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Ciena Toolkit Applies DevOps To Control SDN/NFV Networks

Ciena Corp. aims to give operators more control of their software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) systems with a new toolkit that applies DevOps techniques to simplify the process of adding new technologies and services.

The goal is to "turn over the keys" to network operators for network management, instead of having to rely on expensive professional services to provide expertise to unlock monolithic, proprietary, hard-coded, back-office software platforms when changes are needed.

To that end, Ciena introduced the Blue Planet DevOps Toolkit, which will become available next month. By applying DevOps techniques, Ciena said network operators can more quickly introduce new on-demand, virtualized services or modify existing services or add new resources -- both physical and virtualized -- to SDN- and NFV-enabled Blue Planet networks.

"For example, with the Blue Planet DevOps Toolkit, network operators can utilize their own product development, IT and network operations teams to collaborate in the creation and on-boarding of new virtual network functions (VNFs) such as virtual firewalls, physical network domains such as Layer 2 metro networks, and virtual domains such as a third-party cloud, and ultimately deploy these resources as components of new service offerings," Ciena said in a statement this week.

Blue Planet DevOps Toolkit Workflow
[Click on image for larger view.] Blue Planet DevOps Toolkit Workflow (source: Ciena).

In addition to speeding up the deployment of new services and resources, upgrading networks is less expensive because in-house personnel can be used instead of outside service professionals, Ciena said. Other features and benefits of the new offering listed by Ciena include:

  • It helps network operators successfully migrate away from static, individualized processes to more collaborative DevOps tools and techniques to optimize revenue, cost savings and customer satisfaction.
  • It enables operators to quickly adapt network services to changes in market demands, so they can improve service quality, and address diverse and ever-changing customer requirements.
  • It transforms current operations by bringing multiple corporate functions together to collaborate quickly and easily on the delivery of new services with more targeted functionality.

DevOps, according to Wikipedia, "emphasizes the collaboration and communication of both software developers and other information-technology (IT) professionals while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes. It aims at establishing a culture and environment where building, testing, and releasing software, can happen rapidly, frequently, and more reliably."

Ciena said the DevOps approach helps its new offering reduce operational costs, reduce network complexity and achieve new levels of service programmability.

"With a DevOps approach, network operators gain greater control and self-sufficiency in service creation and delivery to meet today's business challenges," Ciena said. "Propelled by the ongoing transformation to SDN and NFV, DevOps enables better collaboration among product development, IT and network operations teams to improve operational efficiency, accelerate innovation, and accelerate 'concept-to-revenue' for new services."

The toolkit combines a set of software development tools with community resources to help operators integrate various network resources with the company's Blue Planet Network and Service Orchestration software.

Community support comes with the Blue Planet Developer Community portal, which seeks to provide collaboration between Blue Planet customers and ecosystem partners such as is seen in the open source movement. It also features documentation, training tools and libraries of resource adapters and service templates.

"In addition to facilitating open collaboration, the Blue Planet Developer Community provides information on downloading, getting started and using the DevOps Toolkit," the company's DevOps programmability site says. "Blue Planet is currently the only SDN/NFV software platform supplier offering this type of open development forum to help network operators take control of their destinies, along with the network orchestration processes required to deliver new apps and services."

In use by "a number of leading global network operators" already, Ciena said the toolkit will be generally available next month.

"Network providers are increasingly competing as digital service providers, not simply communications service providers, in the wider digital economy," the company quoted Analysys Mason analyst Dana Cooperson as saying. "As a result, they strive to improve network operations and service creation and launch by shifting to a more nimble DevOps approach. Developer communities and tools like Ciena's Blue Planet DevOps Toolkit give network providers more control over software build/buy decisions; limit custom development requirements; and facilitate faster deployments by streamlining internal and third-party collaboration."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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