) has talked for some time about an engagement with a major Tier 1 operator but has never been able to publicly identify Verizon.

The announcement, and deployment, is a big deal for Verizon, Sedona and the broader industry.

It's a big deal for Verizon because the operator now has a converged transport network management system (for legacy and SDN-enabled optical and IP technologies) that is not only multivendor and multi-layer but also capable of enabling the Verizon team to gain an accurate inventory of transport assets, analyze the entire network as one single entity, and plan and manage resources based around the services and applications running across the network, rather than managing the network around traffic volumes. (See Sedona Adds Analytics to NetFusion.)

Those capabilities are, in turn, enabling Verizon to automate processes and, ultimately, benefit from greater efficiencies. "Automation is the key ... going forward," says Wellbrock in the conversation with Gerstel. "We pushed capex down over the years, [and] we continue to do so of course, but it's opex that is the tough one to do. If we can automate more things, then we can reduce our operating expenses as well as our capital expenses … then we get the added benefit of optimization of that physical resource, because we know where it is," he adds.

Tellingly, Wellbrock adds that having accurate data about a network is critical to being able to introduce automated processes, a point also stressed recently by the CEO of BT's technology, service and operations, Howard Watson, during a recent interview with Light Reading. (See Automation Opportunities a 'Top 5' Topic for BT, Says Tech Chief.)

"What's killed a lot of automation programs in the past is errors. If you don't, you know, if you kick something off, it may sound really great on paper, but if you try and automate it, and it makes mistakes, then obviously the program is shut down, because you just can't afford mistakes in the network."

The news is obviously a massive deal, and critical reference, for Sedona's NetFusion system and looks set to help the company secure its future and attract the attention of more Tier 1 operators seeking to get to grips with their hybrid transport networks, something that has always been important but which will be critical as they introduce SDN-enabled elements, virtual network functions (VNFs) such as virtual routers and plan their networks for a 5G, cloud-centric future.

Sedona obviously isn't the only company with Transport SDN management tools, but it is regarded as having a more complete set of functionality than other vendors, giving it the edge currently in this critical space.

News of the deployment is also important for the industry as, with Verizon as a live production network example, the model of multivendor, multi-layer hybrid transport network management, using what Sedona calls a "network controller," is now no longer just an architectural suggestion in the network diagrams from organizations such as the IETF, ONF and MEF. It also delivers a solution to the challenge of enabling "service-aware" transport networks. (See Amzallag's Four Horsemen of the Telepocalypse.)

Now, of course, the pressure is on Verizon to enable that automation and deliver those efficiencies, while for Sedona it's critical that the US operator's network is seen to run smoothly and deliver enhanced benefits.

News of the deployment comes as Sedona starts to articulate a new strategy: More on that in the coming days on Light Reading.

Check out the video chat between Wellbrock and Gerstel below:

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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