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
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Predicting Traffic Patterns for Quality Mobile Broadband

4|29|15   |   6:45   |   (0) comments


Accessing information ubiquitously creates complexity and creates heavy traffic onto the network, especially at large-scale events like sporting events or festivals. In this video, Huawei's Mohammad Hussain speaks to experts about how to predict traffic and improve user experience during periods of heavy traffic.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
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
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network functions virtualization (NFV) is not the easiest of topics to take on board, so here's a Light Reading infographic, developed following conversations with the folks at HP, that helps make sense of where NFV is taking the industry.
Hot Topics
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Verizon Saves 60% Swapping Copper for Fiber
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 5/19/2015
Choosing a Technology Supplier? Consider Changing Your Selection Criteria
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 5/18/2015
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Chattanooga Charts Killer Gigabit Apps
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/20/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
My ongoing interview tour of the leading minds of the telecom industry recently took me to Richardson, Texas, where I met with Rod Naphan, CTO and SVP, Solutions, ...
I recently popped down to Texas to chat with CEO Eric L. Pratt about his company, Taqua.
Cats with Phones