Recently our CTO Ori Gerstel sat down with Glenn Wellbrock, Verizon’s director of optical transport planning, to discuss the practical challenges of introducing accurate discovery and automation into a Tier-1 service provider network, and the significant value in delivering services and saving network costs that can be achieved through such automation. As a backdrop to the discussion, Verizon deployed Sedona’s NetFusion Intelligence and Automation Solution earlier in 2017, specifically to address some of these challenges.
The discussion starts with Glenn giving an update on how Verizon’s implementation of NetFusion is live and has been deployed across the entire core network. NetFusion has helped Verizon develop a complete understanding of the relationships and dependencies between the IP and optical network layers, forming a much-needed base of accurate network data for analytics and automation.
Ori comments, “What we’re seeing, now that we’ve discovered the entire network, is that we can implement all kinds of analytics on top of that network, to find out issues, anomalies, things that are not necessarily easy to find in a manual fashion.”
Glenn agrees, noting that if the network data isn’t accurate then all the associated back office systems don’t work. The alarm correlation engine can’t do its job, and provisioning systems experience order fallout because the network isn’t connected as expected. Maintenance is even worse.
The discussion quickly moves to network automation, with Glenn noting the role of automation in reducing cost. For years, carriers have pushed down equipment costs, but operating costs have been harder to reduce. But with automation, much of the operating cost can be streamlined as well.
That said, a primary requirement for successful automation is to have an accurate understanding of the network. “Imagine if you got your data wrong, you’re starting to automate something, and lo and behold you’re going to take something down that you didn’t intend to take down,” comments Ori.
Glenn agrees, noting that, “What’s killed a lot of automation programs in the past is errors. 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.”
Glenn discusses how Verizon has made its optical transport network architecture much more dynamic through the addition of CDC ROADMs with mesh network capabilities at each node. In the past, there was just a transponder or muxponder between the client and the fiber, now it’s an entire network fabric. While that means more service opportunities, it also adds complexity to the network topology.
Ori remarked that the Sedona team “loves those opportunities” because one of the core benefits that NetFusion brings to the network is the ability to simplify and understand the topology, traffic, and services. Because of high levels of complexity, the modern network cannot be managed manually. Added to this complexity are constant network changes and the addition of new networks through acquisition. “What happens in a network that is always changing is that the network itself becomes the database of record,” comments Glenn, and it’s up to NetFusion to understand and represent the network accurately.
The video covers many practical topics and use cases for network intelligence and automation. The following table of contents shows where to locate discussion on specific topics. Note: If you’re using Safari or a mobile web browser the video links will not autoplay – simply press the play button and the video will start at the correct time.
|Start Time||Video Link||Topics|
|00.12||Click Here||· NetFusion Deployment in Verizon’s core|
|04.10||Click Here||· The need for network discovery as a foundation for successful automation
· The value of automation
|04.47||Click Here||· Diversity assurance / management
· Service to fiber visibility
· Flexible optical layer
|07.52||Click Here||· Use of flexible optical layer for optimization
· Need for multilayer coordination for optimization
|10.12||Click Here||· Many operators still use spreadsheets
· NetFusion is needed for optical layer
· Merging networks (acquisitions)
|11.37||Click Here||· Service migration|
|13.46||Click Here||· Big data analytics
· Python agility
|15.48||Click Here||· Transitioning from Legacy to SDN networks|
|17.30||Click Here||· Understanding static networks
· Read only analysis as first step
|19.31||Click Here||· Network restoration
· Disaster recovery
|21.05||Click Here||· Service Awareness and its value|