Blue Planet on Tuesday trotted out a new inventory automation solution that gives service providers a holistic view of their network and service inventory.
With the unified network view, Blue Planet's Inventory and Network Synchronization (INS) solution enables real-time planning, ordering and troubleshooting.
Spurred by the advent of IoT, 5G and other new applications and services, INS can help service providers to make decisions on the fly due to the increased network visibility. Blue Planet, which is a division of Ciena, said INS can reduce order-to-service fallout by up to 40% while speeding up the "trouble-to-resolve" process by as much as 30%.
According to research by Analysys Mason, many top-tier service providers only report 70% accuracy of their inventory systems, which in turn causes high service order error rates, slower fulfillment and inefficient use of network assets.
INS tackles those challenges by providing a dynamic view of the network assets across Layers 0-3. INS works by synchronizing resources with operational support systems (OSS.) INS roots out network equipment, federates OSS and business support systems (BSS) into a single view, and reconciles the discrepancies based on how the assets are being used.
INS works with hybrid—OSS that manage physical and virtual network devices—as well as legacy systems. INS federates data from any OSS system that exists in the service provider’s operational environment and contains data that is needed for operational processes.
INS is able to do this through the use of open APIs, or if need be, by going directly to the database in the case of legacy inventory systems. Examples of OSS systems and components include legacy inventory systems, order management systems, CRM, customer billing systems, alarm management systems, performance management systems.
To break vendor-lock-in, INS interfaces with the various software-defined networking (SDN) controllers. It can also interface directly with multi-vendor network elements, if there is no controller in place. INS does this for its network discovery to retrieve the current configuration of the network and to build its unified model of the current state of the network and services. INS has been deployed by FiberLight.
"The Blue Planet team understands the challenges of having multiple, legacy inventory systems and the adverse impact on business processes, said FiberLight COO Kevin Coyne, in a statement. "By gaining a single view of our network assets and systems, INS is an optimal way to transition to automated operations which ultimately drives greater agility and stronger customer satisfaction.”
Ciena announced last week it was buying service assurance analytics vendor Centina in order to add its OSS capabilities into Blue Planet.