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WAN Automation–Not Just Another New Release, but a Game Changer

- February 25, 2017 - 1 Comment

Cisco WAN Automation Engine (WAE) is enabling real-time network planning. WAE 7.0 is a game-changer release, and we are thrilled to announce its general availability.

You’re likely familiar with WAE Design application, which has been the market leader in network modeling and capacity planning for years. Now the WAE Design can address new demands from Service Providers and Enterprise customers that have a tremendous need to drive not only CapEx reduction through planning, but also OpEx reduction with real-time automation.

For this new release, we took an innovative approach to the challenge of evolving an offline planning tool to an online platform that can help operators automate network management.

First, we moved to a YANG-based infrastructure that can automatically generate APIs and CLIs to simplify the customer experience. To feed the YANG-based infrastructure in real-time, our collection framework is leveraging streaming protocols such as BGP-LS, PCEP, and streaming telemetry. This not only improves scalability and visibility, but also provides the reactivity important for an online tool. It was also very important for us to offer a solution that could support legacy and multi-vendor networks. In that respect, we have built modular collectors that can be configured to augment models with data obtained by traditional sources such SNMP, CLI, and NETCONF.

Second, we put substantial effort into simplifying installation and configuration. What does it really mean for you? The installer now downloads and installs in minutes. Configuration of network collection is equally simple. You only need to provide device credentials, enable the desired data streams, describe how the data sources should be combined, and WAE will dynamically build a network model that reacts to change. This is a major improvement you have been looking forward to for quite some time.

WAE has always provided a rich set of optimization algorithms, and we keep adding features. In release 6.4, WAE added segment routing algorithms to support latency, disjointedness, avoidance, and bandwidth optimization. In release 7.0, WAE adds simplified Python APIs for running these algorithms and for applying the results of these algorithms back into the network.

And there is more! By combining a reactive network model with a powerful set of algorithms and easy-to-use Python APIs, WAE is now an application development platform.

As part of WAE 7.0, you automatically get access to a sample application for tactical traffic engineering.

What are the benefits to you?

This application enables you to significantly increase the utilization of your network infrastructure in an automated manner resulting in both CapEx and OpEx savings.

How does it work in simple terms?

WAE monitors the network for topology changes. If a network event such as a link failure causes congestion in the network, WAE will compute a set of Label Service Paths (LSPs) to mitigate the congestion and then deploy the LSPs into the network. When the link recovers, WAE will re-run the optimization, see that the LSPs are no longer required, and remove them from the network.

Why should you give this application a try?

This application clearly exemplifies the combined use of several software innovations Cisco brought to market over the past 12 months:  model-driven telemetry, segment routing traffic matrix, segment routing capacity optimization algorithm, and LSP deployment in a closed-loop solution.

By innovating with a focus on the customer experience, we have evolved WAE 7.0 to an easy-to-install platform for network application development that is based on an easy-to-understand YANG networking model, a powerful set of algorithms, and well-designed Python APIs, helping you drive OpEx reduction through ruthless automation.

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    This WAE looks impressive, especially when the networks can detect what went wrong and can program itself automatically to combat the issue. As I read it, two things came to my mind based on my customer interactions. 1. Can this WAE run on top of a hybrid network with other products alongside Cisco products? 2. Can this WAE be deployed in a network where proprietary network collection tools (similar to snmp, cisco prime) are used? This is more about inter operability with other tools 3. Are there possibilities for the customer to program the issues that they are used to observe in the network and possible ways to combat using this WAE?