In this case study

WWT collaborated with Itential to make a carrier-grade automation project work for a customer in record time.

Automation has become a top priority for most service providers (SPs) and enterprise customers. The problem is that automation is often the most important application nobody wants to pay for. Typically, network operators will turn to open source tools and scripts — only later to find that they have service management and scaling problems. This means implementing more expensive products which require long and expensive deployments.

All of this becomes a huge barrier for midmarket SPs. They have the same need as larger service providers — automating service deployment and lifecycle management — but the cost and deployment time is a non-starter. Therefore, often midmarket SPs are left with home-grown solutions which do not scale and become difficult to support.

This was the case for one midmarket wireless SP in the US Midwest. WWT partnered with Itential to meet both the technical and the business requirements and get carrier-grade automation into production.

Meeting the business challenges

WWT understands our customers' business and technical challenges. Often a solution may be the right fit, but cost and complexity put it out of reach. WWT worked with the SP, conducting customized Executive Briefing Center (EBCs) meetings and an on-site workshop. The workshop examined all aspects of their automation needs and in-house capabilities. After meeting with their technical and management teams, we delivered a detailed analysis. WWT mapped out a way forward, suggesting the SP look at Itential.

Itential appeared to be a solid technical fit, but cost and time to deployment needed to be addressed. Itential introduced a new, flexible pricing model. This helped WWT structure a deal and a SOW (statement of work) suitable to the customer's needs. Previously, the customer had contracted third party integrators to build their service automations. This worked, but it was very expensive and took a long time to deploy. Itential presented a way to achieve the same goal without the expensive deployment — they could build it themselves, saving money and accelerating time to deploy.

Meeting the technical challenges

With the business issues resolved, it was time to get to the technical challenges. The customer agreed to an in-house POC (proof of concept) where Itential would replace certain home-grown systems and provide an intricate integration with multiple service quality systems, databases and inventory systems. 

This was done in conjunction with their previous Cisco Network Service Orchestrator (NSO) deployment. The SP had invested in a complex NSO deployment, which met all the integrations but left them with a complex service model which was difficult to change or update. Itential was able to simplify the NSO service model, separating out the integrations and handling them in workflow.  

The Itential Automation Platform (IAP) has an on-line API rendering tool, Itential Adapter Builder. This made the many integrations quick and easy and didn't require coding. The powerful IAP workflow engine was able to accommodate all the manual and automatic steps. IAP also has a deep integration with NSO and many other tools like Ansible, Terraform, Puppet and Chef.

The customer used the Itential Adapter Builder to create new APIs (application programming interface) for any system with a Swagger API document. Once the API is rendered, it can easily be accessed from Itential's workflow. Thus, building integrations into the business and technical process can be done without having to manage complex code.

Itential application systems
Itential application: Integrating multiple systems with workflow 

In addition to this overall integration capability, Itential has a deep integration with NSO. This enabled the SP to quickly create a workflow which called on the NSO service model and wove it into the overall end-to-end flow. Itential now has a standalone application called Itential Automation Gateway (IAG). IAG enables IAP to integrate with Ansible, Terraform, Puppet, Chef, SALT and any other IT tool or script.

Finally, Itential realized the customer had exceptional technical skills. The customer had been developing their own solutions for years. Now this same talent could multiply the customer's efforts by taking their development skillset and applying them to a robust, carrier-grade platform like Itential. The net result was the customer was able to, in 4 days, complete the automation use cases: End-to-end L2 & L3 VPN provisioning, including all integrations (NSO, Skylight, Accedian Vision, Email, Solarwinds Orion, PHPIPAM, MSSQL, WebEx Team).

This effort resulted in one of the fastest application rollouts Itential has seen. What was typically slated for a 12-week deployment cycle shrunk to six and then to four weeks. The SP, using its own good talent, was able to create and deploy their own content, thus accelerating their time to market and the project ROI (return on investment).

Maximizing your orchestration/automation project

Itential is one of the many scalable and extensible automation solutions available through WWT. We can help you:

  • Understand the automation and orchestration options and which ones will aide your long-term business and technical goals.
  • Analyze your capabilities and build an automation roadmap complete with skill set enhancements.
  • Compare and evaluate various orchestration and automation solutions in the ATC (Advanced Technology Center).
  • Build a working automation program that will achieve your budgetary and business goals.

Contact your WWT representative or reach out to us directly to get started today.

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