New network service platform adds agility to cloud computing

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New network service platform adds agility to cloud computing

Guest blog: Paul Parker-Johnson, leader of cloud and virtual system infrastructures practice at ACG Research

Alcatel-Lucent has developed its Network Services Platform (NSP) as a unified solution for creating agility in delivering network services. NSP brings efficiency and flexibility to the front-end problems of new service creation and the immediately downstream problems of operating those services efficiently and intelligently in a multilayer, multidomain, multivendor network. It does so in a unified and holistically designed solution.

Remarkable gains have been made in the cloud computing community to create and deploy new services efficiently and at scale. It’s also true that a significant impediment to service delivery is the rigidity of networks we deploy and processes used to define and instantiate services being offered.

A great deal of energy has been expended in recent years to enhance the flexibility of networks. Solutions have begun to appear that address parts of the problem, but to date they have been constrained to a particular function or domain and haven’t actually solved the whole agile service delivery problem for networks.

Until the Alcatel-Lucent NSP.

NSP breaks the OSS/BSS logjam in network service creation with the use of open RESTful APIs northbound for OSS and BSS integration and with use of important data modeling standards and templates for network and service representation. Using these abstractions allows services and networks to be represented once to multiple OSS and BSS applications, eliminating the need to define the same service multiple times to different modules so they can talk to a range of vendors’ platforms.

NSP enhances this streamlining by enabling service policies and tenant contexts to be associated with the newly defined services and applied broadly across the target network infrastructure.

As we discovered in the analysis of developing a new bandwidth calendaring service offering in a representative operator case, NSP brings improvements over 50 percent compared to present modes of operation in both calendar time required to define the new service offering and the number of resources needed to define the service in the OSS and BSS contexts.

As the service templates travel southbound they are converted by a versatile mediation engine into the semantics and formats needed to work with each IP/MPLS and optical network platform being managed. This auto-conversion dramatically simplifies and streamlines the provisioning process for the service offerings across network layers, vendors and domains.

Communication southbound with NSP is enabled by support of multiple standard protocols important in the multivendor environment it’s designed for: BGP-LS, PCEP, NETCONF, and SNMP today, with OpenFlow on the horizon for cases where it’s used. Special cases for vendor CLI support are also included to continue the simplification.

On top of protocol versatility, Alcatel-Lucent has integrated functionality derived from 1,000s of operator deployments in both optical and IP/MPLS layers to enhance NSP’s value. For example, three distinct path computation engines are available in NSP for use as the operator requires. A packet-oriented PCE (PCE-P) for use with IP/MPLS paths, an optically-oriented PCE (PCE-T) for use with optical paths, and a multilayer PCE (PCE-X) for use in multilayer path optimization are included. PCEs are used to define paths in line with service policies at provisioning time, and as operations progress KPIs are monitored in real time to determine if adjustments of any sort are called for.

Going further, Alcatel-Lucent has incorporated unique and innovative algorithms for resource optimization such as its self-tuned adaptive routing for LSPs that helps the network adapt allocations in real time according to policies and service delivery needs, producing further efficiencies and revenue-generating capacity.

From this profile we can see Alcatel-Lucent is applying its vision and expertise to deliver a solution that supplies the missing link with NSP in solving the wide area network agility problem. Its combination of functions has all the attributes for turning WANs into agile service delivery platforms. It’s a platform that can help turn aspirations into achievements in new service deliveries. It should be a major contributor to many operators improving their networks to become as agile as the cloud.

Paul's work explores transformations under way in SDN, NFV, cloud computing and service orchestration in service provider environments. Use cases from data center to core, metro, access and customer premises are engaged. New architectural developments and implications for vendor and operator designs are analyzed. Syndicated research analyzes market developments, forecasts market sizes, and evaluates market shares of participating vendors in key product categories. Custom research and analysis helps clients evaluate plans related to these transformations, and implement their offerings in the market. Prior to joining ACG Mr. Parker-Johnson led Juniper Networks’ cloud computing solution business enabling end-to-end cloud offerings for service providers and enterprises of multiple sizes and scale.

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