Thursday, March 17, 2016

Japan's O Three Project Touts SDN Milestones

Japan's O3 (O Three) Project, which is back by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, announced a number of SDN milestones:

1. Technology for a common control framework -- this structuralizes complex network configurations that span multiple layers (wireless, optical, packet, and other networks) and multiple domains, enabling the integrated and rapid construction/operation of virtual wide area networks. The technology takes virtual networks comprised of multi-layer/multi-domain networks and creates a database of their control structures. The database is used to visualize the virtual network, as well as automatically convert construction- and control-related processes to processes directed at devices comprising the physical network. These processes are then executed automatically. As a result, it becomes possible within a virtual wide area network to introduce value-added functions for individual applications, such as enhanced security through real-time analysis of transferred data, improved throughput achieved by traffic distribution, and improved reliability through redundancy.

2. Technologies for integrated control of multiple layers and domains -- uses the virtual network's control structure database mentioned in 1. to construct a resource pool that stores the relationship between the layers and domains within the physical and virtual networks. This enables the dynamic allocation of network resources that exist across different layers and domains, and realizes the efficient use and stable operation of virtual wide area networks. Specifically, they refer to technology for managing multi-layer network resources, technology for impact assessment and recovery in the event of multiple system failures, and technology for checking the quality of the entire virtual network, such as OAM(7) functions within SDN. Whereas network control previously required layer- and domain-specific operations, the new technologies will remove physical constraints such as location and configuration, and enable a holistic approach combining resources across the entire network. This will improve the efficiency, usability, and convenience of virtual wide area networks. Even service platform operators, who do not own physical network resources, will be able to provide added value by creating unique functions through software control. These could include real-time communications transfer control that responds to communications content, traffic distribution through the flexible switching of networks, and network redundancy for bypassing faults in the event of system failure.

3. Technologies for developing virtualization-compatible SDN nodes -- uses the integrated control of multiple layers and domains to realize communications devices (nodes) that enable flexible changes in the network configuration and network quality of telecommunications carriers. They are aimed at telecommunications carrier networks comprised of networks within data centers (DCs) and networks between DCs, and consist of two technologies: "automatic tunnel-setting processing" and "packet-aware optical path processing." The "automatic tunnel-setting processing" technology is aimed at networks within DCs and the connection between networks within and between DCs. It automatically sets a tunnel protocol for configuring a virtual network within the SDN software switch. This technology is an expanded version of the high-performance open-source SDN software switch Lagopus(8), which the project has been developing. The "packet-aware optical path processing" technology is aimed at networks between DCs. Based on the situation of resources within the upper packet transport layer, it provides multiple optical paths (ODUflex(9)) of optical core networks with various band frequencies within the lower layer. For the control, the project proposed and standardized the OpenFlow protocol expansion method(10), which is similar to packet layer control. Whereas each network previously required separate nodes, the new technologies enable a single node (multi-layer node) to realize the optical core network and packet transport, and another to realize the IP network and tunnel protocol. This reduces the number of nodes and enables the efficient use of resources, and can lead to lower capital expenditure (CAPEX). In addition, by realizing automated tunnel protocol setting and the automated and targeted control of optical paths, operating expenditure (OPEX) can also be reduced.

Key players in O3 include NTT, NTT Communications, Fujitsu Limited, and Hitachi.

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