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SDN News: Flexible NEC Pricing, HP Cloud, Industry Predictions and More

You might need to programmatically allocate more bandwidth to handle all the recent software-defined networking (SDN) news spewing from NEC Corp. of America, VMware Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and many more industry players.

Much of the buzz is emanating from the Layer123 SDN and OpenFlow World Congress taking place this week in Dusseldorf, Germany, where an Open Networking Foundation (ONF) exec outlined that group's predictions for the SDN industry next year.

"In 2015, I predict that open source software will be recognized as not only a legitimate but the desirable route to network standards," said ONF executive director Dan Pitt in a news release. "Vendors will look to open source software as a way to reduce development expenses on things that don't meaningfully differentiate products. Network operators will begin adopting open source software directly or indirectly, or by starting a project themselves and sharing with the community to further develop it. Old networking standards folks might find this unnatural, but by now we should all know that technology moves quickly and we need to evolve or become extinct."

The ONF is a nonprofit trade organization founded in 2011 by industry heavyweights Deutsche Telekom, Facebook Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft, Verizon and Yahoo in order to advance the technology through development of standards and innovations.

Pitt emphasized the importance of open source technologies and open standards and contradicted criticisms of the ONF-managed OpenFlow communications protocol central to its SDN vision.

"I've been hearing some people say that OpenFlow is past its prime, that 'it's not available, and we don't need it anyway,' Pitt said. "This is only wishful thinking by vendors that want to deprive network operators of an open ecosystem of commodity packet-processing hardware, and software. Great hardware support of OpenFlow beyond version 1.0 has been rather long in coming, but it is coming."

In fact, Spirent Communications used the Dusseldorf show to announce it will team up with other industry players to test the scale and performance of SDN and OpenFlow topologies "to see if they can deliver the scale needed to confidently deploy SDN-based services without risking the Quality of Service (QoS) of the network or Quality of Experience (QoE) for end users."

ONF director Pitt also predicted that skills training will be the biggest growth area of the SDN industry. "Widespread industry adoption can hardly happen without knowledgeable people leading the way in implementation and deployment, so skills training has to grow faster than actual adoption," Pitt said. "In 2015, skills training will kick into gear."

Meanwhile, SDN vendors were busy making news, including NEC Corporation of America, which unveiled a pay-as-you-go pricing plan to go along with its updated ProgrammableFlow SDN Networking Suite.

"With the new pricing, network operators can deploy an SDN network that meets their current needs and then cost-effectively scales as the network grows," the company said. "NEC introduces a ProgrammableFlow SDN Starter Pack, which is priced starting at $3,000 and provides the features of the ProgrammableFlow Controller software, but is designed for smaller SDN deployments, including departmental or lab deployments. The network easily scales up as capacity requirements grow."

HP announced a new Distributed Cloud Networking (DCN) offering and a partnership with VMware to deliver software-defined infrastructure services via HP ConvergedSystem 200-HC EVO: RAIL, described as "a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance powered by VMware EVO: RAIL."

"DCN is an SDN solution that enables service providers and large organizations to automatically deploy secure cloud networks across a distributed infrastructure in minutes versus months," HP said. "DCN is also accelerating communication service providers' journey to network function virtualization (NFV) by optimizing network resources, increasing agility and speeding time to market through dynamic, service-driven configuration."

While that HP news came out of Dusseldorf, the company also had a presence at the VMworld Europe conference in Barcelona, where it announced the partnership with VMware.

"The HP ConvergedSystem 200-HC EVO: RAIL features a pre-integrated, pre-tested 100 percent VMware software stack, to provide high availability at both the compute and storage layers, with VMware vSphere, VMware Virtual SAN, VMware vRealize Log Insight (formerly vCenter Log Insight), and the EVO: RAIL engine," HP said. "VMware EVO: RAIL integrates these technologies to greatly simplify by consolidating IT resources into a single appliance, eliminating the need for complex integration and enabling new applications to come online quickly." The solution is expected to ship early next year, when pricing will be announced.

VMware also issued a flurry of other virtualization-related announcements, including a deal with CSC to deliver an OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform.

In yet more announcements, Luxoft Holding Inc. launched an NFV orchestration platform called SuperCloud, described as being vendor-neutral and hardware-independent. "NFV enables rapid and flexible deployment, with high availability and scalability of virtual network functions in datacenters that are hosted by software-defined operators such as communication services providers, multi-services operators and cloud services providers, and large enterprise IT customers," the company said.

Embracing the combination of SDN and NFV, Coriant announced its Coriant Transcend SDN Solution that it said "couples the benefits of SDN and NFV technologies with the differentiated value from a proven product portfolio."

These are just a sampling of this week's SDN and NFV news, attesting to the industry interest in the emerging technologies, interest that was further evidenced by yesterday's announcement from Dell'Oro Group that SDN datacenter sales will grow more than 65 percent this year. "With architectures ratified and production deployments under way, network security appliances and Ethernet switches will continue to comprise the majority of SDN's impact, with SDN gaining a foothold outside of the major cloud providers," the research firm said while hawking a for-sale report.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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