02 May 2018
| Sponsored content
The networking industry is being disrupted. There is an
explosion in network demand, driven by ultra-mobile users who
want the ability to access the cloud and consume
high-definition content, video, and applications when and where
they choose. This network disruption will only continue in the
future with the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) and
5G—both of which require billions of devices to
interact with machines, users, and the cloud to drive consumer
and business interactions.
As a result, network providers must prepare for an industry
transformation that will create new opportunities. We sat down
with Ciena’s Rebecca Prudhomme, VP of Portfolio
Marketing, to address what network providers need to do to
seize these opportunities.
What makes this disruption so different, and why do
network providers need to really pay attention?
Great question. Network providers are dealing with a set of
very challenging market dynamics. Everyone wants more from
their network providers, but they aren’t
necessarily willing to pay more. This is driving the need for
providers to continually lower their cost structures, reduce
their operating expenses, accelerate time to revenue, and
launch and retire new services at unprecedented speeds. In
short, providers need their networks to help them achieve
better business outcomes in a new world of over-the-top
competition and demanding, connected users.
But the reality is that many providers are struggling with
networks that depend on legacy systems and protocols, leaving
them unable to rapidly scale and respond to changes in demand.
Manual processes are often still required to set up, revise,
and tear down even the simplest services. Today’s
networks aren’t designed to adjust to these
growing and unpredictable demands. They need to figure out an
effective way to adapt.
How does a network provider address these
To address these challenges, network providers have been
looking at new technologies to create better cost structures
and add agility to their businesses. Over the last few years,
serious exploration and trials have helped us understand
what’s needed to evolve networks. Among them are
trials around open software, systems and platforms, the use of
APIs, multi-vendor management, analytics, and
From this exploration, there’s universal
agreement that whichever technologies are at play, the industry
needs a more responsive, automated, and agile self-optimizing
network. Some believe an autonomous network is the answer.
Ciena has a different vision—one that takes the
importance of automation into account, but looks beyond
automation to ensure networks can adapt to change, guided by
human intent and insight, and not just be automated in reaction
to change. We refer to this new end-state in networking
evolution as the Adaptive Network.
Could you explain the difference between autonomous
An autonomous network implies that automation is all you
need to optimize the management and operations of the network.
We don’t believe this is practical. Although
increased automation is definitely key to network
transformation, and will drive significant benefits to the
provider, more is needed. Providers need data-driven analytics
and insights that provide real-time visibility into their
networks to identify the changes required to optimize network
performance. They then need to manage the automation of
these changes in the network, guided by policy and
orchestration, across multiple network layers and multi-vendor
domains. An adaptive network embraces this more holistic
approach—it leverages automation and a programmable
infrastructure, guided by analytics and intent-base
What is the Adaptive Network vision?
The Adaptive Network is Ciena’s network vision
that describes what we believe is a new target end-state for
network providers. The Adaptive Network utilises automation guided
by intent-based policies to self-monitor, self-configure,
self-heal, and self-optimize by constantly assessing network
status. The concept of the Adaptive Network is built on three
foundational elements that, when combined, offer a unique
1. Software control and
automation – Multi-Domain Service
Orchestration (MDSO) and centralized, software-defined control
of individual domains are key to adaptive networking. Through
the implementation of SDN, NFV, and open APIs, network
providers can simplify the end-to-end management and automation
of network services across multi-vendor, hybrid
2. Analytics and intelligence
– Collecting network performance data and analyzing it
using machine learning provides the ability to more accurately
predict potential network problems and anticipate trends by
turning mountains of data into actionable insights. Leveraging
these insights to help network providers develop smarter,
data-driven business policies enables them to adapt to customer
needs securely, in real time.
3. Programmable infrastructure
– This is a packet and optical infrastructure designed
to securely manage a dynamic pool for virtual and physical
resources that can be accessed and configured via common, open
interfaces. It’s highly instrumented, with the
ability to export real-time network performance data, scaling
as needed to meet the demands of the applications running on
top of it.
How is Ciena’s Adaptive Network vision
different from others?
Most vendors suggest a 'silver bullet’ approach
to network evolution based on the concepts of a fully
autonomous network. Our vision of the Adaptive Network is more
holistic and flexible. We believe that it’s only
with the combination of automation, intelligence,
infrastructure programmability, and the right expertise that
providers can unlock the full potential of their networks.
Are there any real-world case studies that
demonstrate how Ciena is helping network providers evolve
toward the Adaptive Network?
Ciena is helping many of our customers embark on their
journeys toward the Adaptive Network. Here are two public
• Telstra – To realize its long-haul, metro,
and regional optical network upgrade (part of its Networks for
the Future program), Telstra is working with its long-term
partner, Ericsson, and using Ciena’s packet-optical
solutions. As part of this project, Telstra has deployed
Ciena’s Wavelogic Ai coherent modem, making
Telstra the industry’s first provider to deploy a
fully programmable 400G coherent modem.
• WaveLogic Ai—managed and controlled by Ciena’s Blue Planet Manage,
Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller and Liquid Spectrum™
applications—provides tunable capacity up to 400 Gb/s
to deliver maximum network performance at minimum cost. It
offers up to three times data capacity and enables up to 60
percent reduction in power per bit, but also introduces the
opportunity for more flexibility and dynamic software-based
control of Telstra’s optical transport network.
This technology gives Telstra the ability to adjust bandwidth
in the network in real time, allowing them to optimize capacity
and fiber investment to meet customer demands and evolve toward
the Adaptive Network.
• Windstream – A key path for Windstream in
its evolution to a more adaptive network is to introduce
greater automation to support the service lifecycle across its
multi-vendor, multi-domain network, and associated Operational
Support Systems (OSS).
This initiative is being built around Ciena’s Blue Planet Intelligent
Automation Platform. Blue Planet MDSO is a key component of
the Blue Planet Intelligent Automation Platform, a cohesive
system that includes Software-Defined Networking (SDN)-based
domain control and an integrated analytics framework. MDSO
provides centralized, unified control to simplify end-to-end
service automation, reduce costs, and accelerate service
Blue Planet has allowed Windstream to modernize their
network operations and radically improve the efficiency of
their service delivery. Further, Blue Planet’s
agile development approach facilitates collaboration between
Windstream’s network and IT teams. Now they can
innovate new services more rapidly.
For more details on this case study, please refer to the Analysys Mason Case Study, Windstream:
Intelligent Multi-Layer/Multi-Domain Network Automation with
Why does Ciena have the right to claim you can
deliver on something like this?
Innovation is in our DNA. We’ve spent the past
25 years bringing cutting edge innovations and best-in-class
technologies to more than 1,300 customers
worldwide—our solutions are the most open and scalable
in the market today. As a trusted advisor to our customers,
we’ve developed an understanding of their needs
that’s unmatched in the industry;
we’ve harnessed this knowledge to form our
Adaptive Network vision, and we’re committed to
guiding our customers in their network evolutions.
How does Ciena’s current portfolio
support the Adaptive Network story?
Ciena’s Adaptive Network vision has been more
than five years in the making. It started with our OPn®
Architecture and the introduction of WaveLogic 3 programmable coherent optics
in 2012. In 2014, we introduced the WaveLogic Photonics reconfigurable photonic
layer, and in 2016 we introduced WaveLogic Ai. This was followed by a
series of key launches in 2017, including MCP, Blue Planet Analytics, Waveserver Ai, and Liquid Spectrum. In 2018, we introduced our
Blue Planet Solution Practices and Intelligent Automation platform. This
demonstrates a proven commitment to helping our customers
achieve greater automation, intelligence, and programmability
in their networks. Going forward, we’ll continue
to invest in and evolve our portfolio to deliver on the promise
of the Adaptive Network. This will include the next generation
of WaveLogic technology, new Liquid Spectrum apps, analytics,
security, data-driven policy, multi-vendor services, and much
Why is openness so critical to Ciena’s
Adaptive Network vision?
Openness gives providers choice in the technologies they can
deploy to enable their network evolution. Providers that
embrace openness will be able to select the technology
solutions that best meet their needs in terms of operational
fit, performance, power consumption, and telemetry. This will
result in dramatically lower costs, increased agility, simpler
scalability, and a network architecture that is highly
flexible. That flexibility allows the network to take advantage
of future innovations that may not be apparent today.
Ciena’s vision of the Adaptive Network is
underpinned by our OPn philosophy. We offer customers the
greatest degree of choice in how they evolve and execute their
network strategies. With design principles such as modularity
and open APIs, we can support the broadest range of openness
and consumption models in the market. For example,
we’ve delivered open interfaces that make
packet-optical WANs more programmable and interoperable,
including open APIs and open line system capabilities. We offer
open tools and environments like our Emulation Cloud™ and Blue Planet DevOps Toolkit. These enable
our customers to easily add, design, and model new services
while simplifying operations. And we facilitate and participate
in an open ecosystem that enables both large and small vendors
to mix and match best-of-breed technology for any desired
What is the role of security in the Adaptive
Network, and how does Ciena address this
Security is paramount in the Adaptive Network to ensure the
efficiency and flexibility it provides can be utilized without
fear of adversaries abusing those same capabilities. Network
providers must consider the following security requirements as
they evolve their networks to become more adaptive:
• Identify and secure the exponential growth in data
traffic over the network
• Ensure automated changes are authorized and
implemented as intended, so these changes increase, not
decrease, availability and performance of the network
• Enhance authentication processes so only authorized
users have access to the control and management functions of
Ciena can help providers mitigate data security risks in the
Adaptive Network through a set of capabilities designed to
ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of
We provide a highly secure, programmable infrastructure that
ensures continuous protection of all in-flight data from
unauthorized entities. This infrastructure combines always-on,
high-capacity, wire-speed optical encryption with user
authentication and intrusion detection forensics. In addition,
Blue Planet MDSO supports fast, seamless
deployment of multi-vendor security Virtual Network Functions
(VNFs). This enables providers to distribute and manage virtual
security network appliances (such as firewalls, IDS,
encryptors, and proxy services) as needed, ensuring consistent
security levels across the network. Blue Planet also provides
sophisticated tools for managing network performance,
orchestrating data flows, and analyzing network trends. These
tools can be used to help network providers identify and react
to potential cybersecurity attacks faster, minimizing the
impact of a security breach.
These security capabilities are underpinned by
Ciena’s commitment to securing our own business.
We protect our own information assets and those of our
partners, and we have confidence in the security processes and
controls that go into every design, deployment, and operation
of a Ciena-enabled network.
In closing, how can the Adaptive Network help unlock
opportunities for network providers?
We opened this discussion by talking about ultra-mobile
users and how they’re driving a demand explosion
of unprecedented complexity. That’s putting
pressure on network providers. By evolving to the Adaptive
Network and harnessing the power of a programmable
infrastructure and automation guided by intent-based policies
and analytics, they can capitalize on an enormous opportunity.
If providers begin evolving their networks now, they can be
prepared for the next big disruption. That means getting a jump
on competitors, adapting to meet rapidly accelerating demand,
and remaining a trusted provider in the midst of significant
Click here to learn more about the Adaptive
Ciena corporate biography
Vice President, Portfolio Marketing,
Rebecca Prudhomme is Vice President of Portfolio Marketing,
where she drives Ciena’s solution and vertical
marketing strategies, as well as oversees Ciena’s
market and competitive intelligence team. Rebecca works closely
with Ciena’s sales organization and customers to
drive Ciena’s business growth.
With over 18 years of software experience, she brings a
wealth of service provider industry expertise to Ciena. Most
notably, she has held senior roles within Amdocs, including
Vice President of Sales for Amdocs' North American Division.
Prior to that role, Rebecca was Vice President of Product and
Solutions Marketing, where she cultivated the go-to-market
strategies across Amdocs’s portfolio.
Rebecca holds an MBA and BA in Economics from McMaster
University in Hamilton, Ontario.