Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Blueprint: What’s Wrong with the WAN?

by Khalid Raza, CTO, Viptela

Today’s WANs are built on largely the same infrastructure as they were 10 years ago.  Back then, demands by users and applications were more predictable, resulting in more expected traffic patterns and bandwidth requirements.  And there was no cloud.  And there was no virtualization.

But things are different today.  Delay-sensitive real-time applications such as VoIP and video are now enterprise staples. Network traffic patterns are shifting due to the cloud, data center consolidation, and remote and mobile workers. Added to this are the performance burdens introduced by desktop, server, and application virtualization. The result? Network professionals are having major challenges with traditional, rigid WAN architectures that cannot meet the demands of today's traffic and applications.

What’s more, the cloud has upset the status quo in which the data center is at the hub of the network.  Today's public, private, and hybrid cloud environments are expanding the boundaries of the enterprise network. As a result, ensuring connectivity and security across an enterprise is an extremely arduous task, and rolling out a new service for WAN users in this much more complex environment can take months.

The enterprise architect’s list of priorities is long, including:

  • Delivering and managing connectivity across such disparate transport networks as MPLS, Broadband, LTE, and Metro Ethernet
  • Embedding policy and control at every hop in the network 
  • Mitigating network security vulnerabilities created by inadequate network-wide segmentation and weak encryption policies 
  • Dealing with long lead times to provisioning new applications 
  • Managing perennial performance issues related to public cloud, VDI, and bandwidth-hungry applications
WAN the New Way

Solving the aforementioned WAN challenges without added distributed complexity requires a comprehensive yet simpler approach. This is where Software-Defined WANs (SD-WANs) becomes an effective approach for the network architect. Essentially SD-WANs solve challenges related to scalability, performance, and rigidity.  And best of all the cost arbitrage between MPLS and broadband make this a compelling approach, with 50% savings right from the start. The essential building blocks of an SD-WAN are:
  • An encrypted overlay of MPLS and broadband 
  • Integrated routing and application-aware traffic steering
  • End-to-end network segmentation 
  • Centralized management of policy and control 
  • Optimization of Layer4 – Layer7 network services and cloud applications 
The end result is an enterprise network that is agile and easy to control, and that provides secure segmentation of traffic from different lines of business and business partners. A network built in this fashion enables CIOs to significantly reduce costs, dramatically improve time required to enable new services, and raise the security threshold across the network.

Apart from improved capacity on the network, some use-cases for SD-WANs include:
  • Guest Wi-Fi.  In industries such as hospitality and healthcare, where guests are granted access to the corporate network, IT needs the flexibility to establish a secure network segment that provides specific services to guests while keeping them isolated.
  • Cloud performance. In addition to increased capacity, cloud performance is determined by efficient routes to the service provider. SD-WANs enable aggregated exit points to the Internet with local peering in colo facilities, bringing down latencies by more than 50% typically. 
  • Business partners. Business partners may require access to portions of the enterprise networks, but are isolated from all sensitive content. Network-wide segmentation with centralized policies can prevent those risks.
Given today’s more complex networks, combined with the diversity of new devices accessing data on corporate networks, legacy WAN architectures are quickly becoming antiquated. Clearly, the range of benefits from a secure, high-performance WAN is immense across a wide range of applications.

About the Author


Khalid Raza is a co-founder and CTO at Viptela, a Sequoia-funded technology company focused on SD-WAN. He was a former Distinguished Engineer at Cisco and widely regarded as a visionary in Networking. In a career spanning over 20 years, Khalid has played an instrumental role in architecting the network infrastructure for Fortune 100 companies and Global Tier-1 carriers.

About Viptela

Viptela, Inc. is a software-centric networking company focused on transforming how Fortune-500 companies build and secure their end-to-end network infrastructure. Viptela improves the security, agility and performance of corporate IP networks for next-generation business applications. Viptela was founded in 2012 by a team of top-tier talent from Cisco, Juniper Networks,
Alcatel-Lucent, and VMware, who have decades of experience delivering multi-billion dollar networking products to market, and, architecting many of the largest and most complex networks in the world. Viptela is backed by Sequoia Capital and headquartered in San Jose, CA. For more information, visit: www.viptela.com

Pluribus Races Ahead in SDN with $50 Million in New Funding

Pluribus Networks, a start-up based in Palo Alto, California, announced $50 million in a Series D round of funding to advance its vision for unified computer, network, storage and virtualization driven by a single, open and programmable SDN platform.

Pluribus features a distributed network hypervisor operating system that converges compute, network, storage and virtualization with an open, programmable approach. The platform brings full bare-metal control and visibility into the network through Unix-style APIs. The solution is based on a distributed network operating system with hypervisor bare-metal virtualization capabilities of computing resources - CPU, memory, and storage - and merchant silicon switch chip.

Pluribus said this latest round makes it the best-funded SDN company in the industry.

The new funding was led by Temasek Holdings, an investment company based in Singapore with a net portfolio value of US$177 billion. This up-round brought the Pluribus total funding to date to US$95M million. All of the existing investors, including New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Menlo Ventures, Mohr Davidow and AME Cloud Ventures, participated in the round. Furthermore, the company added new global strategic investors, including Ericsson, as well as Newtech, a leading turnkey datacenter infrastructure provider in Asia.

“Fundamentally, the sea has changed and CIOs are turning away from endless hardware upgrade cycles to a software and network-application-centric view,” said Kumar Srikantan, president and CEO of Pluribus Networks. “With our Netvisor, we have a superior, converged SDN platform that not only provides better scale and performance, but also enables virtualization and security while driving down cost and complexity. The funding we are announcing today validates our architecture approach and the breakaway growth potential of the company.”

http://www.pluribusnetworks.com


  • Pluribus is headed by Kumar Srikantan (CEO), who was previously VP/GM of HW Engineering for the Enterprise Networking Business at Cisco where he was responsible for the HW engineering execution of Cisco’s Enterprise Networking portfolio.
  • Pluribus was founded in 2010 and entered general availability in March 2014.


Ravello Raises $28M for Nested Virtualization on Public Clouds

Ravello Systems, a start-up based in Palo Alto, California, raised $28 million in third round funding for its nested virtualization powered cloud service.

Ravello, which was founded in 2011 by the team that created the KVM hypervisor, is working to simplify access to leading public clouds. Ravello enables enterprises to recreate their data center environments in the public cloud, with the ability to run VMware workloads, Android emulators and even entire OpenStack labs on AWS or Google Cloud. The company entered into a successful public beta in February 2013 and launched its nested virtualization powered cloud service product globally in August 2013.

The latest round brings the total capital raised to date by Ravello to $54 million. The funding round was led by Qualcomm Ventures and SanDisk Ventures. Existing and new investors - Sequoia Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Vintage Investment Partners also participated in this funding round.

“There is a clear need in the market to bridge the divide between VMware oriented virtualized data centers and public clouds like AWS and Google - and nested virtualization has clearly emerged as the right technology to achieve this,” said Rami Tamir, CEO and co-founder of Ravello Systems.

http://www.ravellosystems.com/news/ravello-raises-additional-28-million

Vodafone Leverages Elephant Talk's SDN/NFV to Launch MVNO in Spain

Vodafone Enabler EspaƱa has enabled a new mobile virtual network operator called "LOWI" to launch consumer services of its infrastructure by leveraging an SDN/NFV platform developed by Elephant Talk Communications Corp.

The LOWI brand is a novel entrant into the Spanish market featuring very low cost plans (including 1GB data plan with roll-over).  Vodafone, working with Elephant Talk, was able to develop and launch the full platform in only three months.

The virtualized  SDN platform includes an Evolved Packet Core from Affirmed Networks and an HLR from HP.  The infrastructure supporting this MNVO also includes new HLR\HSS’s, new upgraded IP systems, new GGSN’s, new provisioning, a new postpaid billing system and backup systems hosted in two mirrored datacenters in Barcelona and Madrid.


"Global consumer interest in high-value mobile services continues to drive new MNO and MVNO brands, creating valuable opportunities for MNOs and enablers like us that can provide the critical software infrastructure needed to efficiently and cost effectively deploy these new integrated services,” stated Steven van der Velden, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Elephant Talk. “Due to the unique Network Function Virtualization foundation of our ET Software DNA 2.0 platform, we believe we are able to dramatically reduce capital investment costs for mobile operators, while improving their time to market and also increasing added value for their customers. We look forward to continue to add MNO and MVNO brands to our portfolio over the course of 2015 and, as these brands aggressively build their subscriber bases, we expect to continue adding high margin SIMs to our platform.”

Alberto Galaso, Director of Low Cost in Vodafone Spain, explained: “LOWI starts with the purpose of leading the low cost segment in Spain, with a disruptive approach based on simplicity and transparency. We are featuring 1GB+ of mobile data for 6€ VAT included, and 0c€/min calls to all Spanish mobile and fixed numbers (charging only the call set-up). Additionally, customers benefit from the ability to rollover non-consumed data to the next month.”

http://www.elephanttalk.com

Windstream Gains Regulatory Approvals for REIT Spinoff

Windstream confirmed that it has received all regulatory approvals from state public service commissions required for its planned real estate investment trust (REIT) spinoff, which will be named Communications Sales & Leasing, Inc. (CS&L). Windstream earlier received a favorable private letter ruling from the Internal Revenue Service relating to the transaction.

"Securing these regulatory approvals is an important milestone in our work and affirms the compelling benefits of the transaction to consumers and businesses," said Windstream Director Francis X. "Skip" Frantz, who will serve as chairman of CS&L's board. "The spinoff remains a strategic priority for Windstream and with the state regulatory approval process complete, we are focused on executing the final steps of the transaction."

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2015.

http://www.windstream.com


In July 2014, Windstream announced a bold plans to spin off its fiber and copper network, along with certain other assets, into an independent, publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT).  The network operations business would then lease back the physical assets to Windstream through a long-term triple-net exclusive lease with an initial estimated rent payment of $650 million per year.

The company said the separation of its physical network from its services business will enable it to become a more nimble competitor, while accelerating network investments, and maximizing shareholder value. The new REIT would be open to diversify its assets through acquisitions.

"This transaction will make Windstream a more nimble competitor in today’s increasingly dynamic communications marketplace and accelerate our deployment of advanced communications services," said Jeff Gardner, president and CEO of Windstream. "Additionally, the REIT will have geographically diverse, high-quality assets and sustainable cash flows with the ability to grow and diversify over time."

F5 Posts Sales of $463M, up 14% YoY, But Lower Outlook

F5 Networks reported revenue of $462.8 million for the first quarter of its fiscal 2015, down slightly from $465.3 million in the prior quarter and up 14 percent from $406.5 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. GAAP net income was $89.1 million ($1.21 per diluted share), compared to $94.0 million ($1.26 per diluted share) in the prior quarter and $68.0 million ($0.87 per diluted share) in the first quarter a year ago.

“In addition to the seasonal softness we normally experience in the first quarter of a new fiscal year, product sales during the quarter reflected a marked decrease in the number of deals greater than $1 million,” said John McAdam, F5 president and chief executive officer. “While this resulted in slower than expected revenue growth for the quarter, the number of large deals in the current pipeline is encouraging and indicates that we should see a resumption of the recent trend toward larger deals in the second quarter.

“From a product perspective we were also encouraged by the continuing strong growth of software revenue, which increased 44 percent year over year. The growing percentage of software as a component of our product offerings highlights increasing customer demand for hybrid solutions that allow greater flexibility in the deployment of application services within and across data centers and out into the cloud."

https://f5.com/about-us/news/press-releases/f5-networks-announces-results-for-first-quarter-of-fiscal-2015

Ericsson to manage TeliaSonera Field Operations in Sweden

TeliaSonera has decided to outsource certain field operations in parts of Sweden to Ericsson.

The companies announced a five-year-agreement that expands Ericsson Managed Services footprint for fixed and mobile networks. The new deal builds on an outsourcing contract initially signed back in 2010.

Increased network complexity and performance expectations puts high demands on the operators to run their operations in a cost-efficient manner while providing world-class experience to their customers.

Charlotta Sund, President Region Northern Europe and Central Asia, Ericsson, said; "Increased network complexity and performance expectations puts high demands on the operators to run their operations in a cost-efficient manner while providing world-class experience to their customers. Ericsson has invested more than USD 1 billion in tools, methods and processes in order to help its customers increase network efficiency. We are committed to ensure that our best capabilities and global expertise are available to TeliaSonera so that its subscribers could enjoy even better quality and speed".

http://www.ericsson.com

See also