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A Collaborative Bridge to Network Automation

May 28, 2020
By Teresa Monteiro
Director of Solutions, Software and Automation

Powering Agile Multi-Vendor Transport Networks

Heading into this year, it was not surprising that network automation made the shortlist for key trends to watch in 2020 for many of the industry’s leading research and analyst firms.

The promise of automation, after all, remains highly compelling as operators adopt disaggregated networking paradigms and scale their networks to support the increased capacity demands and stringent quality of service requirements of end-user applications, including 5G, the Internet of Things, and enterprise cloud computing.Figure 1: Drivers for transport SDN (Source: Omdia, October 2019)

“Automation will move beyond ‘process automation’ to something more central to operators’ business strategies.”
Analysys Mason

For multi-domain, multi-vendor, and multi-layer IP/optical transport networks, however, the implementation of software-based automation tools and technologies remains a highly complex task.

To address it, service providers are gradually shifting from traditional NMS/EMS management to practical software-defined networking (SDN) solutions that make use of open control architectures, leveraging standards-based interworking and open APIs.

In an open ecosystem, the interworking of multi-vendor SDN controllers and orchestrators is critical to realizing the full benefits of a highly programmable transport layer.

This interworking is also at the heart of open networking collaboration between Infinera and its channel partner LightRiver based on an interoperable, hierarchical framework for enhanced multi-domain, multi-layer network, service, and virtual network function (VNF) management and control.


Figure 2: Infinera Transcend Software Suite and LightRiver netFLEX interworking for multi-domain network, service, and VNF management

The combination of the Infinera Transcend Software Suite and LightRiver’s netFLEX® Optical Domain Controller (ODC) paves the way for simplified operations and accelerated service delivery in open, multi-vendor, and multi-domain transport environments.

The Infinera Transcend Software Suite provides multi-layer automation for Layer 0 (WDM), Layer 1 (OTN, SONET/SDH), Layer 2 (Carrier Ethernet), Layer 2.5 (MPLS-TP), and Layer 3 (IP). Benefits of this approach include reduced costs, lower latency, and higher availability.

The Infinera Transcend Software Suite can also span domains, including multiple metro, regional, and long-haul/core segments. Third-party network elements can be supported either directly or via third-party SDN controllers, such as LightRiver’s netFLEX ODC.

The LightRiver netFLEX solution was built, from the beginning, to abstract and normalize optical transport networks across the core functional automation areas of discovered inventory, actionable analytics, and control. The objective of making it all look the same across disparate technologies, suppliers, generations, and even open, disaggregated networks was and is the objective of LightRiver.

Longstanding, highly cooperative working relationships with vendor partners and Tier 1 clients enable LightRiver software to rapidly add and enhance support for new hardware elements and capabilities.Figure 3: LightRiver netFLEX programmable networking

Working together to extend a longstanding relationship, Infinera and LightRiver are leveraging standards-based SDN interworking to help simplify the operation of heterogeneous networks, optimize resource usage, and accelerate service activation across multiple technologies, reinforcing the respective companies’ commitment to open, software-driven networks.