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Making 400ZR+ even better with automation

Optical cables

Most of the world’s data is carried over a combination of IP routing and optical transport, so it’s crucial for this layered network architecture to operate efficiently. Notice that I didn’t simply say “IP network.” Many network operators still see the world as being divided into IP and optical operational silos. However, the recent introduction of 400ZR and 400ZR+ pluggable coherent optics drives a significant transition that requires a much closer coordination between IP and optical network layers. Read this blog post for more on this evolution.

Automate and coordinate

The disaggregation of optical line systems and subsequent integration of the photonic service plane into the router present new challenges and opportunities to network operators. Network designs and operational best practices are ripe for reimagining and reengineering as the network moves into the 400G era and beyond.

The introduction of small-form-factor coherent optics into the router removes the rigid demarcation between the IP routing and optical transport layers. This makes multilayer coordination of operations a necessity.

Fig. 1.

I have spoken with many network operators over the last few years, and all of them have indicated a growing appetite for an automated operational approach that transcends and encompasses the IP and photonic layers. This appetite for automation existed even before the emergence of pluggable coherent optics.

In response to the concerns expressed by these network operators, we identified several use cases that build on the multilayer automation and coordination tools provided by the Nokia Network Services Platform. The application note “Achieving efficient IP-optical network automation: Multilayer coordination with the Nokia NSP” describes our approach. A white paper by Appledore Research assesses and quantifies the economic impacts of some of our tools.

Act with intent!

Fig. 2.

Network operators need coordinated operational activities in each of the important lifecycle phases of a service instance and that of the network infrastructure on which it is founded.

One way to dramatically streamline the management of services is to use an intent-based approach that frees the operator from having to micro-manage the network. Intent-based operations abstract the intricacies of network configurations by giving network operators the ability to express configuration goals and guidelines in simple terms, using a minimal set of high-level parameters. These configuration intents are then automatically applied to the network using appropriate workflows with policy enforcement.

An intent-based approach can greatly simplify the commissioning of new 400ZR and ZR+ optics by validating and translating high-level commands and by triggering automated workflows to establish the desired network state. For example, this approach can be used to:

  • Discover and identify the pluggable optics device
  • Configure coherent optical interface parameters such as power levels, modulation and wavelength for each type of device
  • Monitor key performance indicators such as the pre-forward error correction (FEC) bit error rate (BER)
  • Coordinate mutually applicable IP and optical parameters such as channel selection, wavelength routes, physical diversity and restoration options

Supporting the operational team effort

Our main reason for creating these multilayer tools and use cases is to help operational teams with different roles and responsibilities work more effectively, gain more flexibility and collaborate more easily.

Teams within the operations group may be horizontally or vertically oriented. For example, some teams and individuals could focus on a specific network layer while others, with the right tools and credentials, may navigate to adjacent layers and domains to coordinate tasks across multiple domains. And one team could oversee the installation and commissioning of IP routers, while another team or individual could supervise configuration of pluggable coherent 400GE router optics and coordinate provisioning of the required 400G wavelength within the DWDM transport layer.

Fig. 3.

A multilayer automation platform greatly improves operational efficiency and flexibility and becomes a valuable asset for sustaining quality as operational dynamics and dependencies evolve. The Nokia NSP meets these automation needs by combining network resource control, service enablement, analytics, assurance and workflow orchestration into a comprehensive tool suite that is built on open, multivendor APIs.

Multi-layer use cases and blueprint solutions

400GE coherent router optics are a powerful, new technology that requires new capabilities for orchestrating and automating IP-optical networks. Nokia has joined forces with a select group of leading network operators to validate the NSP for a representative set of IP-optical reference use cases that can act as solution blueprints for real-world deployments. This work will be included in our extensive catalog of multilayer network automation use cases, and will provide a set of proven technology recipes and roadmaps that lead to targeted business outcomes.

Find out more

Read our application note for an in-depth look at how the Nokia NSP manages the automation of 400GE pluggable coherent optical devices.

Visit our web page to learn more about how the Nokia NSP simplifies IP-optical coordination.

Peter Landon

About Peter Landon

Peter Landon is currently a member of Nokia’s NSP Product Management group and is focused on multi-layer SDN solutions. Peter has more than 25 years of experience in system design and Product Management with Nokia and Juniper Networks, and recently chaired the Networking and Operations Group at the OIF.

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