Thursday, October 15, 2015

Blueprint: The Age of Swiss Army Knife Transponder

by Dr. Danish Rafique and Dr. Maxim Kuschnerov, Coriant
What does the term flexibility signify for the optical transport business? In today’s market space, this is a challenging question, as the degrees of freedom are practically limitless. Over the last decades, the industry has exclusively focused primarily on increasing transport bandwidth or overall capacity per fiber. However, simple bit loading beyond 100G interfaces has resulted in significantly curtailed transmission reach, challenging the industry to shake off the uni-dimensional approach to transport network design. This not only necessitates strategic technology advances to support rising bandwidth demands, but also to understand and exploit the synergy between innovation and service-conscious network evolution. Under these circumstances, the questions then arise as to which applications can leverage new interconnectivity architectures. To what extent does the transponder need to be flexible? What is the impact on legacy platforms, and associated CAPEX/OPEX?
The following is a look at how a new breed of flexi-rate/flexi-grid technologies will ultimately transform the way network operators plan and implement high-speed transport networks.
The Swiss Army Knife Transponder: Technologies and Tradeoffs
The introduction of flexible terminal equipment, allowing dynamic network design and functionality, is a big leap forward from traditional static network operations. The goal is not only to simply introduce a new set of technologies, but to remain cost-competitive and win customers by aiming at the right network application (Figure 1). Unfortunately, the majority of the industry learnt this the hard way when 200G 16QAM flexible coherent platforms were introduced in 2014 as a sole successor to 100G, promising double the transport capacity on the same chip, however failing to do so in the originally targeted core network space. Follow-up products targeted additional flexibility, addressing sweet spots in most core networks with the intermediate modulation scheme 150G 8QAM. A close inspection reveals that these platforms offer the right evolutionary path to true transponder flexibility, as the multi-format architecture synergizes the transport capacity with the appropriate network application, consequently hitting the early-stage flexibility sweet spot.
Figure 1. Optical transport network domains
Figure 2 (top) extends the concept of first-generation flexible line interfaces, introducing the flexible Swiss Army Knife Transponder, a multi-flex platform, enabling full programmability and flexibility, alongside the desired bandwidth upturn beyond 200G. The technology choices include multi-format solutions –allowing line-rates ranging from conventional 100G to 1T and beyond, to adaptive coding schemes and advanced signal processing algorithms. These advanced technology tools consolidate both traditional telecommunication carriers and over-the-top (OTT) content providers, and furthermore allow for scalable and dynamic bandwidth and service provisioning.
Figure 2. The Multi-flex transponder: Technology options, C-band capacity,
costs, and applications in optical transport networks. (*Inter-city)
It is important to understand that in this era, it is not about a scrimmage between the optical layer and the DSP chipset functionality, but about how the overall architecture is cost-effectively developed to target a range of network applications. Figure 2 (bottom) presents a consolidated view on applications of various modulation schemes, considering C-band capacity and network domains – based on transmission distance and cost. It is clear that while lower-order modulation will remain the workhorse for niche ultra-long haul links, the most vibrant part of network will range from short reach Data Center Interconnect (DCI) to core/backbone networks, where tradeoffs of higher-order traffic will come into play.
It is worth noting that the industry is already witnessing a shift from largely static platforms as different applications continue to necessitate diverse and ever evolving requirements on form factor, cost per bit and per light path, transport capacity, power consumption, and time-to-market, etc.
Coriant Field Trial at Orange, France: Multi-Flex in Action
How far in the future are these Swiss Army Knife Transponders then? Are equipment vendors serious about it, or is it just another overly hyped topic? The short and rather sweet answer is that the technology and architectures are already being rigorously tested in live field environments. As shown in Figure 3, first prototypes were recently showcased by Coriant, together with the Tier 1 network operator Orange, where a fully flexible transponder was shown to be operational over a live link connecting cities of Lyon and Marseille, spanning a distance of over 750 kilometers.   
Figure 3: Live field demonstration of a Swiss Army Knife Transponder over the Orange network in France
Looking closer at the details of the field trial, multiple modulation formats and line rates were propagated over 750 km, using technologies discussed in Figure 2. The trial not only marked 1T line rates but, uniquely, also showcased switchable transmission of QPSK to 64QAM over 750km, emulating an alien traffic upgrade scenario. These results assert the prospect of the concept and underlying technologies of flexible transceivers, where C-band capacity of 38.4T was achieved using 64QAM, quadruple of commercial 100G interfaces, over metro/regional-type distances.
So, is 64QAM the new 16QAM? The answer is both yes and no, as it depends on the target application scenario. For instance, while 16QAM is typically positioned as a capacity workhorse with moderate transmission reach, 64QAM may beat it for short-reach ultra high capacity solutions, conversely, for market segments bridging distances beyond 100km, 16QAM may still be a format of choice. In general, we would argue against this uni-dimensional thought process, and stress on the flexibility of the transponder, together with streamlined architecture and implementation.
Multi-Flex Transceivers and SDN/NFV: The Bigger Picture
As revenue streams become challenged, service providers are cautious in making decisions on technology upgrades and future network deployments, in part out of fear locking their investments to a new and widely hyped technology. Considering the bigger picture, SDN and NFV are two of the latest industry trends which go hand-in-hand with the concept of flexible transceivers, enabling the management of the entire network (Layer 0 up) through a centralized control system. The key drivers behind these solutions are openness, time-to-market, and CAPEX. This is where the industry needs to make a shift in their thinking, deviating from closed vendor-locked platforms to faster, cheaper, and more open interfaces. Similar to other technology industries, the differentiator need not be technology per se, but how one leverages it as a unit.
One thing is clear - the way forward to flexible transceivers is not a linear evolution of the conventional design cycle. Figure 4 (left) shows a few technologies which may serve as an enabler for flexible transceiver platforms, based on their performance, programmability, and cost. The conventional approach of multiple vendors going after in-house ASIC chipsets is often considered a performance efficient solution; however, it is also the least favorable in terms of time-to-market, and potentially the most expensive option. On the other end of the horizon sits multi-core CPU- and GPU-based processing units, highly flexible and cheap, but with a downside of performance and power dissipation. Taking these tradeoffs into account, it is likely that a dynamic open-source solution will be required in the near future. In this context, ASSP may fit the bill, being able to perform specialized functions across multiple network domains, at the same time being interoperable with multiple system vendors.
Figure 4. Technologies and tradeoffs for fully flexible Network (left). Migration actions
and associated timelines for optical transport networks
The industry is quickly adopting the first-generation of flexible transceivers in the form of flexi-rate and flexi-grid solutions. At this point in time there is a growing recognition of dynamic network services, necessitating full programmability and flexibility of transport resources across the entire transport layer stack with, for example, standard-based OpenFlow interfaces down to the transport layer. Figure 4 (right) illustrates migration actions for near term, medium term, and long term deployments, and associated CAPEX/OPEX requirements. Given the scale of this migration, it must follow a gradual roadmap, carefully streamlining the architecture, and making it future-proof. The choice of architecture – considering the tradeoff between OPEX and CAPEX or return on investments in a given market space – will be the secret sauce behind the new deployments.
All in all, the optical transport business is entering into an interesting phase of reform and consolidation. While the industry is breaking away from the traditional mindset, the key to success in future high-capacity optical connectivity will lie in opening up Pandora’s Box of flexibility, while still being able to reasonably tame the complexity underneath. The openness of future optical platforms must go hand-in-hand with an easy deployment, intuitive operation and easy scalability across multiple network domains. The next war in telecom will be won at the orchestration layer of connectivity and switching, but can only be enabled by a truly flexible and feature-rich interface design.

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OpenStack Liberty Release Enhances Manageability & Scalability

The OpenStack Foundation announced the 12th version of the most widely deployed open source software for building clouds.

The OpenStack Liberty release, which is now available for download, brings a number of key improvements, including finer-grained management controls, performance enhancements for large deployments and more powerful tools for managing new technologies like containers in production environment. Some highlights:

Enhanced Manageability - Finer-grained access controls and simpler management features, such as common library adoption and better configuration management, have been added in direct response to the requests of OpenStack cloud operators. The new version also adds role-based access control (RBAC) for the Heat orchestration and Neutron networking projects. These controls allow operators to fine tune security settings at all levels of network and orchestration functions and APIs.

Simplified Scalability - performance and stability improvements that include the initial version of Nova Cells v2, which provides an updated model to support very large and multi-location compute deployments. Additionally, Liberty users will see improvements in the scalability and performance of the Horizon dashboard, Neutron networking Cinder block storage services and during upgrades to Nova’s compute services.

Extensibility to Support New Technologies - OpenStack is a single, open source platform for management of the three major cloud compute technologies; virtual machines, containers and bare metal instances. The software also is a favorite platform for organizations implementing NFV (network functions virtualization) services in their networking topologies. Liberty advances the software’s capabilities in both areas with new features like an extensible Nova compute scheduler, a network Quality of Service (QoS) framework and enhanced LBaaS (load balancing as a service).

Container support - Liberty also brings the first full release of the Magnum containers management project, which supports container cluster management tools Kubernetes, Mesos and Docker Swarm. Magnum makes it easier to adopt container technology by tying into existing OpenStack services such as Nova, Ironic and Neutron. Further improvements are planned with new project, Kuryr, which integrates directly with native container networking components such as libnetwork.

Heat orchestration project - adds dozens of new resources for management, automation and orchestration of the expanded capabilities in Liberty. Improvements in management and scale, including APIs to expose what resources and actions are available, all filtered by RBAC are included in the new release.

Nokia Lands Big TD-LTE-Advanced deal with China Mobile

China Mobile has awarded a contract to Nokia Networks to deploy one million TD-LTE base stations by the end of 2015. The contract further expands its TD-LTE footprint with deployment of Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Stations across the country, supporting 18 provinces and mega cities including Beijing, Guangdong and Shanghai.

Nokia Networks is now the largest non-Chinese vendor. The new deal marks the third phase of an ongoing TD-LTE deployment with China Mobile and another milestone in the successful co-operation between the two companies. 

Accton Contributes Design of 100 Gigabit Ethernet Switch to OCP

Accton Technology Corp. will open source through the Open Compute Project (OCP) the design of its AS7500-32X 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) open network switch, the first switch design contributed to OCP based on the Cavium XPliant switch ASIC.

The AS7500-32X Cavium-based switch design uses the same physical switch packaging, including x86 CPU processor modules, power supplies, fans and enclosure, as the AS7700-32X 100GbE switch design which Accton contributed to the OCP in March.

Accton’s subsidiary, Edgecore Networks, is now offering prototype units of the AS7500-32X 100GbE open network switch for evaluation and software development. The switch has thirty-two QSFP28 ports in a 1U form factor, with each port supporting 100GbE, 2x50GbE, 40GbE, 4x25GbE or 4x10GbE connections. It supports the following OCP open source software:

Open Network Install Environment (ONIE), the universal Network Operating System (NOS) loader, which enables automated loading of compatible commercial and open-source NOS software;
Open Network Linux, an open-source reference OS platform for organizations developing and customizing switch software applications; and Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI), a standard interface to ASICs from multiple vendors, allowing greater portability and faster introduction of NOS and application software for open switches.

“Cloud data center operators, telecommunications service providers and enterprises are all planning the deployment of next generation 25GbE and 100GbE infrastructures that can support increased capacity and services delivery with the automation, choice and control that open infrastructures provide,” said George Tchaparian, GM Data Center Networks at Accton Technology and CEO at Edgecore Networks. “Accton’s contribution of our second 100GbE switch design to OCP, and the industry’s first OCP contribution based on the Cavium XPliant switch ASIC, will further expand open network choices for use cases ranging from cloud data center fabrics and data center interconnect to central offices, Internet Exchanges, monitoring and analytics networks, and web-scale enterprises.”

Menara Ships 120 km 10 Gbps Transceivers with OTN & FEC

Menara Networks introduced an optical transceiver based on its OTN “System-in-module” DWDM XFP platform and featuring up to 120 km reach with integrated Forward Error Correction and advanced monitoring capabilities.

Menara said it achieves 120 km reach on standard single mode fiber without the need for optical amplification and/or dispersion compensation. The unamplified 120 km reach is achieved as a result of Menara’s superior performance of its optical transmitter and receiver designs, and the integrated Forward Error Correction coding gain afforded by Menara’s proprietary integrated circuit. Menara 10 Gbps XFP 120 km reach transceivers are MSA compliant and Telcordia qualified, compatible with both 10G Ethernet and 9.96 Gbps SONET/SDH line rates, consume under 3.5 Watts, and are compatible with all major routers and MPLS switches in the industry.

Ericsson Announces 802.11ac Cable Wi-Fi AP

Ericsson introduced the first 802.11ac Wave 2 access point.  The new Ericsson AP 6335 strand-mounted cable access point uses a DOCSIS modem for backhaul and multi-user MIMO for increased network capacity. It mounts directly on the hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) line to connect both power and backhaul. The AP 6335, part of Ericsson’s leading small cell portfolio, enables network deployment flexibility through standards-based protocols including Passpoint Release 2.0 and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

The company said it has shipped more than 100,000 cable Wi-Fi access points shipped globally to date.

Ericsson to acquire Ericpol, a Software Developer

Ericsson will acquire Ericpol, a software developer with operations in Poland and Ukraine.

Ericpol, which has approximately 2,000 employees, has been a supplier to Ericsson for over 20 years. Ericsson has been its largest customer by far.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Layer123: Verizon Expands Secure Cloud Interconnect Internationally

Verizon Enterprise Solutions announced a significant expansion of its Secure Cloud Interconnect service to Latin America and to additional sites in Europe and the U.S.

Verizon’s Secure Cloud Interconnect service, a software-defined networking offering, helps enterprises seamlessly connect, manage and secure their cloud environments that often extend across multiple clouds and data centers around the globe.

In total, Secure Cloud Interconnect service now offers secure, private connections to six cloud providers (Amazon Web Services, Google, HP, Microsoft Azure Express Route for Microsoft Office 365/Skype for Business/Government Cloud, Salesforce; Verizon ) and three data center providers (Equinix, CoreSite, and Verizon) at more than 30 global locations in the Americas, Latin America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

“Verizon’s Secure Cloud Interconnect allows users to connect to applications simply, securely and reliably,” said Shawn Hakl, vice president of enterprise networking and innovation for Verizon. “SCI customers will find our solution delivers an unbeatable combination of performance, security and efficiency to help enable their digital transformation while reducing the complexity often associated with cloud computing.”

Verizon’s Secure Cloud Interconnect global footprint:

  • Amazon Web Services: Sao Paulo; Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and New York; Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo; London and Frankfurt, Germany 
  • Google: Chicago and Denver; and Hong Kong and Singapore 
  • HP: Atlanta (2); and Frankfurt and Russelsheim, Germany
  • Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute and Microsoft ExpressRoute for Office 365: Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C.; London; Hong Kong and Sydney
  • Chicago and San Jose, Calif. 
  • Verizon Cloud: Sao Paulo; Culpeper, Va., Denver, Miami; and Santa Clara, Calif.; and London and Amsterdam.
  • Future expansion plans include a significant build out in the Asia-Pacific region slated to be completed this fall. 

Verizon Enterprise Solutions also announced the expansion of the Secure Cloud Interconnect in the public sector. The service – now available at more than 30 locations across the Americas, Latin America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region –  supports cloud (public, private and hybrid) and colocation solutions from a growing roster of connected cloud providers.

Layer123: Softbank Deploys Cisco Evolved Services Platform

Softbank is deploying Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP) Orchestration, software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) technologies to support its White Cloud SmartVPN.

The Softbank service offers enterprise customers a differentiated network service with a selection of multi-vendor networking equipment offerings. The White Cloud SDN creates software-controlled service chains in which traffic is steered through the appropriate security functions for a given flow, based on customer profile, service type or other parameter. A self-service online portal gives customers a simple way to select security policies and scalable network services associated with changes of business requirements.

Softbank is using Cisco's Network Services Orchestrator (NSO) enabled by Tail-f for the provisioning of both its physical and virtual elements.  Cisco said its enhanced architecture reduces the time to deployment for new enterprise services from weeks to minutes, while allowing for greater elasticity of customer demand by utilizing service chaining of new virtual network functions. Using strict, standardized YANG models for both services and devices, NSO automates all of the multi-vendor devices, making it easy to change and reconfigure services on-demand, without time-consuming and error-prone manual effort.

Softbank has also deployed Cisco’s Virtual Topology System to stitch the dynamic service chains within the data center.  The Cisco Virtual Topology System is a standards-based, open software-overlay management and provisioning system. It automates data center network fabric provisioning for virtual and physical infrastructure.

"Our new Cisco architecture has enabled us to dramatically increase our ability to provide highly responsive customer experience,” said Sadahiro Sato senior vice president of ICT innovation, Softbank. “The flexibility and open nature of the Cisco Evolved Services Platform will equip us with the tools to innovate new services at a rapid pace and keep ahead of our competition. Automation and elasticity on demand will also help us dramatically reduce both our operating and capital costs as we grow the offering.”

“We are delighted to partner with Softbank to unlock network innovation and accelerate service creation and deployment,” said Gee Rittenhouse senior vice president of cloud and virtualization, Cisco. “Softbank was able to leverage an open, modular multi-vendor architecture that suites its specific needs by utilizing Orchestration, NFV and SDN products from Cisco’s Evolved Services Platform. This new business solution is an exciting opportunity for Cisco to work with such an innovative and customer-centric service provider.”

Layer123: Telstra, HP, F5 Networks and Nuage Demo ETSI NFV

Telstra, HP, F5 Networks and Nuage Networks demonstrated a Networks Functions Virtualization (NFV) proof of concept (PoC) solution that has been certified by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) at this week's SDN & OpenFlow World Congress in Düsseldorf, Germany.

The ETSI PoC #38 showcases:

  • Full ISO 7-layer stack fulfillment, activation and orchestration of virtual network functions in carrier networks.
  • How NFV and SDN technologies can be complimentary in providing compelling value proposition to the carriers to be able to deploy services faster and also to be able scale capacity elastically on demand.
  • 18 specific use cases highlighting the advantages of deploying F5 virtualized network functions in a multi-vendor environment.
  • Integration of F5 BIG-IP technologies with HP NFV Director and HP Helion CloudSystem for the comprehensive end-to-end lifecycle management of virtualized network functions, including VNF instantiation, provisioning, orchestration and service assurance.
  • Integration of F5 virtualized network functions with Nuage Networks Virtual Services Platform (VSP) to enable service insertion and traffic toward the appropriate services independent of their location. VSP ensures data paths between VNFs have consistent communications and security policy enforcement throughout the infrastructure.

“Telstra has a strong working relationship with HP and other organizations, with the goal of furthering our NFV strategies and programs through proof of concepts and field trials. Partnering with multiple vendors helps us to deliver impactful virtualization and orchestration capabilities within a flexible architectural framework. As service providers look to build seamless Application Delivery Networks, vendors that have qualified their technologies with the industry’s standardization groups are seen as more attractive to customers.” – David Robertson, Director, Transport & Routing Engineering, Networks, Telstra Operations

Layer123: BTI Debuts Virtual Network Edge for its Packet/Optical

BTI Systems introduced a virtual network edge solution for its metro packet/optical portfolio.

The BTI 7800 Virtual Network Edge, which enables next-generation broadband services delivery, leverages the high density and massively scalable, SDN-enabled BTI 7800 Series metro packet-optical platform. BTI said it is pursuing a unique architectural approach by integrating virtualization software in an open and converged network infrastructure platform that has been purpose-built for the metro cloud. BTI integrates optical transport and wire-speed routing with applications software in an open system that supports rapid development using third-party commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) compute blades and open carrier-grade Linux OS.

Key features of the BTI 7800 Virtual Network Edge solution:

  • A high-performance packet-optical transport platform integrated with a NFV applications plane, and sharing a common non-blocking switch fabric, power, cooling and management for efficiencies and cost savings;
  • Scalable performance and economics by leveraging best-of-breed merchant silicon and horizontally-scalable COTS compute in a multi-slot chassis design;
  • Increased service velocity and innovation with open management interfaces (NETCONF/YANG, RESTful APIs and OpenFlow), an open NFV plane (COTS compute, X.86 processor, carrier-grade Linux OS) and open standard SDN control (OpenDaylight today);
  • Flexible hosting of BTI or third-party Virtual Network Functions for services innovation and differentiation; 
  • Central-Office ready architecture with full redundancy, NEBS3, DC (and AC) power and minimal cabling;
  • Fast service deployment backed by an agile, responsive and experienced professional services organization.

BTI is showcasing the Virtual Network Edge solution at this week's Layer123 SDN & OpenFlow World Congress in a Proof-of-Concept demo with Active Broadband Network’s Virtual Broadband Network Gateway (vBNG).  The companies will feature the hosting of Active Broadband Network’s Software-Defined Virtual Network Gateway (SDN-vNG) software on the BTI 7800 Series.  Additionally, the demonstration will show the Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) capabilities integrated in the BTI 7800 Series platform, being controlled and managed from an OpenDaylight SDN controller.

“Service providers are transforming their rigid, proprietary and fixed-function networks to open, virtualized and web-scalable infrastructures that enable much faster response to the historic pace of change in today’s competitive environments,” said BTI Systems Chief Technology Officer Robert Keys. “This transformation to a new architecture is happening at the network edge, and requires the use of virtualized network functionality to aggregate subscriber access traffic, including DSL, PON and Ethernet services, in a more efficient, on-demand and cost effective manner.

ONOS Project Joins Linux Foundation

The initiative to develop the Open source SDN Network Operating System (ONOS) will now be managed as a collaborative project under The Linux Foundation.

The partnership will focus on creating disruptive SDN solutions featuring open source software platforms, white boxes, a range of network control and management applications and the ability to rapidly create and deploy innovative services. By becoming a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, ONOS will leverage the Foundation’s depth of expertise in open source software project governance and community participation, significantly enhancing the project’s capabilities in the crucial strategic area of open source processes and practices.

The ONOS project and platform includes several compelling SDN/NFV solutions for service providers, a global footprint in Research and Education (R&E) networks and a growing community around the globe.

“Service providers are increasingly adopting open source software to build their networks and today are making open source and collaboration a strategic part of their business and an investment in the future,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation. “The Linux Foundation recognizes the impact the ONOS project can have on service provider networks and will help advance ONOS to achieve its potential. The partnership combines the best of the two organizations’ capabilities in support of a strategic vision to transform service provider infrastructure with open source SDN and NFV.”

“Now is the perfect time to partner with the Linux Foundation,” said Guru Parulkar, Executive Director and Board Member at ON.Lab/ONOS project. “They bring a number of resources and also provide a measure of trust and sustainability through a well-built brand that delivers extended reach to our collaborative community and accelerates innovation on an even larger scale. ONOS’ services provider, vendor, and research partners welcome the partnership and look forward to the benefits of scale, awareness and sustainability that it will provide.”

The ONOS project has issued four open source releases of ONOS since December 2014 and demonstrated its architecture’s features including scalability, high performance, high availability, modularity and the ability to support OpenFlow as well as NETCONF and other southbound protocols. The project has also demonstrated a number of service provider solutions enabled by ONOS such as CORD (Central Office Re-architected as Data Center), packet-optical convergence, SDN-IP peering, and others.

DOCOMO PACIFIC Deploys Ciena's 6500 Packet/Optical

DOCOMO PACIFIC will deploy Ciena's 6500 Packet-Optical Platform to build Guam’s first 200G network to deliver high-speed services for enterprise, government and carrier customers. The network will link all major communications hubs on the island, including three cable landing stations, via a ring-protected, underground fiber optic backbone.

With a new all-fiber optical core, powered by Ciena’s WaveLogic3 Extreme chipset, DOCOMO PACIFIC can now transport high-bandwidth traffic across a protected network with buried fiber and offer a flexible mix of 10G and 100GE services over a single 200G wavelength.

DOCOMO PACIFIC was formed through the merger of Guamcell Communications and HafaTel prior to acquisition in December 2006 by NTT DOCOMO.  DOCOMO PACIFIC officially merged with MCV Broadband and is now Guam and the CNMI's leading provider of telecommunications and entertainment services.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Layer123: ONF Predicts 2016 Will Be the Year of the Northbound Interface

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) released its annual set of networking industry predictions for 2016:

2016 is the year of the northbound interface -- ONF predicts that we will see industry agreement on, investment in, and deployment of a small number of popular NBIs. They will apply to specific use cases (such as real-time media) or operating environments (particularly relative to OpenStack). As a result, we will see the emergence of applications using these NBIs to their advantage.

Open source will be put to good use -- 2015 was a big year for open source in the SDN community. In 2016, we’ll see SDN-based enterprise production applications using the developments that began this year, including open source controllers such as the Open Network Operating System (ONOS), OpenDaylight, and Ryu; Linux networking projects like IO Visor; and the above-mentioned NBIs. ONF embarked on our own open source initiatives this past year with the development of, an open source software community and code repository. In the past eight months, the community has completed and released three projects including Atrium 2015/A, a software distribution; Aspen, a real-time NBI for multimedia traffic; and Boulder, an open source intent-based NBI. All told, there are over a dozen projects in the repository, generated by the community (including but not limited to our working groups). We expect to see these frameworks emerge in commercially available products.

Service provider adoption of SDN to expand worldwide -- Service provider adoption of SDN begin in 2015, especially in Asia (China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan). 2016 will bring about continued and expanded adoption globally because of competitive pressures and now-demonstrated advantages, with OpenFlow enabling carrier SDN beginning with optical transport and packet-optical integration, then extending up to NFV (given its high traction) and into management (as the OSS is finally disaggregated).

The intersection of SDN and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) rises to the spotlight -- It’s great to virtualize a computing function and house it in a commodity server in a data center. But to have it effect behavioral changes in the network itself requires SDN, which is based on exactly this model of separated forwarding and control; consider load balancing, ACLs, and even WAN optimization. SDN supports these virtual network functions now. Moreover, using SDN for service function chaining in the control plane – perhaps the hottest demand among NFV users – extends virtualization into the hypervisor and server itself. Thus the full benefits of aligning networking control and forwarding are best achieved with a foundation of SDN, and that requires more than just trading proprietary servers for commodity ones. In 2016, the combination of SDN and NFV will become commonplace in both carrier networks and enterprise clouds.

SDN and NFV lend a hand to 5G progress -- the role of SDN in 5G will become clear and may well be a thread that ties the multiplicity of meanings of 5G together.

“Last year we predicted that open source software would be recognized as a desirable route to network standards with vendors looking to open source communities as a way to reduce development expenses,” said Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation. “Over the past 12 months we’ve seen an increase in participation from vendors and operators alike in open source organizations helping to propel their development and ensure their deployment into networks. The industry as a whole has seen great advancements in the past year that are delivering on the initial promise of SDN. We are no longer talking about its potential; we are seeing SDN in action. ONF is proud of the progress that has been made this year, and we expect that it will lay the foundation for global advancements in 2016 and beyond.”

Layer123: Ciena Updates its Blueplanet Orchestration

Ciena unveiled key enhancements to its Blue Planet network orchestration software.

Ciena’s Blue Planet software helps service providers automate services – from creation to orchestration to delivery – across both physical and virtual domains. Key advancements include:

  • Rapid Customization and Agile Development: New container-based, micro-services architecture allows rapid customization and accelerated development of new applications, including those from third-parties and based on open-source. Blue Planet loosely couples software functions within these containers to create and enable SDN Management and Control, NFV Orchestration, and Multi-Domain Service Orchestration. The new architecture also enables disaggregation of the software stack, enabling providers to add their own services.
  • Self-Service Programmability: New TOSCA-based service templates equip providers with ‘DevOps’ style self-service programmability of resources (physical, virtual, or cross-domain) for creating, deploying, or enhancing services. This reduces professional services fees typically required by OSS or integration vendors.
  • Simplified Integration with Legacy Systems: Support for business process model and notation (BPMN) standard simplifies integration with legacy OSS/BSS systems and simplifies providers’ ability to create, integrate and operate new services. BPMN reduces network complexity and improves the ability to offer programmable, self-service tools to end-users.
  • Freedom to Choose: Blue Planet supports non-Ciena domains (e.g. access, metro, core, cloud) to deliver end-to-end service orchestration. This enables providers to select and deploy best-of-breed options at each domain without losing operational simplicity and abstraction. It also reduces vendor lock-in and ensures simple, low-cost operations across multi-vendor physical or virtual functions and domains.
  • Open and Standards-based: Blue Planet incorporates more than 15 standards or open source code bases (including Docker, LINUX, TOSCA, BPMN, Netconf/YANG, etc). Additionally, open APIs expose critical data to northbound platforms.

“More than a year ago, Ciena’s Blue Planet division (formerly Cyan), embarked on a journey to break down the software silos that are prevalent in the vendor community. Now, we’re poised to bring together SDN, NFV and service orchestration into a unified, open platform that enables service providers to leverage these cutting-edge technologies for building virtualized on-demand networks and cloud-based service offerings,” stated Mike Hatfield, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Blue Planet, Ciena.

Layer123: BT and ADVA Demo Backhaul Intensive CCTV Surveillance with NFV

At this week's SDN & OpenFlow World Congress in Düsseldorf, Germany, ADVA Optical Networking and At this week's SDN & OpenFlow World Congress in Düsseldorf, Germany, ADVA Optical Networking and BT are conducting a demonstration of managed services built upon network functions virtualization (NFV). 
The demo focusses on CCTV-based video surveillance and shows how backhaul-intensive applications such as this are currently limited by the need to centrally process enormous amounts of data. ADVA Optical Networking’s new FSP 150 ProVM, with its built-in server, underlines how these applications can use NFV at the network’s edge to decentralize processes and drastically improve application performance. The video surveillance application is supplied by ADVA Optical Networking’s partner – Alchera Technologies.

“NFV is radically altering the technology landscape. It’s presenting significant opportunities to develop new services and help enterprises take the next step in simplifying their IT operations,” said Peter Willis, chief researcher, data networks, BT. “With ADVA Optical Networking, we’re showing how simple and effective it is to decentralize services and push functionality to the edge of the network. Our video-surveillance demonstration clearly highlights the many efficiencies and enhancements that can be gained. The key to achieving this is the ADVA FSP 150 ProVM. This new technology enables us to add applications directly at the edge of the network in the demarcation device. The potential here is enormous.”

Layer123: ADVA Intros FSP 150 ProVM NFV Box

ADVA Optical Networking introduced its FSP 150 ProVM product family, a new generation of edge network functions virtualization (NFV) technology that combines Carrier Ethernet 2.0 and IP demarcation with an internal server that can host virtual network applications.

The ADVA FSP 150 ProVM is a completely open solution that includes standardized interfaces based on OpenFlow, OpenStack and Netconf/YANG.

ADVA said the close integration of control and management systems with the underlying hardware creates strong synergies between physical and virtual network functions, resulting in optimum performance. The company's ConnectGuard features add robust encryption, tamper resistance and network isolation with access control lists.

“Service providers are standing on the edge of a new era of revenue opportunity. NFV presents them with a real chance to dramatically increase the managed services they sell,” said Christoph Glingener, CTO, ADVA Optical Networking. “The key to success here is in the implementation. Our new FSP 150 ProVM is the only carrier-grade VNF solution in the industry that combines extensive, hardware-assisted service assurance with virtual application hosting. And this is critical. Service providers need the same level of operations, administration and maintenance as they have with their existing demarcation technology. Without this, they’ll lack critical functionality. NFV at the edge of the network needs assurance, openness and security – three vital ingredients and our FSP 150 ProVM has them all. There can be no question that this technology will be an important component of NFV-centric networks.”

VMware Releases vCloud NFV platform

VMware announced the general availability of its vCloud NFV platform, which brings together the core virtualization and management components required for NFV deployment in multi-vendor, multi-function environments. The vCloud NFV platform supports more than 40 virtual network functions from 30 different VNF vendors. VMware vCloud NFV includes the following components:

  • Production-Proven NFVI Solutions: VMware vSphere delivers high performance, scale and availability for mobility and fixed line services in the cloud. VMware Virtual SAN is fully integrated into the VMware stack to support the most demanding mobile core and IMS functions, delivering better performance than a virtual appliance or external device for supporting the storage requirements of network functions and services. VMware NSX provides critical L2/L3 networking features in software to help CSPs realize the benefits of server virtualization for the entire data center / central office construct.
  • Openness and Choice in Cloud Management: VMware provides flexible options for virtual infrastructure management (VIM) through VMware vCloud Director-SP and VMware Integrated OpenStack. VMware vCloud Director addresses NFV needs through new self-service provisioning capabilities, vApp enhancements and tenant throttling. VMware Integrated OpenStack is Kilo-based, and includes load-balancing as a service (LBaaS), Ceilometer and Heat Auto Scaling to make VMware-based OpenStack clouds more scalable, performant and resilient.
  • Service Assurance with Day 2 and Ongoing Operations: VMware offers CSPs fully integrated and unified operations tools to deliver ongoing service assurance for multi-tenant network functions. 

VMware also announced a new NFV accreditation program and new carrier-grade services delivered by VMware and VMware partners.

The VMware Ready program designates VMware’s highest level of endorsement for products and solutions created by the company's established partners, and accreditation builds customer confidence and accelerates partner opportunity. Initial partners committing to the VMware Ready NFV Program include Affirmed Networks, Brocade, Metaswitch, Mitel, NEC, VeloCloud and Versa Networks.

“VMware’s technology is enabling leading global service providers such as Vodafone, Ooredoo, IIJ, and Vip Mobile deliver mission critical network functions spanning mobile core and cloud,” said Shekar Ayyar, corporate senior vice president and general manager, Telco NFV Group at VMware. “We are continuing to double down on our efforts to help CSPs create one consistent infrastructure environment to rapidly and securely build, run and deliver any traditional or cloud-native virtual network function.”

These solutions and partnerships will be featured this week at VMworld 2015 Europe in Barcelona.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Layer123: Radisys and Sanctum Deliver SDN-enabled Network Services Platform

Radisys announced a partnership with Sanctum Networks to deliver a carrier-class SDN-enabled network services platform that provides communication service providers (CSPs) the ability to rapidly identify, provision and create network service offerings with real-time network visibility.

The joint solution integrates Sanctum’ Jupiter SDN Controller with Radisys’ FlowEngine Intelligent Traffic Distribution System, delivering flexible programmability on control and data plane systems with seamless orchestration.  

“FlowEngine is our flagship technology for CSPs seeking to enable carrier-class SDN and NFV in their networks. Our solutions focus on delivering highly scalable and programmable data plane processing capabilities with flexible SDN control interfaces,” said Joseph Sulistyo, director of product management and strategy, Radisys. “Sanctum Networks has developed an innovative and nimble SDN controller with a well-designed user interface and dynamic network programming model. The combination of Sanctum’s intelligent SDN orchestrator and FlowEngine’s powerful data plane processing capabilities allows CSPs to provision the network and optimize service delivery in real-time as demands change, with unified integration across data, control and cloud management systems.”

Radisys and Sanctum Networks will demonstrate the integrated solution at this week's SDN and OpenFlow World Congress in Dusseldorf.

Dell/EMC Merger - Servers, Storage, Virtualization, PCs

Michael S. Dell, MSD Partners and Silver Lake announced a bid to acquire EMC Corporation for $24.05 per share in cash in addition to tracking stock linked to a portion of EMC’s economic interest in the VMware business -- a deal valued at approximately $67 billion.

The EMC Board of Directors approved the merger agreement and intends to recommend that stockholders of EMC approve the agreement.

The combination of Dell and EMC will create the world’s largest privately-controlled, integrated technology company, with leadership positions in servers, storage, virtualization and PCs. The combined company will have more than $80 billion in combined revenues.

“The combination of Dell and EMC creates an enterprise solutions powerhouse bringing our customers industry leading innovation across their entire technology environment. Our new company will be exceptionally well-positioned for growth in the most strategic areas of next generation IT including digital transformation, software-defined data center, converged infrastructure, hybrid cloud, mobile and security,” said Mr. Dell. “Our investments in R&D and innovation along with our privately-controlled structure will give us unmatched scale, strength and flexibility, deepening our relationships with customers of all sizes. I am incredibly excited to partner with the EMC, VMware, Pivotal, VCE, RSA and Virtustream teams and am personally committed to the success of our new company, our customers and partners.”

EMC and Dell said the plan is for VMware to remain a publicly traded company, with the merger accelerating VMware’s growth across all of its businesses through significant synergies with Dell’s solutions and go-to-market channels.