Alcatel-Lucent has created a business venture that plans to use software defined networking (SDN) to address data centre networking bottlenecks. The internal start-up, Nuage Networks, is tackling network connectivity within and between data centres.
Networking in the data centre connects computing and storage resources. Servers and storage have largely undergone virtualisation such that networking is now the main impediment. Virtual machines on servers that run applications can be enabled within seconds or minutes, but may have to wait days before network connectivity is established, says Houman Modarres, senior director product marketing at Nuage Networks.
Nuage’s has developed its virtualised services platform (VSP), based on software-defined networking (SDN), to solve two key networking constraints. “We are making the network instantiation automated and instantaneous rather than slow, cumbersome, complex and manual,” said Modarres. “And rather than optimise locally, such as parts of the data centre, we are making it boundless.”
“It [the Nuage platform] is a good approach,” said Joe Skorupa, vice president and distinguished analyst, data center convergence, data center, at Gartner. “It should scale well, integrate with the WAN and provide agility.”
The VSP comprises three elements: the virtualised services directory, the virtualised services controller and the virtual routing and switching module, each residing at a different layer of the network.
At the top, cloud services management plane, is the virtualised services directory (VSD), a policy and analytics engine that allows the cloud service provider to partition the network for each customer or group of tenants.
The layer below, the data centre control plane, is where the VSC sits. As the SDN controller, the VSC is the control element that communicates with the data plane using the OpenFlow open standard.
The data path layer is where the third element resides: the virtual routing and switching (VRS) module. This is located on the servers, enabling the virtual machines to communicate to enable applications rapidly.
Gartner expects this to be a market with many innovative companies competing for customers’ business.
“It [Nuage’s product] will help drive innovation and enable managed services providers to roll out new services,” said Skorupa. However, he stresses the market is in its infancy and customer acceptance remains unknown.
By Roy Rubenstein