BT has launched a new Service and Network Automation Platform (SNAP), designed to help customers innovate using the latest software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) and network functions virtualisation (NFV) technologies.

“The unique platform sits at the heart of BT’s global network. Built with best-in-breed technologies, its flexible architecture allows BT to fully integrate solutions from its partners,” said the UK telco.

Examples of services BT is now able to integrate include SD-WAN controllers from Cisco and Nuage Networks from Nokia, while SNAP also works with Cisco’s Network Services Orchestrator. “Together, this allows BT to offer customers a choice of SD-WAN and NFV managed services such as BT Connect Services Platform,” it said.

BT plans to extend orchestration from its core network to major third-party cloud data centres and all the way into customers’ local area networks (LAN) and data centre LANs (DC-LANs). It said this will provide end-to-end applications visibility, control and configuration from customers’ laptops and devices through to servers in the cloud.

BT said SNAP had been devised to achieve full compatibility between technologies and high levels of automation, using the latest open source software as well as industry standard languages. These include YANG for network modelling and TOSCA for service definition and VNF service chaining.

“Control commands can now cascade through BT’s systems taking effect within minutes, something that previously could take weeks,” the firm said.

To help customers navigate their future network roadmaps, BT has pooled its SD-WAN and NFV expertise and key skills into a new Centre of Excellence (CoE). The new CoEs, located across BT’s key development and customer support centres, will be able to uniquely monitor the full extent of a customer’s hybrid network creating a single integrated picture using the latest tools based on AI and machine learning.

“The CoE supports the full life cycle of customers’ SD-WAN or NFV services, collaborating across design and deployment to operations,” said BT. “The integrated team is backed with a programme of investment in training and tools in areas such as YANG, Netconf and TOSCA — new skills that are in very short supply.”