Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Alcatel-Lucent's Network Services Platform Unifies IP and Optical

Alcatel-Lucent unveiled its SDN-based Network Services Platform (NSP) for unifying control across service provider IP/MPLS and optical networks.

The Alcatel-Lucent Network Services Platform is a unified software solution that enables operators to define and deliver on-demand network services across multiple network layers. It combines network-aware service automation and service-aware network optimization by leveraging a unified real-time network view across the IP and optical infrastructure.

The platform operates across Alcatel-Lucent’s 7750 Service Router family, 1830 Photonic Service Switch and 5620 Service Aware Manager.  Using standard NETCONF and YANG protocols, the NSP can provision IP, Ethernet and optical  services over multi-vendor equipment as well, and in hardware-based, virtualized or hybrid networks. The system maintains visibility of the state of the network across all layers at all times, allowing automatic multi-layer service provisioning, to use the best available network resources as well as real-time network optimization. Algorithms developed at Bell Labs create and optimize L0-3 paths given current network conditions and operator-defined policies.

Alcatel-Lucent said its Network Services Platform allows new services to be defined and provisioned more than 58% faster and with at least 56% fewer resources than has been possible before. Once defined, the new services can be provisioned instantaneously across multiple layers, domains, and networking vendor platforms.  In addition, Bell Labs research shows that operators are also able to support 24% more revenue-generating traffic by using sophisticated algorithms to intelligently distribute new connections across their network.

Alcatel-Lucent cited several use cases for its NSP: (1) Bandwidth-on-demand and bandwidth calendaring for large back-up jobs and data center synchronization applications (2) Network Slicing, where carrier infrastructure is shared by wholesale, enterprise and IT partner clouds, and (3) Value-added services, such as IT functions. Another benefit of the NSP is automated network optimization, which not only unlocks stranded bandwidth but also enables greater service resilience by allowing for path selection along physically separate routes.

“In order for SDN to mean we can really improve our customer experience and impact our network economics, we need approaches that consider the real-time state of the network and relate it to the requirements of the service we provide. Doing so allows us to assure performance, and optimise resource usage across all our network layers. Tightly coupling service requirements and performance with network control, as in ALU’s NSP, promises to deliver real-world benefits of centralised optimisation whilst exploiting the strength of our existing distributed network,” stated Rob Shakir, BT End-to-End Network Architect.

Multiple trials are underway and the NSP will be commercially available in June 2015.