Abel TongAbel Tong (@EnableBlue) is part of Ciena's Blue Planet division and is responsible for helping network operators transform their networks by leveraging SDN and NFV to create new services while simplifying their network operations. 


There are certain things that can be debated to the end of time, but the argument cannot be won.  And still, there are those devoted followers who will fight to the bitter end to convince you they are right, or die trying.  We can all appreciate the passion behind those who believe in “big issues.”  But when it comes to technology, fanaticism is misguided, often self-serving, and much more than choosing the chicken or the egg.

I was recently with a group of colleagues discussing network automation in advance of an Infonetics webinar, clearly a top-of-mind topic for every telecommunications and service provider around the globe. My colleagues were senior architects and spokespeople from well-known incumbent legacy vendor companies.  I mentioned the merits of choice, the benefits that openness and choice bring to service providers and end-customers, and – oh yea – the application of TOSCA (topology and orchestration specification for cloud applications) for facilitating network automation. 

My colleagues went ballistic.  “We are talking Telecom.”  “What is all this talk about TOSCA?” “How can you not be advocating NETCONF/YANG?”

First of all, let’s be clear. We do “advocate” for NETCONF/YANG. As a matter of fact, Blue Planet uses NETCONF/YANG to automate the configuration of network resources that support it. And for these use cases, NETCONF/YANG absolutely makes sense.

Abel Tong and quote


However, NETCONF/YANG has limitations when it comes to end-to-end service orchestration. One of the biggest issues is that when we look across access, transport, optical, mobile and cloud networks, most services are currently NOT modeled in YANG and most devices do NOT support NETCONF. That’s a simple fact.

TOSCA YANG download promoOur customers are telling us that they are looking for more than just WAN automation. They need an integrated approach for controlling the virtual and physical worlds and for programmatically orchestrating services end-to-end across their networks. And that’s where TOSCA + NETCONF/YANG work great together. I’ve already written extensively about this in a recent blog.

At the end of the day, you as our customer should be able to choose the service orchestration and automation platform – with the combination of features, technologies, costs and open source solutions – that best suit you. 

Ciena’s Blue Planet is a virtualization orchestration and network management system that is all about enabling choice. While there is no silver bullet, the technical “magic” behind making choice possible is Blue Planet’s model driven templating architecture, the application of micro-services, and embracing open source technology.  The bottom line is that Blue Planet is not forcing you to commit to a given vendor or to be locked into a given technology.  Don’t be blindsided by propaganda.  Go ahead.  Be free.  Choose the chicken or the egg…or choose both. It’s all good to us, we will support you either way.

If you have questions, I invite you to ask them in the comments section below, or find me on Twitter at @EnableBlue.


Infonetics Webinar: YANG & TOSCA – Service Models Critical to SDN and NFV Automation