AUSTIN, Texas -- Big Communications Event -- Ciena is unveiling a new software toolkit for its Blue Planet orchestration platform designed to help network operators embrace a DevOps approach to adding new services and features to their virtualized network infrastructure. The new tools can be used by telecom operators' own personnel or in conjunction with third-party developers or vendors.
The Blue Planet DevOps Toolkit is intended to help network operators break their dependence on professional services from vendors or systems integrators and begin taking advantage of their investment in SDN and NFV to reduce costs in adding new features or services, or making changes. It is also targeted for use by vendor partners of Ciena and systems integrators.
This capability has always been available in Blue Planet, notes Joe Cumello, VP of Portfolio Marketing for Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), but it has now been "productized" in a set of software tools that make it easier for network operators to do their own DevOps work. The toolkit is on display at the Big Communications Event in Austin this week as part of the New IP Agency (NIA) live vendor interop demo, after passing all the tests in the most recent NIA interoperability testing round. (See BCE 2016: Live NFV Interop Demo Takes Center Stage.)
The toolkit, which Cumello compares to an SDK, lets operators quickly add resources, whether they are physical or virtual, and then models available resources to allow the rapid creation of service templates that speak to those resources in creating new services on the fly.
Many network operators are moving toward "agile IT" ways of working and embracing DevOps internally. But one of the challenges is in developing the internal skill set needed to make this work, especially with a workforce trained in traditional telecom methodologies that take much longer to develop, test and implement new software. Part of Ciena's goal with this toolkit is to speed up that internal process for service providers ready to embrace this change, he says.
Blue Planet has typically been on the front edge of the orchestration space, first under Cyan and now Ciena. But now other vendors are moving in this direction, as noted earlier this month with the NEC/Netcracker Agile Virtualization Platform and Practice. (See NEC & NetCracker Serve Up Virtualization Buzzword Soup.)
It is a fundamental change for vendors who are used to selling hardware and making money on the software changes for years to come, Cumello says, but that is what SDN and NFV have been promising network operators for some time. Ciena is also stressing the multivendor nature of the Blue Planet approach: It enables network operators to onboard other vendors' equipment and software more quickly, as well as Ciena's.
"That's the whole point," Cumello says. Customers won't have to wait for Ciena to add a new vendor via its engineering roadmap, it can use its internal DevOps processes and the toolkit to do it much faster. "It could be adding a hardware resource, software or a domain. And it doesn't have to be just adding resources, it can be developing their own service templates as well."
Vendor partners such as Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN) are using the toolkit to "onboard" their devices into Blue Planet, and systems integrators can use it as well in their work with network operator customers.
Ciena is launching a community in June that will enable members to upload what they want to the resource library for Blue Planet, so that resources that enable other hardware, software or domains to be connected become more widely available.
"We are trying to be as open as possible, and encourage everyone who creates something to put it into the library so it can be shared," Cumello says.
Some operators, particularly smaller companies, will still look for assistance from their vendors or system integrators, he adds, but that assistance will be easier to provide.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading