Alcatel-Lucent Bolsters SDN Capabilities

Jeffrey Burt is a senior editor for eWEEK and contributor to TechWeekEurope

Alcatel-Lucent builds OpenFlow and OpenStack support into its OmniSwitch Ethernet portfolio

Alcatel-Lucent has expanded upon its larger Application Fluent Network vision for enabling enterprises to build software-defined networking (SDN)-based solutions.

This came after the company baked in support for OpenFlow and OpenStack. The move also means that the vendor’s technology will fit in well with SDN offerings from other companies.

Open Solutions

“These capabilities ensure that OmniSwitch solutions are open and will work seamlessly with the company’s partner ecosystem and industry SDN leaders’ solutions,” Stephane Robineau, general manager and vice president of Alcatel-Lucent’s Enterprise Networks business, said in a statement.

OpenStack LogoThe OpenFlow protocol helps manage traffic between Ethernet switches, while OpenStack is an open-source cloud computing platform. Supporting OpenFlow 1.3 gives OmniSwitch products another northbound SDN interface, making it easier for the switches to work within environments where there is SDN technologies from multiple vendors. OpenStack provides more southbound SDN interfaces.

Alcatel-Lucent outlined several examples of where the OpenFlow and OpenStack support enables the vendor’s technologies to work with products from partners, including allowing the OmniSwitches to interoperate with Aruba Networks’ wireless controller to improve traffic flow on WiFi networks.

SDN Push

The vendor joined the increasingly crowded SDN market in December 2012 with a strategy based on the Application Fluent Network technology. The technology, introduced in 2010, was designed to create a flexible and dynamic network that could automatically adjust policies and configure itself to best suit whatever applications are running on it. Officials at the time said they would increase the programmability of the platform this year via a set of RESTful APIs designed to make it easier for OmniSwitch 10K and 6900 switches to communicate with applications, controllers and orchestration platforms like OpenStack and Cloud Stack.

Other enhancements included improving the ability of the platform to recognize applications and to better react to how the network is impacting applications.

At the time, company officials said they would base their initial SDN efforts around the Application Fluent Network, with support for OpenFlow coming in 2014. OpenFlow is supported by most of the major networking vendors’ SDN platforms, as well as the products coming from the growing numbers of smaller startups.

Analysts expect the SDN market to grow quickly over the next few years. Infonetics Research, in a report 9 December, forecast that the SDN market will hit $3.1 billion (£1.9bn) by 2017.

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Originally published on eWeek.

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