Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Intel Unveils Open Hardware Platforms for SDN and NFV

Intel introduced three platforms for software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV).


The product launch includes:

The Intel Open Network Platform Switch Reference Design, previously codenamed "Seacliff Trail," is based on scalable Intel processors, Intel Ethernet Switch 6700 series and the Intel Communications Chipset 89xx series.  It will include Wind River Open Network Software (ONS), an open and fully customizable network switching software stack using Wind River Linux. Wind River ONS allows for key networking capabilities such as advanced tunneling as well as modular, open control plane and management interface supporting SDN standards such as OpenFlow and Open vSwitch. Common, open programming interfaces allow for automated network management, and coordination between the server switching elements and network switches enabling more cost-effective, secure, efficient and extensible services.
 
The Intel Data Plane Development Kit Accelerated Open vSwitch  -- a project aimed at improving small packet throughput and workload performance that can be achieved on the Open vSwitch.  Intel is specifically re-creating the kernel forwarding module (data plane) to take advantage of the Intel DPDK library. The Intel DPDK Accelerated Open vSwitch is planned to initially be released with the Intel® ONP Server Reference Design in the third quarter of this year.
 
The Intel Open Network Platform Server Reference Design, previously codenamed "Sunrise Trail," is based on the Intel Xeon processor, Intel 82599 Ethernet Controller and Intel Communications Chipset 89xx series. The ONP Server Reference Design enables virtual appliance workloads on standard Intel architecture servers using SDN and NFV open standards for datacenter and telecom. Wind River Open Network Software includes an Intel DPDK Accelerated Open vSwitch, fast packet acceleration and deep packet inspection capabilities, as well as support for open SDN standards such as OpenFlow, Open vSwitch and OpenStack. The project is in development now: the first alpha series is slated to be available in the second half of this year.

"SDN and NFV are critical elements of Intel's vision to transform the expensive, complex networks of today to a virtualized, programmable, standards-based architecture running commercial off-the-shelf hardware," said Rose Schooler, vice president of Intel Architecture Group and general manager of Intel's Communications and Storage Infrastructure Group. "The reference designs announced today enable a new phase in the evolution of the network and represent Intel's commitment to driving an open environment that fosters business agility and smart economics."

In a keynote address at the Open Networking Summit conference in Silicon Valley, Schooler cited a number of companies planning to build products based on these platforms, including Big Switch, HP, NEC, NTT Data, Quanta, Super Micro, VMware and Vyatta (a Brocade company). 

Some other points:

  • Intel is working with NEC and Telefonica to develop a network virtualization of the Evolved Packet Core.  The design puts MME and S/P GW functions on an ATCA Chassis.
  • VMware is working with Intel on a network virtualization solution for software defined data centers (SDDC).
  • Intel is using SDN concepts in its own data centers.
  • Intel is working with HP and Verizon to test a cross-country, cloud bursting between distant data centers.  The trial involves an Intel private cloud in Portland, OR, and HP Lab in Plano, TX, and a Verizon Public Cloud lab in Waltham, MA.


 

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