Ciena unveils e-commerce style NFV service delivery platform

Network infrastructure vendor Ciena has announced a new NFV software solution aimed at simplifying the network management interface. The solution, called Agility Matrix, is a virtual services software platform which Ciena claims will modernise the acquisition, distribution, consumption and payment of virtualized network functions (VNF).

One of the primary areas of the Agility Matrix Ciena seemed keen to emphasise during a conference call is the focus on linking managed services with virtualization, allowing service providers to boost user service delivery and profitability.

In the spirit of openness which has become synonymous with the NFV movement, Agility Matrix comes with the “VNF Market”, an online marketplace hosting a variety of third-party VNFs. Using an e-commerce style interface, enterprise customers can drag and drop functions or services into their cart for use. Virtual functions like VPN, encryption or firewall can be spun up and delivered as a managed service. “Director” is a feature of the Agility Matrix, designed for the management and orchestration of said VNFs.

Ray Mota, Managing Partner and Founder of analyst group 451 Research, believes the need for revenue assurance and generation remains the core motivation for service providers looking to transform network architectures and service delivery mechanisms.

“Carriers are being challenged with lower profit margins and operational complexity in their managed services business, which is forcing them to either sell off the business, shut it down or re-architect the network in order to be more agile and simplified,” he said.

“Fortunately, their needs for simplification and agility are being met with technologies such as virtual CPE. The value of virtualized managed residential and/or business services is not only good for carriers but of tremendous value to the end user because of the enhanced customer experience. Every carrier that is offering managed service today will have to implement some type of virtualized managed technology to increase profit margin and remain competitive.”

Ciena also announced the launch of a new business division which will dedicate itself to the wider management and improvement of the wide area network. Ciena Agility will be based around driving enhanced service velocity, innovation and business benefit across the wan, using product innovation and development as its foundation.

Kevin Sheehan, who will be heading up Ciena Agility as VP and General Manager, reckons the need for a more flexible and e-commerce-like service delivery platform is now a fundamental requirement for operators.

“We are transforming raw capacity into capability that delivers on-demand network-based services in a manner that mimics the ease and instantaneous nature of an online shopping experience,” he said. “The new Ciena Agility division is organised to quickly respond to the market demand for these customer-driven software solutions.”

Ciena’s network control and application software technology portfolio will develop at Ciena Agility, with Agility Matrix services expected to be launched in the second calendar quarter of 2015.

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