Virtualization Technology News and Information
Focus: Laying the foundation for 5G with automation

By Kevin Wade, Senior Director and Product Marketing Team Leader, Blue Planet

From smart factories and farms, to augmented reality (AR)-enhanced retail experiences and advanced healthcare, these use-cases cannot be supported without network transformation. 5G is welcomed as arguably the biggest enabler of this digital shift.

The excitement around its use cases however will need to be matched by an equally conscientious and systemic review of how networks are built and managed - particularly given they're made up of a growing number of disaggregated physical and virtual resources.

For Communications Service Providers (CSPs), turning their 5G vision into reality is dependent on fast and profitable service delivery levering intelligent automation. How should they go about doing it?

1.  You can't automate what you can't see - it all starts with the inventory

The journey to 5G and modernization of Operations Support Systems (OSS) go hand in hand, and for a growing number of our service provider customers, it begins by gaining complete visibility into their network and services inventory. In fact, CSPs that don't have end-to-end visibility of their dynamic resources and services are going to have a hard time delivering on their 5G visions.

The trouble is, existing OSS are often hindered by multiple fragmented, legacy systems, and related manual processes that rely on inaccurate data. They make it difficult to keep a current inventory of your network resources and services - much less allow the ability to implement automated operations and software-driven processes.

A unified, dynamic inventory provides the foundation for always-on, digital services and a growing number of operators are beginning to take advantage of the ability to federate information from multiple inventory systems and other related OSS systems. The result is a real-time visualization of both the physical network assets and the logical customer services, to simply the automation of both IT and network operations.

2.  End-to-end orchestration for the zero-touch experience

Once you have a view of your physical and virtual resources distributed across multiple domains, you should be able to compose them to quickly to deliver the dynamic services end-users expect. Customers increasingly want zero-touch provisioning of their services - the ‘hyperscaler experience'. Therefore, model-driven service orchestration is important to coordinate required configuration and activation processes - to deliver flexible and policy-based services that deliver an on-demand experience for 5G end-users.

Model-driven service orchestration allows CSPs to move beyond manual operations that were developed to deliver pre-defined, static services, and adopt automated cloud-native solutions that are open and standards-based.

3.  AI and analytics as your second pair of eyes

The sheer scale of traffic carried on 5G networks, and the disparate SLA and Quality of Service (QoS) agreements CSPs will have agreed to, mean manual monitoring and troubleshooting just isn't possible.

Assurance needs to be handed over to AI models that combine routing, traffic and performance analytics for real-time operational monitoring, helping network managers identify and troubleshoot issues that could result in major outages before they occur.

For instance, Colt's IQ Network is able to proactively anticipate - and even act upon - potential network issues thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities and advanced analytics. These technologies provide visibility and control of Colt's multi-layer network to correct service delivery issues and accelerate time to market for new services.

4.  It will take an ecosystem approach to realize 5G

To deliver a next-generation digital experience to customers, a whole ecosystem of partners needs to come together. CSPs with their fundamental network infrastructure assets will work in tandem with cloud players, software companies that provide the service agility, and system integrators who ensure everything works together.  

Continual service innovation - ramping up for success

The momentum to realize the digital experiences that 5G will enable is palpable, and the competitive landscape for CSPs is evolving yet again. But digital transformation is an imperative. By automating the service life cycle, CSPs not only drive efficiency but build a foundation for continual service innovation.



Kevin Wade, Senior Director and Product Marketing Team Leader, Blue Planet


Kevin Wade is Senior Director of Product Marketing at Blue Planet, a division of Ciena. In this role, Kevin is responsible for leading the Blue Planet portfolio marketing team, as well as for driving the creation of programs to drive market awareness and market share for Ciena's Blue Planet software suite.

Kevin has more than 20 years of experience with successful start-ups and public companies in the networking industry, targeting both the service provider and enterprise markets.  Kevin joined Ciena through the Cyan acquisition, where he was responsible for the company's product marketing and field marketing activities.

Before joining Cyan in 2012, Kevin was Sr. Director of Product Marketing with Force10/Turin (now Dell Force10) and also held product marketing positions with Ascend (now Alcatel-Lucent) and Cabletron (now Extreme Networks). 

An accomplished technology marketer, Kevin has presented at leading industry conferences including Supercomm, Comptel, and Cable-Tech Expo, and has published articles in trade magazines such as Data Center Knowledge and Lightwave. Kevin earned his Bachelor's degree in Finance from Northern Arizona University in 1993.

Published Friday, March 31, 2023 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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