Provisioning New Service Paths in Minutes with SDN

In today’s fast growing, evolving network world, network operators cater to hundreds of customers, each with specific demands.

Consider these varying, often time-sensitive requests:

  • A bank may ask that its traffic have gold priority for latency-sensitive applications
  • A federal agency might want to send traffic and ensure it bypasses certain countries
  • A television network may demand temporary network connectivity to new locations with lowest possible delay and jitter to stream an event to its global audience
  • A customer could request path diversity to avoid a single point of failure for high priority data traversing between its headquarters and the data center on another continent

Yet as the quantity and variety of customer demands continues to grow, many network operators are stuck taking hours or days to implement them. Here’s how SDN is helping.

SDN to the Rescue

Here is the current approach network operators take to implement customer service requests:

  1. The operator must first study its current network topology;
  2. It must evaluate the performance metrics for each link and path between multiple source and destination pairs;
  3. Next it must use a planning tool to compute the new path and ensure that it indeed meets the constraints supplied by the customer; and
  4. It must then make configuration changes on numerous devices along the new path to provision the service for the customer.

This process consumes hours or days of work for network engineers, architects and NOC staff. And in increasingly competitive markets, network operators might lose business when customers are not willing to wait all those hours for their service to be activated. For network operators with hundreds or thousands of customers, both the operating cost and risk of customer churn are high.

But this is where Software Defined Networking comes to the rescue. SDN puts more power in the hands of the network team, allowing them to run more services on existing infrastructure and provision new services quickly by centralizing control plane management. Packet Design’s Explorer SDN Platform enables operators to accelerate both service path computation and activation for increased agility using SDN analytics and automation.

Explorer SDN Path Provisioning

The Packet Design Explorer SDN Platform works with various SDN controllers, including OpenDaylight and service orchestrators, such as Blue Planet, via APIs, to provide network operators with powerful automated service provisioning capabilities based on real-time telemetry and analytics.

The Explorer SDN Path Provisioning application, built on the Explorer SDN Platform, allows a network operator to create a catalogue of transport services that can then be used to meet requests from customers. Pre-defined services can then be simply assigned to subscribers, and modified if necessary to accommodate specific customer constraints. For example, constraints that may be applied using the application’s web-based wizard include the service priority (e.g. gold, silver), whether to use shortest IGP path or TE tunnel, numerous path diversity options, nodes and Shared Risk Link Groups (SRLG) to be included or excluded, and whether to use RSVP-TE tunnels or segment routing.

Service Proivders Quickly create Transport Services

After the operator assigns a transport service from the catalog to a subscriber, the path is created by specifying the source and destination nodes. The Explorer SDN Path Provisioning application then computes the best path based on the constraints specified. This way, the network team does not have to spend hours researching if the possible paths have enough bandwidth or which links have high latency or other path constraints.

Types of Transport Services by Service Providers

Subscribers for a Transport Service

After a new path has been calculated and presented, the network operator has the opportunity to review and approve the path recommendation.  If sanctioned, the path is configured in the network with a single click of the application’s ‘Provision’ button. This instructs the application to pass the configuration data to the SDN controller or other third party service orchestrator for provisioning in the network. For operators who are ready to fully automate the process, this approval step can be eliminated.

Diverse Path for Service Provider Subscriber

These capabilities enable network operators to accelerate time to revenue for new services and deliver a higher level of customer service.

If you wish to learn more about our SDN Platform and applications, please request a personalized demo.

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