Strengthen your advantage with Emulation Cloud and MCP Services to come out the winner
Read the entire MCP Application blog series.
Digital transformation has been the name of the game for several years already. Service providers globally have been adopting elements of software-defined networking (SDN) in an effort to modernize their network operations and transform it into an automated data-driven environment. With my recent series of blogs, I’ve revealed the integrated Ciena MCP Applications offerings which help achieve that end-goal of operational transformation through intelligent network control: the Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller, Advanced Apps such as Liquid Spectrum™ and Adaptive IP™ Apps, and online planning with PlannerPlus.
But best-laid plans are insufficient – as every experienced manager knows, one has to test a solution in advance of deploying it en masse into a live network, to confirm that the planned equipment and configurations will integrate smoothly within existing operations. It also helps to lean on a team of experts that can facilitate all aspects of operationalization, including any needed customization. This brings me to the two remaining cards that complete the winning hand of MCP Applications: Emulation Cloud™ and MCP Services.
What is Emulation Cloud?
As its name suggests, Emulation Cloud is a cloud-based lab environment used to emulate devices, configurations, and services you plan to deploy on your network. It is an open test environment that gives our service provider customers and systems integration partners a head-start on integration testing to expedite their deployment process. Simply log onto the secure web portal from anywhere on the public Internet, anytime, and right away you can begin developing, testing, and integrating applications that interface to MCP Applications software, to drive commands to underlying network elements or to extract telemetry data.
You can even begin testing end-to-end operational workflows before the new devices you’ve ordered have been unloaded off the delivery truck.
The power of Emulation Cloud is that it provides full access to MCP Applications’ open APIs via Postman enabling third-party operational support systems (OSS) and network management systems (NMS) to leverage MCP domain control and Advanced Apps to interact with the underlying devices at layers 0 through 3 in the network (i.e. optical, Ethernet, IP). You can even begin testing end-to-end operational workflows before the new devices you’ve ordered have been unloaded off the delivery truck. With Emulation Cloud you have a readily accessible test environment, eliminating the need to invest in dedicated physical or virtual lab infrastructure.
Figure 1: Emulation Cloud provides a quick, easy, cost-effective way to test operational workflows
Our customers have recognized Emulation Cloud’s value and are taking good advantage of it. In a recent quarter, about 4,000 developers conducted more than 1,600 lab sessions, aggregating about 19,000 hours. On average, it means that Emulation Cloud is used for an astounding 200 hours total by 40 users, to execute integration tests remotely, every single day!
On average, it means that Emulation Cloud is used for an astounding 200 hours total by 40 users, to execute integration tests remotely, every single day!
Use cases for testing with Emulation Cloud
Emulation Cloud is extremely versatile, supporting a broad range of use cases. For example, you can use MCP’s open APIs to emulate the insertion or removal of circuit packs, or to ensure the proper integration to network-wide alarm management systems. If you are using a high-level orchestrator across multiple domains, you can exercise the relevant APIs to MCP Applications to make sure you will be able to push provisioning commands down to the infrastructure devices. You can also test aggregation of metrics from Ciena’s optical line systems, switches and routers into a big data analytics platform.
DevOps made easy
Emulation Cloud’s open cloud environment supports DevOps methods and will even accelerate DevOps processes, helping service providers adapt quickly to changes in their network technologies and operational environment. As such, teams can continuously create, test, and fine-tune applications and scripts via the shared environment, saving an extraordinary amount of time. All the tools that developers need to test APIs quickly and easily are available at no cost, or for those power-users who need the convenience of accessing a dedicated, customized emulation environment across multiple lab sessions, there is also a paid subscription option.
A vibrant developer community is engaged with Emulation Cloud. If you need assistance with the solution or help boosting your DevOps skills, the portal provides direct access to other users, discussion groups, Ciena experts, sample code, and tutorials. These resources are extremely popular – detailed videos showing operational workflows via the MCP GUI are viewed nearly 7,000 times each quarter!
Ciena’s MCP Services at your call
To compliment the self-directed capabilities of the Emulation Cloud, there are MCP Services that play a critical role in helping your team adopt MCP and MCP Advanced Apps. MCP Services ensures a smooth network operations transformation while enabling you to maintain focus on your core competencies. MCP Services delivers single-point-of-service management that enables you to rapidly deploy MCP and Advanced Apps and bridge gaps in technical or resource availability, resulting in fast, efficient, data-driven operations for increased business agility.
MCP Services delivers single-point-of-service management that enables you to rapidly deploy MCP and Advanced Apps and bridge gaps in technical or resource availability, resulting in fast, efficient, data-driven operations for increased business agility.
Services are delivered by our team of experts in multi-layer networking and management—to realize MCP Advanced Applications’ benefits in your operational environment even faster. Ciena offers a full suite of MCP Services that can be selected in whatever combination best suits the needs of your organization.
Figure 2: MCP Services support the customer journey to operationalization
In addition, there is also a Hosted MCP Service whereby Ciena Services provides the infrastructure, software, upgrades, as well as technical support for MCP and Advanced Apps. This deployment option is a practical pay-as-you-grow alternative to self-managed on-premise or cloud deployments, with low startup costs, eliminating IT overhead and server expenses.
MCP Applications give you the advantage
I’ve now presented all the cards in Ciena’s suite of MCP Applications that, combined, yield a winning “Royal Flush” hand of intelligent network control capabilities which can ensure your success in your network operations transformation: the MCP domain controller, Advanced Apps for real-time visibility and analytics, online capacity management with PlannerPlus, Emulation Cloud’s open testing environment, and custom-fit MCP Services. Are you ready to build a better, agile, more competitive network?
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