Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Video interview with Cisco: What is OpFlex?

In this video, Tom Edsall, CTO of the Insieme business unit at Cisco, introduces OpFlex, a new policy protocol designed to support physical and virtual switching infrastructure.  OpFlex
provides an abstraction that Cisco believes is better suited than OpenFlow is scaling out policy.

Cisco has published an OpFlex draft in the IETF and will be releasing an OVS implementation in the public domain as well as a controller in the Open Daylight consortium.  The company hopes that open APIs will enable more equipment to be brought in under the OpFlex policy umbrella.  OpFlex fits in with Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure vision.  Edsall describes differences between the imperative control plane model of "traditional SDN" and the declarative control plane of its ACI model, saying that some things should be centralized while others are best to be distributed.

See 3-minute video:

In April, Cisco introduced OpFlex - a new networking protocol designed to open up its vision of Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) in the data center for automated applications and interoperability with other software-defined networking (SDN) elements.

OpFlex is a southbound protocol that is co-authored by Citrix, IBM, Microsoft, and Sungard Availability Services. It provides a mechanism that enables a network controller to transfer abstract policy to a set of “smart” devices capable of directly rendering rich network policy on the device.  OpFlex will enable leading hypervisors, switches and network services (layer 4-layer 7) to self-configure driven by application policy.

Cisco is submitting to the IETF for standardization. It is also an open source Contribution that Cisco is making to OpenDaylight in partnership with IBM, Plexxi and Midokura.  Other companies that are supporting OpFlex include Microsoft, RedHat, F5, Citrix, Canonical, and Embrane.  Hypervisor and software vendors will support OpFlex-enabled virtual switches and extend the Cisco ACI policy framework in their virtual environments. Network services vendors like Avi Networks, Citrix, Embrane, and F5 Networks will be shipping an OpFlex agent with their appliances.

In addition, Cisco is working with OpenDaylight to create a 100 percent open source, ACI-compatible policy model and OpFlex reference architecture.

Compared to the current SDN model, Cisco said its Application Centric Infrastructure avoids the scalability/resiliency challenge of having a single SDN controller managing the state of the network. Its ACI approach is to distribute complexity to the edges and operate disconnected from a central policy manager.  It also would not require application developers to describe their requirements with low level constructs.

Cisco is planning to support the OpFlex Protocol on the following Cisco products:
  • Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure, Nexus 9000 Series
  • Cisco Nexus 1000V
  • Cisco ASR 9000 Series
  • Cisco Nexus 7000 Series
  • Cisco ASA
  • Cisco SourceFire

Web Companies Call on FCC to Defend Open Internet

A coalition of leading Web companies published an open letter to the FCC asking commissioners to defend the principles of the Open Internet.  The letter comes in response to published reports that FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler is circulating new rules concerning Net Neutrality.  Signatories of the Open Internet letter include:

Level 3
Vonage Holdings Corp.
Yahoo! Inc.

Wind River Delivers Accelerated vSwitch Optimized for NFV

Wind River announced a new performance benchmark for its accelerated virtual switch (vSwitch) integrated within Wind River Carrier Grade Communications Server, which is designed for network functions virtualization (NFV).

Wind River said its accelerated vSwitch can deliver 12 million packets per second to guest virtual machines (VMs) using only two processor cores on an industry-standard server platform, in a real-world use case involving bidirectional traffic. This performance represents 20 times that of the standard Open vSwitch (OVS) software used in typical enterprise data centers. Providing unlimited scalability when instantiated on multiple cores, this industry-leading performance is achieved using up to 33% fewer CPU resources than other commercial solutions, with no requirement for specific hardware acceleration.

“As a key element in our Carrier Grade Communications Server, our accelerated vSwitch was designed from the ground-up to incorporate the Carrier Grade features that are critically important for telecom networks that must deliver six 9s reliability,” said Mike Langlois, general manager of the communications business for Wind River. "For example, the accelerated vSwitch provides fast convergence during live migration of VMs, while minimizing the impact of dirty page updates. To allow for optimum resource allocation, it provides deterministic processing performance without the jitter of over 10% exhibited by the standard Open vSwitch. Finally, protocols such as LAG, VLAN tagging, and VXLAN provide the security features that are essential for telecom networks.”

Dell Charts a Cloud-agnostic and Open Approach

Dell reaffirmed its commitment to open, standards-based architectures on which to build public, private and hybrid clouds.

Dell highlighted an enterprise-ready OpenStack-based private cloud solutions that it has co-engineered with Red Hat. As part of the expanded relationship, Dell was the first company to OEM Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. In addition, Dell announced support for Docker containers in Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

In addition, Dell has partnerships with public cloud infrastructure providers like Google, Microsoft and CenturyLink, among others.

“At Dell, our cloud solutions are based on open architectures with no proprietary lock in. Customers get choice, flexibility and the maximum benefit from their investment,” said Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell. “Our partnerships with companies like Red Hat further demonstrate that Dell is the only truly open cloud vendor that’s helping customers design, build and manage across public, private and hybrid clouds.”

“Open source is the backbone of the cloud, and the cloud is inherently hybrid,” said Jim Whitehurst, president and CEO, Red Hat. “Our continued collaboration with Dell is about bringing the open hybrid cloud to the enterprise. Industry feedback on our collaboration has been outstanding, and I’m excited to continue working together to bring the value and power of OpenStack – and now OpenShift – to even more enterprises around the world.”

Open Network Install Environment Lab Opens

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) opened the first ONIE certification lab.

ONIE is an industry standard network boot loader for installing software on network switches.

“With each new platform and chipset, there is a significant amount of development work that is involved to ensure compatibility. ONIE certification and compliance leverages best practices to validate this process in the most expedient way possible,” said Carlos Cardenas, Associate Director, Cloud and Big Data Lab, UTSA. “We are pleased to launch the certification lab as the demand for standardization and reliability across the entire data center ecosystem – from servers to switches and now networking – becomes standard protocol.”

Alcatel-Lucent Upgrades Transatlantic Apollo Cable to 100G

Alcatel-Lucent completed an upgrade of the Apollo undersea cable system which links the UK and France to the United States for 100G channels and over 25 Tbps of total capacity.

The Apollo system consists of two of the most advanced fiber optic cables: Apollo North connects the UK to the US, and Apollo South connects France directly to the US, collectively spanning a total of 13,000 km.

Alcatel-Lucent deployed its 1620 Light Manager (LM) submarine line terminal equipment using coherent technology at 100G to provide the most efficient use of the available optical spectrum. The 1620 LM leverages Alcatel-Lucent’s advanced coherent technology, which also incorporates the latest Soft Decision Forward Error Correction (SDFEC) technology to provide highest ultimate capacity at the same time as lowest cost per bit.

Richard Elliott, Managing Director of Apollo, said: “Wholesale providers expect higher speeds, faster provisioning and reliability.  The deployment of Alcatel-Lucent’s 100G solution enables us to further meet these expectations on the largest international route in the world.  At Apollo we only provide long haul high capacity services and so getting this right is our entire focus. We are proud to work with Alcatel-Lucent and delighted with the performance of this step change in our technology.”

CALIENT Offers 320x320 Port Optical Switches for Data Centers

CALIENT Technologies unveiled two new optical circuit switch subsystems aimed at data center, telecom or media networking applications.

The new subsystems are based on CALIENT’s 320-port S320 Optical Circuit Switch that uses the company’s patented 3D MEMS optical switching technology. The new subsystems include the MSM-320, a 320x320-port pure optical switch with complete protocol independence and bandwidth scalability to 400 Gbps and up. The low-power module includes the 3D MEMS switching core, mirror driver circuitry and a redundant Linux-based control processor. The control processor manages all system functions including switching and real-time insertion loss optimization. The second OEM subsystem is the OMM-320, a 320-port optical power-monitoring module that uses scanning mirror technology to monitor power levels on up to 320 optical fibers. The OMM provides feedback to the MSM control processor to dynamically adjust mirrors on all 320 connections to minimize optical insertion loss. Alternatively, the OMM-320 can be deployed in other optical networking applications where low-cost, high-port-count power measurements are required.

CALIENT cited several successful deployments of the S320 into cloud datacenter and service provider networks.

Mexico's Alestra Implements 400G DWDM with ALU

Alestra has implemented Alcatel-Lucent 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) platform in its network in Mexico to support channel speeds of 400 Gigabits per second.  The 400G capability has already been tested in Alestra's live network.

“Once again Alestra revolutionizes ICTs optimizing our network to provide the most innovative solutions of Telecommunications and Informatics to the Mexican market. With the deployment of Alestra network leveraging Alcatel-Lucent technology, once again reinforce our offer and our commitment to the industry, making us the first supplier on the continent able to provide businesses with the best value proposition in terms of bandwidth,” said Alejandro Irigoyen, Director of Operations and Systems Alestra.

“The DWDM solution based on the 1830 PSS provides Alestra greater efficiency, flexibility and the scalability required to continue to innovate and lead in corporate services in the Mexican market. With this new network, Alestra will deliver services of up to 400 Gbps between two points on the network, providing greater capabilities in its transport services at the same time that it ensures the successful evolution to cloud services,” said Freddy Turriaf, Commercial Director of Alcatel-Lucent in Mexico.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Interview with Google's Bikash Koley: What is Andromeda?

In this video, Bikash Koley, Principal Architect at Google, introduces Andromeda, the software-defined networking stack that now powers Google's global infrastructure. Separating the control plane from the data plane has enabled a very rapid pace of networking innovation.  For developers, Google says Andromeda lets you "get a software-defined network without having to build it."

Koley says the whole idea of Andromeda is to take network functions and virtualize them -- this includes functions like routing packets, load balancing, filters, access control lists, DDoS mitigation and potentially deep packet inspection.  In a traditional network, you would have specialized boxes for these functions.  Google's Andromeda virutalizes all of that and makes it available as simple APIs, providing progammable access to the same infrastructure that runs all of Google's services.  Koley says this essentially delivers the "somewhat magical scaling" that would be difficult to achieve any other way.

Video timeline:

00:03 -What is Andromeda?
04;56 - Since Andromeda supports virtualized network functions, will Google be offering hosted network services like hosted firewalls?
05:25 - To orchestrate the Google infrastructure, Andromeda must deliver performance and scalability. How are these attained?
06:52 - Is Andromeda an open platform for developers?

Watch 8-minute video:

In April 2014, Google announced that its  "Andromeda" network virtualization stack is now powering two of its Google Compute Engine zones: us-central1-b and europe-west1-a. The company will be migrating its other data centers to Andromeda in the coming months.

Google describes Andromeda as a Software Defined Networking (SDN)-based substrate that serves as  the orchestration point for provisioning, configuring, and managing virtual networks and in-network packet processing. The goal is to expose the raw performance of the underlying network while simultaneously exposing network function virtualization (NFV), including distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection, transparent service load balancing, access control lists, and firewalls.

Google reports a significant performance gain in throughput for customers in the data centers running Andromeda, with TCP throughput for 200 streams soaring from under 2 Gbps (baseline) to 5 Gbps (powered by Andromeda).

Citrix Unveils Public Cloud-based Workspace Services

Citrix unveiled a new platform for provisioning and delivering mobile workspace across a wide range of public clouds, including the market leaders, as well as private clouds and datacenter infrastructure.

The forthcoming Citrix Workspace Services platform is built on Microsoft Azure, leveraging capabilities such as Azure App Services, Azure Active Directory and Azure Virtual Network, and is engineered for global availability, massive scalability, security and reliability.  The control plane and store front for the application run in Microsoft Azure, but the applications and data could reside in another cloud or local data center.

Citrix said Workspace Services will leverage the open architecture of Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop virtual app and desktop delivery.

Citrix Workspace Services will be available as a technology preview with cloud desktops in the second half of 2014.  Pricing was not disclosed.

Citrix noted that some cloud providers may differentiate their workspace services by offering 3D desktop performance enhancements accelerated by GPUs.

"With Workspace Services, Citrix is building upon its leadership in DaaS to help our customers and partners more rapidly take advantage of cloud delivery to create complete mobile workspaces for their users. Workspace Services gives customers and partners what no other vendor can, a choice in clouds, the ability to deliver a wide range of workspace services, with the high-definition user experience that users have come to expect from Citrix," stated Mitch Parker, Vice President and General Manager, Citrix Cloud Services.

Cisco Supports new Citrix Workspace Suite

Cisco announced its support for the new Citrix Workspace Suite, which simplifies how organizations provide highly secure and optimized access to apps, data, communications and services on any device from networked locations.

The Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrix is an end-to-end solution that delivers application and desktop virtualization as well as highly secure mobile access control and enterprise mobility management (EMM), including enterprise file sharing. The combined solution is customizable and can be deployed in part or comprehensively to meet the broadest range of work styles and business requirements.

“Our alliance with Cisco spans many years, and as Cisco’s first mobile workspace partner, we share a common vision of helping customers embrace mobility by seamlessly uniting our technologies to deliver a solution that enables better ways of working. Today, we are delivering on that vision and offering customers a powerful solution that enhances user experience and productivity while simplifying and securing IT infrastructure in a cost-effective manner,” stated Sudhakar Ramakrishna, senior vice president and general manager, Enterprise and Service Provider Division, Citrix.

Verizon Delivers LTE for Schindler's Remote Monitoring Center

Verizon announced an agreement with Schindler Elevator Corp. to provide 4G LTE network coverage for Schindler's Remote Monitoring Center (SRM), which monitors a variety of operational features on elevator and escalator equipment 24/7 to detect changes in performance. When equipment malfunctions are found, SRM relays the intelligence and diagnostics to a Schindler technician so they can correct the issue faster than traditional troubleshooting methods, and often before the customer even becomes aware of the problem. Schindler is one of the only manufacturers able to provide remote monitoring on any brand of elevator or escalator equipment.

tw telecom Expands Fiber Network Across Los Angeles

tw telecom is expanding its existing footprint in Los Angeles, including fiber rollouts from Santa Monica, into West LA and down into the southern communities of LA County.  tw telecom now serves  business communities across Los Angeles including Century City, El Segundo, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood and other areas of West Los Angeles, with its Business Ethernet and Intelligent Network capabilities.

"The introduction of several new products, access to a wide range of real estate commercial building portfolios, new building construction, and customer demand has helped fuel new demand for our network solutions," said Dan Cross, vice president and general manager, tw telecom Los Angeles.

Cyan Posts Q1 Sales of $19 Million

Cyan reported Q1 2014 revenue of $19.0 million compared with $26.3 million in the first quarter of 2013 and $20.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2013. GAAP net loss for the first quarter was $17.8 million, or $0.38 per share, compared with a net loss of $9.4 million, or $3.61 per share, in the same period last year, and a net loss of $13.7 million, or $0.29 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2013.

“In 2014 we are seeing industry momentum accelerate as servicer providers are announcing initiatives to transform their networks with SDN and NFV technologies,” said Mark Floyd, Cyan’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We believe Cyan is well positioned in the market and has a unique, first mover advantage in helping customers to orchestrate both network and virtualized resources across multi-domain, multi-vendor networks.”

Monday, May 5, 2014

Nokia And Juniper Networks Collaborate on SDN + NFV

Nokia and Juniper Networks announced an expanded partnership to deliver virtualized network platforms for mobile operators.  The deal covers Nokia's Liquid Core solution, including network function virtualization (NFV) and telco cloud management and orchestration, and Juniper's MetaFabric data center architecture, including Contrail -- Juniper's network virtualization and cloud network automation solution based on software-defined networking (SDN).

The companies said their bundled solution will provide operators with an open ecosystem telco cloud solution, based on Open
Stack, offering automated application deployment, software defined application connectivity and network management. The solution would also comply with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute Network Functions Virtualization (ETSI NFV) end-to-end reference architecture.

Key elements include:

  • Nokia will provide its Liquid Core application suites with the existing multi-platform software, which reutilizes all the investments previously done in localized/customized software functionalities. Liquid Core is implemented as virtualized network functions (e.g., virtualized Mobile Management Entity (MME), virtualized IMS, virtualized Home Subscriber Server (HSS)). Liquid Core also includes Nokia's cloud-ready NetAct network management solution and Cloud Application Manager, which brings the required orchestration functions to build end-to-end services like voice over LTE (VoLTE) or evolved packet core (EPC) in the cloud.
  • The Juniper Networks MetaFabric architecture and Contrail SDN/NFV controller will enable operators to create a High-IQ mobile edge that is secure, automated and scalable to support the rapid creation of new services based on actionable intelligence. MetaFabric together with Contrail will enable an open and cost effective cloud infrastructure solution that readily integrates with Juniper's portfolio of high-performance networking platforms.
  • In addition to the technology components, Nokia is also providing its end-to-end services to help operators implement their own telco clouds and migrate existing telco services to cloud-based networks. This broad portfolio of services, some of which will tap into Juniper's expertise, will enable operators to reduce time to value and address the complete lifecycle from assessment, design, implementation and operational support. 

"Nokia is a pioneer in telco cloud mobile networking solutions, establishing an unmatched track record in telco cloud innovation," said Rajeev Suri, president and CEO of Nokia. "By collaborating with Juniper, we are taking the next step together, enabling operators to take full advantage of the cloud with a clear path towards the robustness and scale of interconnected datacenters."

"Rapid adoption of LTE and the 4G mobile core opens up a wealth of opportunities for new service creation for our customers," said Shaygan Kheradpir, CEO of Juniper Networks. "We believe operators need a High-IQ mobile edge that connects their infrastructure to the telco cloud and leverages network and service virtualization throughout. Nokia and Juniper are focused on providing open networking solutions that matter most to mobile operators to enable carriers to become Cloud Builders in order to speed service delivery and optimize their cloud networks."

Brocade and Ciena Team on Orchestration

Brocade and Ciena are demonstrating a cloud orchestration solution that provides dynamic resource provisioning between data centers.

The jointly-developed solution, which is being shown at this week's EMC World conference in Las Vegas, leverages the Brocade Application Resource Broker (ARB) to automate resources between data centers and Ciena's V-WAN application for dynamic network transport. It also enables customers to dynamically change network topology and computing resources in a matter of seconds, in any location.

Ciena and Brocade will also show how seamless integration of virtual machine (VM) creation with network services helps ensure adherence to service level agreements (SLAs). In addition, the solution allows separate polices of each application to be maintained allowing fine-grained tuning of thresholds and actions, and the ability to expand or contract resources to align with changing conditions, under policy and with security.

"The demands placed on the network today are escalating at an astounding rate that requires organizations of all types to have a more agile and automated infrastructure. Brocade and Ciena have developed a joint, multilayer solution that leverages the Brocade Application Resource Broker to dynamically automate resources between data centers in seconds, increasing flexibility and controlling capital costs," stated Ken Cheng, CTO and VP Corporate Development and Emerging Business, Brocade.

Symantec Unveils New Advanced Threat Protection

Symantec announced a new approach to advanced threat protection (ATP) that correlate alerts and intelligence across a range of security technologies to deliver more comprehensive attack prevention.  The company said this holistic approach transforms the complex fight against advanced threats into a manageable function that delivers stronger protection and more value to businesses. The company’s new ATP efforts will be informed by what Symantec has learned about advanced threats though its existing endpoint solutions that protect a base of 200 million endpoints, and from its current email and web security solutions that review over 8.4 billion email messages and 1.7 billion web requests a day.

“There is a significant need in the market for greater advanced threat protection, and many vendors do not have the holistic coverage or full-functionality needed to adequately detect and respond to targeted attacks,” said Jon Oltsik, senior principal analyst, Enterprise Security Group (ESG). “Symantec is well positioned to deliver an end-to-end advanced threat solution by building on the technologies it offers today, integrating across its portfolio, and delivering it as a service enhanced by an evolving partner ecosystem. By leveraging its global intelligence and building-in completely new incident response capabilities, Symantec can really address a multitude of enterprise cybersecurity requirements.”

The next piece in Symantec’s ATP approach is Symantec Managed Security Services - Advanced Threat Protection (MSS-ATP), a managed service that significantly reduces the time it takes to detect, prioritize and respond to security incidents by producing integration between its endpoint security and third-party network security vendors’ products. The service launches next month.

Symantec also highlighted an Advanced Threat Protection Alliance that currently includes Check Point Software Technologies, Palo Alto Networks and Sourcefire (now part of Cisco). Through this ecosystem, the detection and correlation of malicious network and endpoint activity helps substantially reduce false alerts by pinpointing the important incidents, empowering customers to respond faster to the most critical incidents.

Supermicro's Atom-powered MicroBladess with Pluribus SDN Switching

Pluribus Networks, a start-up developing an open architecture that converges compute, network, storage, and virtualization into a highly programmable, merchant silicon-based platform, is deploying its Netvisor network operating system on Supermicro’s MicroBlade microserver platform switching blades.  The 6U 112 node Intel Atom-based MicroBlade features integrated 10/40 GbE Intel FM5224 Ethernet switches for ultra high-density server deployments.

The integrated switches featuring SDN capability will now run Pluribus Netvisor, offering functionality such as sophisticated Layer 2+ and high-availability across multiple switch modules within the MicroBlade chassis via the Netvisor’s fabric-cluster.  Multiple MicroBlade chassis may interconnect via the fabric-cluster offering a single point of management and powerful analytics, while distributing the switching intelligence ‘in-rack’ as opposed to at a single point at the top-of-rack.

“Our strategic relationship with Supermicro brings together breakthrough server technology and Netvisor inNetwork services for data center deployments looking for maximum density, performance, and availability” said Kumar Srikantan, president and CEO of Pluribus Networks.  “It redefines the way enterprises and cloud operators deploy infrastructure and services in today’s highly competitive environment, while at the same time introduces the first turn-key and supportable solution to this segment of the market.”

Mavenir Launches Mobile Voice and Messaging Client

Mavenir Systems released a mobile voice and messaging client software for handsets and tablets that is designed to allow mobile operators to differentiate their Voice over LTE (VoLTE), Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) and Rich Communication Services (RCS).

The client is based on the GSMA and OMA standards and is interoperable with RCS and IMS-based VoIP networks. Android and iOS versions are available. It implements an intuitive graphical user interface blending RCS, CPM, legacy messaging and voice or video telephony services into a coherent communication user experience. The client also seamlessly integrates with Mavenir’s Converged Video and Voicemail solution using Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) based Visual Voicemail (VVM) functionality.

Mavenir confirmed that is already has 2 tier one customers for its client.

“We are expanding our portfolio to provide mobile operators with comprehensive end-to-end IMS-based voice and messaging solutions for the rapid deployment of VoWiFi and RCS services,” said Pardeep Kohli, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mavenir Systems. “Mavenir’s extensible and configurable client solution gives operators the option of rolling out and offering new features and services without lengthy and costly development cycles.”

tw telecom Announces Bay Area Network Expansion

tw telecom is undertaking a major expansion of its fiber network in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Bay Area expansion, including San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, is part of a national multi-market effort by the company to expand its metro fiber footprint across the country.

tw telecom now delivers direct fiber-based service to more than 30 commercial data centers in the region. Its Its Northern California network extends from south of San Jose to San Francisco, throughout the East Bay into Oakland and Walnut Creek, and north into Sacramento.

"The explosion of growth in the Bay Area tech economy, the renaissance occurring in commercial office parks in the South Bay, as well as increased customer demand for our network services is fueling this expansion," said Dave Ellebrecht, vice president and general manager, tw telecom. "The power, resiliency and security of the tw telecom network resonates with our existing Bay Area customer base. This expansion will enable us to broadly deploy services to meet the growing need for high-bandwidth networking solutions."