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Alcatel-Lucent Completes Software-Defined Networking Portfolio with New Access Switch

The Enterprise division of Alcatel-Lucent today announced its entire portfolio now supports software-defined networking (SDN) with the introduction of a new access switch and more network capabilities.

The new OmniSwitch 6860 family, featuring built-in analytics capabilities and programmability, is SDN-enabled via support for OpenFlow and OpenStack. A relatively new but quickly growing networking technology, SDN abstracts lower-level networking functionality by decoupling the control plane--which decides where network traffic goes--from the data (or forwarding) plane, which constitutes the underlying systems that actually forward the traffic. OpenFlow is an open protocol that facilitates management communication between the planes. OpenStack is another open source project featuring an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) initiative to enhance cloud computing.

With the introduction of the OmniSwitch 6860 family, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise said its entire product portfolio now has SDN capabilities, including REST APIs, OpenFlow 1.0/1.3 support and integration with OpenStack plug-ins that provide full network management. The company said its "end-to-end SDN architecture is completed in this launch with the support of SDN interfaces reaching across the access, to the core and into the datacenter, providing customers investment protection and enabling interoperability with third-party solutions."

The OmniSwitch 6860 family features deep packet inspection and policy enforcement from the network edge, so IT users, armed with more information about apps being used and the bandwidth being consumed, can immediately control optimal prioritization, quality of service and security.

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise also said its OmniVista 2500 Network Management System has been redesigned for better network analytics support and easier migration to cloud-based services. The system features multi-tenancy, a distributed architecture and open APIs providing northbound/southbound control traffic for future compatibility with an SDN architecture.

The new hardware and network capabilities are part of the company's Unified Access strategy that aims to enable a consistent wired/wireless network and app experience.

"As enterprise IT evangelizes on getting more operational efficiency from their campus network infrastructure deployments, a unified view of wired and wireless network access provides an interesting value proposition, especially when it comes to application discovery, visibility and analytics," said Rohit Mehra, vice president of Network Infrastructure at analyst firm IDC. "Aligned with one of IDC's predictions for 2014, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise's approach of enabling wired and wireless access via SDN and increased programmability will lead to an improved application and user experience that IT will want to leverage."

The Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise announcement was made at this week's Interop Las Vegas conference.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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