ADVA Optical Networking has launched the Ensemble SmartWAN platform, a tool to enable service providers to deliver managed virtualized software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) and other virtual network functions (VNFs). The platform will leverage existing elements of ADVA's Ensemble software suite.
Prayson Pate, CTO ADVA's Ensemble Division (the result of ADVA's acquisition of Overture Networks), emphasizes that Ensemble SmartWAN isn't an SD-WAN offering, but a platform to streamline and automate the delivery, provisioning, and turn up of such services. To this end, ADVA has partnered with SD-WAN software vendors as Silver Peak and Versa Networks, whose offerings the Ensemble SmartWAN can help enable. The platform also will streamline the delivery of other virtual services, which means that operators don't have to maintain an independent SD-WAN service delivery mechanism, but can delivery multiple VNFs through the same platform.
Part of this delivery streamlining includes making the use of OpenStack more efficient in carrier SDN environments, Pate says. This involves the use of a technique ADVA terms "embedded cloud," which sees the OpenStack controller placed on each compute node. Embedded cloud obviates previous problems with security, scalability, and upgrade support, Pate says.
Ensemble SmartWAN involves upgrades to several parts of the Ensemble suite that will enable new features in each:
- Ensemble Connector: zero-touch commissioning, embedded cloud, Layer 3 networking
- Ensemble Orchestrator: auto-discovery of appliances, activation after authentication of VNF service chains, and orchestration of the SD-WAN VNF and embedded cloud
- Ensemble Controller: authentication service, discovery API for Ensemble Orchestrator, northbound NETCONF APIs for external orchestrators and controllers
- Ensemble Director: Via a release slated for next year, the Ensemble Director will provide the FCAPs and the user interface for all overlay functions managed by Ensemble Controller.
Ensemble SmartWAN will support both overlay and underlay networking by interfacing directly with MPLS virtual private networks (VPNs); it can provide the MPLS peering and tunnels of the customer edge router, which could eliminate the need for the router altogether.
Overall, Pate says, the new platform will change SD-WAN from a monolithic, enterprise-managed offering to a managed service that can be integrated with other service provider offerings. Use of the platform will make the deployment of white box services easier and more secure, he adds.
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