By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  December 22, 2015

You may have noticed that we’re hearing the word orchestration a lot lately. Indeed, a wide array of companies now offer and have been promoting their orchestration systems and discussing how they address important new trends and technologies like network functions virtualization and software-defined networking.

But, as Alcatel-Lucent notes in a recently released white paper, although orchestration is frequently discussed, there is much uncertainty in the industry about it. Nonetheless, NFV is happening, with first service provider deployments this year. For NFV and SDN to meet their promise and scale, management and orchestration, or MANO, will need to be highly available and allow for simple provisioning and management, notes the white paper “The what and why of NFV orchestration”.

“MANO helps to build a production quality platform with the required service availability, ability to quickly respond to failures and simple provisioning of a coherent, centralized view of the NFV infrastructure with the applications running on it,” according to the Alcatel-Lucent document.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the companies offering orchestration solutions.


CloudBand is a carrier-grade NFV management and orchestration platform purpose-built for service providers. It offers high availability service deployment and assurance capabilities that let users move NFV into production on any scale. With CloudBand, users can start first NFV application deployments today or deploy and grow to a full NFV network when the time is right for them.


The Amdocs Order Delivery Orchestrator solution enables orchestration of complex enterprise orders across traditional and virtualized services, helping service providers to quickly introduce multiple new service offers to their business customers.

Big Switch Networks

Big Switch Networks in August launched the third iteration of its Big Cloud Fabric. This release is geared toward the OpenStack environment and addresses physical and virtual environments. The new release provides fabric automation and VM visibility for vSphere 6; NSX-v (with vSphere 6) overlay visibility; Multi-vCenter integration with single BCF pod to enable multi-tenant multi-vSphere hosted cloud; support for VMware Integrated OpenStack (with NSX-v for L3 networks); and a vCenter GUI plugin and vRealize Log Insight integration to enable physical fabric visibility to virtualization/cloud admins.


Cortx Service Orchestrator is a software solution that automates lifecycle management of advanced data services across today’s data networks, including next-generation SDN and NFV infrastructures. It brings the power of big data analytics, automation, and web technologies to visualize transport services end-to-end, and to orchestrate service delivery across multiple operator networks. It is aligned with the Lifecycle Service Orchestration Vision espoused by the Metro Ethernet Forum (News - Alert). With CENX Cortx Service Orchestrator, mobile, wireline, and cloud service providers can accelerate time to revenue, reduce operational costs, and deliver quality connectivity services with inter-carrier performance assurance.


Blue Planet delivers carrier-grade NFV orchestration capabilities for instantiating, managing, and chaining virtual network functions. Blue Planet provides management and orchestration guidelines to manage and automate the VNF lifecycle, and intelligently orchestrate NFV infrastructure resources across multiple data centers. Blue Planet leverages RESTful APIs and model-driven templates (TOSCA, YANG) to simplify integration with different OSS, SDN, and virtual infrastructure manager platforms.

Cisco (News - Alert)

Cisco, which in 2014 announced plans to buy Tail-f Systems, offers what it calls the

Cisco Evolved Services Platform Orchestration solution. Japanese tech giant Softbank in October said it would be using to solution to support its White Cloud SmartVPN services, which allow customers to use a self-service online portal to input security policies and scale their network services as needed. The Cisco-titled version of the Tail-f solution will be commercially available from Cisco late the year. Until that time, Cisco explains, prospects can continue to purchase NCS from Tail-f and contact the Tail-f sales team for additional information.

Dorado Software

Dorado sells performance monitoring, resource management, and service orchestration software that helps communications service providers, NFV Infrastructure, and network function vendors accelerate their time to benefit from their virtualized cloud-based networks. The company provides an integrated end-to-end solution with packaged and extensible capabilities to orchestrate, monitor, and provide closed loop automation of both physical and virtual network functions in a multi-vendor and evolving ecosystem.

Ericsson (News - Alert)

Ericsson Cloud Manager is a cloud management system that enables the creation, orchestration, activation, and monitoring of services running on virtualized IT and programmable network resources at consistent levels of quality. With Ericsson Cloud Manager, cloud resources are no longer confined to a single data center, but rather are spread throughout the network, to help improve both internal operations and service quality. Ericsson Cloud Manager features include self-service portals that provide on-demand control to the operator, tenants, and end customers; a catalog that brings consistency to service definition and modification, as well as to the business rules driving orchestration; orchestration, which coordinates automated processes and manual tasks to provision services; a configuration management database that consolidates network data for a comprehensive understanding of the virtual infrastructure at both the physical and logical levels; activation that manages both legacy (physical) and virtual infrastructure while supporting multiple hypervisor technologies; security features that support privacy, regulatory laws, and resiliency against cyber attacks; and metering to keep track of resource usage for billing purposes.

F5 Networks (News - Alert)

BIG-IQ is F5’s intelligent management framework that provides a single point of integration for administering and orchestrating security and application delivery services. The latest update to BIG-IQ enables deeper collaboration between the network operations center and DevOps teams by centrally managing application delivery and by employing role based access control. The resulting workflow simplifies operations – boosting efficiency and freeing the network team from having to set individual application delivery policies while maintaining a flexible approval process. BIG-IQ offers a UI and RESTful APIs to centrally manage F5 BIG-IP devices and to control F5’s Local Traffic ManagerAdvanced Firewall Manager and Application Security Manager solutions. BIG-IQ’s use of iApps templates orchestrates Software Defined Application Services both locally and in public and private clouds to increase business agility while eliminating many of the risks associated with managing point solutions individually. BIG-IQ provides a single point of integration between solutions from F5 and technologies from Cisco, VMware, and OpenStack.


The SDN fabric by HP ConteXtream is a carrier-grade fabric that leverages proven virtualization and grid computing technologies. With HP ConteXtream, CSPs can confidently deploy SDN for NFV solutions based on an ETSI compliant architecture that is tailored for communication service provider applications. HP ConteXtream SDN fabric is the foundation for a programmable network fabric to accelerate service deployment, facilitate unconstrained mobility, and maximize compute efficiency for carriers. It is based on the IETF Network Virtualization Overlay (NVO3) architecture. The architecture includes network virtualization edge nodes that aggregate flows and maps them to network functions.

Juniper Networks (News - Alert)

Juniper Networks Contrail Cloud Platform is an integrated turnkey cloud management platform that is hardened from open source technologies including OpenStack, OpenContrail, Ceph, and Puppet. It is a foundational element of Juniper’s open cloud networking and network functions virtualization solutions. The Contrail Cloud Platform automates the orchestration of compute, storage, and networking resources to create and scale open, intelligent, and reliable OpenStack clouds that seamlessly merge and hybridize through highly intelligent secure networks. These federated clouds enable users to create elastic infrastructures that meet dynamic business needs with speed and agility, increasing the availability and flexibility of the services delivered to end users while improving operational excellence.

Nuage Networks

The Nuage Networks Virtualized Services Platform provides software-defined networking capabilities for clouds of all sizes – from small private clouds to the largest public clouds in the world. Nuage Networks VSP makes the network as readily consumable as compute resources. Nuage Networks VSP is implemented as a non-disruptive overlay for all existing virtualized and non-virtualized server and network resources. No proprietary or purpose-built hardware is required since all components install in Docker containers, hypervisors, or virtual machines. VSP eliminates the constraints that have limited the responsiveness and efficiency of cloud and data center networks by making the network as dynamic and consumable as compute infrastructure through automated instantiation of network services; scaling to meet the demands of thousands of tenants with unique application requirements, distinct security policies, and committed service levels; designing, building, and putting clouds and services into production quickly enough to take advantage of trends and targeted business opportunities; unifying complex configurations such as public and private clouds with multiple data centers and bare metal servers into a single manageable cloud network; and

supporting open source and emerging tools such as Docker containers to gain competitive advantage.


The Oracle Communications Network Service Orchestration solution empowers service providers to rapidly compose, on-board, and elastically scale network services spanning multiple VNFs in multi-vendor hybrid or virtualized network environments. The Oracle Communications Network Service Orchestration solution fulfills and considerably expands upon the role of the NFV orchestrator as defined by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute NFV Industry Standards Group, the primary standards body guiding NFV development. For NFV orchestration, the Oracle Communications Network Service Orchestration solution coordinates the management of network service lifecycles so network services may be comprised of interconnected VNFs from Oracle Communications and/or third parties. For service orchestration, the Oracle Communications Network Service Orchestration solution has inherent understanding of the semantics of the network service. This enables it to appropriately configure the network whenever the instantiation, scaling, or termination of a network service requires changes to the network topology or the provisioning of service or network context data. The Oracle Communications Network Service Orchestration solution may be deployed as an extension to Oracle Communications OSS solutions to support the seamless introduction of virtual network functions alongside physical network functions and the fulfillment of end customer services on the hybrid infrastructure. This is enabled by clear abstraction of responsibilities and a federated design approach between the OSS and network service orchestration, which leverages robust foundational components of Oracle Communications Operations Support Systems.


The Ensemble Service Orchestrator is an open, extensible carrier-class NFV service lifecycle management and orchestration system that coordinates virtual resources and physical network elements to create, activate, and assure services using one or more virtual network functions. It is designed to help communication service providers and mobile operators achieve the greatest cost savings and respond quickly and appropriately for optimized revenue generation. ESO uses the OpenStack cloud controller – bundled with ESO – to manage the virtual compute environment, including virtual machines, virtual switches, and top-of-rack data center switches. For management of the physical wide area network traffic flows, ESO leverages Overture’s Ensemble Network Controller, and it can also be integrated with other third-party network controllers.

Telco Systems 

Telco Systems offers the EdgeGenie Orchestrator network management system. The company in June announced the EdgeGenie Orchestrator with the embedded OpenDayLight controller now supports OpenFlow SDN devices, and supports the OpenStack NFV controller as well. The EdgeGenie Orchestrator provides end-to-end management across the entire service provider network, which today is often composed of legacy, Carrier Ethernet 2.0, and NFV/SDN. In a unified operation, Ethernet or MPLS service is provisioned across any type of device with the assignment of a virtual network function, if applicable. It provides a complete solution for the full life cycle of network deployment, from planning to managing, monitoring and maintaining network services. In addition to support for the latest release of OpenDayLight, EdgeGenie also supports NFV orchestration utilizing OpenStack customized management. Service providers can use EdgeGenie to efficiently provision all of their network devices including Ethernet, CE 2.0, MPLS, and SDN/NFV. OpenDaylight is the device management module of OpenFlow.


VMware vRealize Orchestrator simplifies the automation of complex IT tasks and integrates with VMware vCloud Suite components to adapt and extend service delivery and operational management, effectively working with existing infrastructure, tools and processes.


WebNMS, the service provider software division of Zoho Corp., specializes in solutions for multi-vendor network management, service orchestration, and IoT/M2M applications. WebNMS markets these solutions as flexible, extensible platforms to network service providers, managed service providers, and network equipment vendors. The Symphony Orchestration Platform provides a comprehensive solution for multi-vendor network management and scalable service orchestration. Symphony integrates a suite of applications for service inventory, service fulfillment, and service assurance with unified network management tools, multi-vendor network element adapters, an automation framework, visualization tools, and standards-based service modeling such as Carrier Ethernet and MPLS. It simplifies and accelerates the deployment of scalable, carrier-grade services. 

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere