How to boost the efficiency of your operations with automation across IP and Optical layers
The Covid pandemic has caused many transitions in the way telecom networks are consumed and operated and especially in the way they are valued more than ever as essential underpinnings in our personal and professional lives.
A group of eminent networking professionals got together recently to discuss their experiences and insights on the theme of operating networks during the pandemic. The group included: Kurt de Lange, Director of Infrastructure Deployment and Field Operations at Proximus, Basel El-Abed, Director of Transport Network Planning and IP Core at du and Rafael De Fermin, Senior VP, IP/Optics, EMEA, Nokia. The session was moderated by Guy Daniels, Director of Content, TelecomTV.
The conversation covered a number of topics including the value of, and future priorities for, network automation of operations. Kurt de Lange offered this insight: “We need to assess how we can better integrate the optical and IP networks in order to use all the resources we have in the network more efficiently”. The emphasis in the quote is mine, I believe that this is a crucial point. Resources such as bandwidth need to be efficiently used with appropriate traffic engineering and smart protection schemes with limited redundant capacity. And the highly valuable resource that is the operations staff must be deployed on high value activities rather than carrying out mechanical, repetitive tasks ‘by hand’. In this way, staff can spend more time on design, planning and the evaluation of strategies to maintain and improve network performance as the service mix becomes simultaneously increasingly complex and more important.
Silo-busting tools needed please
One of the most fruitful opportunities to boost staff resource efficiency is in allowing inter-team activities to be automated, accelerated and simplified. Operational expertise in many networks is often separated or “siloed” into the IP layer and the optical layer. There are some good reasons for this specialization, especially in larger organizations, however, the coordination gap can lead to slow operational processes, cost duplication and impaired services to end users. Bridging the gap as much as possible with tools to enable efficient, seamless multilayer, cross-domain operations can be massive boost to efficiency.
Efficient network operations tools that cross IP/optical boundaries, and also horizontal domains (e.g. in multi-vendor environments), are crucial assets when planning automation evolution. There are a number of high value use cases that can be deployed immediately using the Nokia Network Services Platform (NSP).
Some useful use cases
The principal use cases can be broadly grouped into three categories: discovery, correlation and optimization.
Discovery, as the name implies, is the business of accurately inventorying the discovered network topology and cross-layer interconnections. In addition, discovering the true physical diversity of apparently disparate paths is extremely useful in assuring resiliency of backup strategies. Being able to rapidly visualize and navigate between multiple layers is a true silo-buster and bridge-builder between teams for increased overall efficiency.
Correlation across layers allows root causes to be identified and the impacts of maintenance operations to be minimized.
Optimization overall is a large topic and the Nokia NSP provides many tools in this area. In this context optimizing port redundancy and automated cross-domain connection management are particularly useful capabilities.
Whether in a pandemic or whatever the next ‘new normal’ will be, using resources efficiently is always a good discipline. Take a look at this blog: “Better coordination of operations across IP and Optical layers with SDN” for a little more discussion on the use cases and also a link to a quantitative analysis of the usefulness of cross-layer coordination by Appledore networks.
To learn more about IP/Optical coordination with the Nokia Network Services Platform visit our web page.