Light Reading

AlcaLu: Going With the Flow

Dan Jones
6/18/2014
50%
50%

CHICAGO -- Light Reading's Big Telecom Event -- Alcatel-Lucent's Basil Alwan spent part of his keynote this week grappling with what networking functions and elements will get swept away by the tide of virtualization and which can't simply be replaced by software and cheap servers.

Alwan, president of IP routing and transport for Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), stated that there is a "tremendous pressure" of change on vendors and carriers as SDN and NFV shake up what networking is and can be, but there's also a "tremendous opportunity."

Some things, however, will not change. "Software defined or not software defined, we still need big routers," Alwan told the audience.

Surfin' BTE
Alwan takes the stage.
Alwan takes the stage.

Lest you think that the vendor guy is simply a King Canute trying to hold back the software tide and shore up his margins, Alwan gave examples of where the company has realized it has to work with third-party platforms and software.

For instance, AlcaLu's SDN spin-in, Nuage Networks , has built its platform on hardware from Arista Networks Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), among others. The company's Cloudband virtualization platform pulls in third-party elements, too. (See How Alcatel-Lucent Set a Telco Cloud Example and Alcatel-Lucent Expands CloudBand.)

The key, Alwan says, is knowing which functions of the network can be abstracted with software and x86 servers and which will still require dedicated network elements. "I like to call it network function optimization, rather than virtualization."

Specifically, he thinks that elements like the mobility management entity (MME) in the packet core could be substituted with software on an x86 platform. Hardcore IP routing elements designed with SLA requirements in mind, he says, are built around dedicated network processor performance that PC-derived x86 silicon simply can't match yet.

"It'll be five years, easy," before performance starts to get good enough, Alwan said.

So, for Alwan and AlcaLu, this is what the idealized evolution of the network will look like.

Free Flow
And routing transport IP shalt live in harmony with SDN and NFV.
And routing transport IP shalt live in harmony with SDN and NFV.

What say you, readers?

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
dwx
50%
50%
dwx,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/18/2014 | 3:12:54 PM
I would agree
I agree core routers aren't going anywhere anytime soon.  You can't find a 100GE interface on any "bare metal" network device even and certainly not anywhere near a server.   The only way to interface something like that into a server is put a NPU on the server and then you might as well be using a router which consumes less power.   By the time servers catch up we will be using 400G interfaces off of routers in high bandwidth applications.  

I saw a picture once of how many racks of servers you would need to process the amount of packets a full-tilt single Cisco NCS6K could (8Tbps full-duplex) and it spanned more than a couple rows.  Of course this is a marketing slide but it's not really all that far off.  

As you start moving NFV functionality into the cloud for functions where it makes sense like virtual CPE, FW, etc.  you need bigger pipes to connect everything together.  The inter and intra-datacenter traffic will continue to grow at speeds outpacing x86 certainly and even commodity hardware unless the commodity hardware folks start producing higher speed NPUs.   Juniper/Cisco/ALU have all had 100G+ NPUs for some time now. 
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Network architects aiming to upgrade their networks to support agile, open, virtualized services in the 21st century need to consider new criteria when choosing between technology suppliers.
Live Streaming Video
BTE 2015 Sponsor Keynote: HP
Dr. Prodip Sen, CTO, Network Functions Virtualization, HP
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat Demo

7|2|15   |   10:53   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Nicolas Lemieux demonstrates how Red Hat is driving innovation through open source communities.
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat's Approach to OpenStack Adoption

7|2|15   |   5:17   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Radhesh Balakrishnan outlines his company's open source strategy for both enterprises and telcos.
LRTV Custom TV
The New IP Goes Mobile With vEPC

7|2|15   |   1:12   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Gabriel Brown discusses results of a Light Reading survey sponsored by Brocade that shows a clear commitment by mobile operators to move quickly to virtual EPC deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Business Sense of SDN

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Results of a Brocade-sponsored survey show that CSPs have a clear sense of SDN use cases but are wrestling with the business case. Sterling Perrin of Heavy Reading looks behind the numbers.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Will Be Here Sooner Than You Think

7|2|15   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Forget the usual ten-year cycle for new technologies – NFV will be a core part of CSP networks in five years, based on results of a Brocade-sponsored survey, says Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell.
LRTV Custom TV
The New IP Gains Traction With CSPs

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro of Heavy Reading analyzes results of a Light Reading survey sponsored by Brocade showing that CSPs are getting serious about making the transition to the New IP era.
LRTV Custom TV
It's (Real) Time for Analytics

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Jim Hodges looks at how CSPs say they plan to use analytics to deploy new services in real time as part of The New IP, based on results of a survey sponsored by Brocade.
LRTV Documentaries
IoT in Action

6|30|15   |   1:39   |   (7) comments


Two co-workers discuss the benefits of IoT technology.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson Opens Up on OPNFV

6|30|15   |   14:16   |   (1) comment


Martin Bäckström, VP and head of industry area Datacom at Ericsson, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the emergence of OPNFV, the importance of standards and Ericsson's OPNFV plans.
LRTV Custom TV
NetNumber Founder Discusses NFV/SDN Impact on SP Networks

6|26|15   |   4:15   |   (0) comments


NetNumber Founder Doug Ranalli examines why SPs need a new network infrastructure for service agility. While NFV and SDN are the tools, the old ways of thinking about signaling control are inhibitors. Doug provides his recommendations.
LRTV Custom TV
Orchestrating NFV vCPE Services Across Multivendor Networks

6|26|15   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Nirav Modi provides an overview of vCPE, the fastest-growing NFV use case, showing how Cyan's Blue Planet orchestrates vCPE services across a multivendor infrastructure to rapidly deliver new managed services for business customers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at LTE Summit Amsterdam 2015

6|26|15   |     |   (0) comments


As one of the leading global telecommunications providers, ZTE presented its cutting-edge technology at LTE World Summit 2015 in Amsterdam. On display at ZTE's booth were the latest R&D achievements in wireless, 5G development, HetNet, deep convergence of FDD and TDD, and RCS/IMD/iSDN/vCN.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Who's Feeding Fiber to LinkNYC Hotspots?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/29/2015
Colt to Jettison Ailing IT Business
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/30/2015
Eurobites: Activist Investor Takes Stake in AlcaLu
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 6/30/2015
What's a Gigabit Good For?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/1/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Casa Systems has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years. In 2013, it became the first vendor to ship an integrated CCAP device -- the ...
Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
Cats with Phones