& cplSiteName &

Google: SDN Works for Us

Ray Le Maistre
10/23/2012
50%
50%

DARMSTADT, Germany -- SDN & OpenFlow World Congress -- Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is so impressed with the benefits of software defined networking (SDN) that it's going to extend its current international SDN-based inter-data center network and build other new networks using the same capabilities, stated Jim Wanderer, the Web services giant's director of engineering, Platforms Networking.

Google has talked publicly already about its use of the OpenFlow SDN protocol in its internal network that hooked up data centers in North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific and the associated cost benefits. (See Google Uses OpenFlow Massively.)

Wanderer explained here that the inter-data center network was needed and could have been built using legacy technology, but the problem is that those systems "do not behave in a deterministic way, are hard to configure and operate at scale, are error-prone [and] are expensive."

Wanderer and his team wanted to optimize routing and centralize traffic engineering. So they deployed "commodity hardware," with OpenFlow as the SDN protocol alongside the Quagga software routing suite, which was compatible with Google's existing network and known to the operations team.

The team soon found that, using multiple OpenFlow controllers (for low latency and reliable connectivity with the devices being connected) and centralized traffic engineering, the network met requirements and went into production in early 2011.

Among the key benefits were: being able to leverage massive computing power and scale, making it quick and easy to add new applications; the ability to simulate network functionality, including the ability to use the OpenFlow agents to simulate network devices in order to test new applications; the ability to mix simulated test environments with the production network, so that test scenarios could be examined in the live network; high network availability and the ability to engineer "low-impact upgrades"; easier configuration, as the team is configuring a network and a number of fabrics rather than a large number of network elements, though it's still a tough challenge; and very fast failure response and very high network utilization from having centralized traffic engineering.

Of course there are still many challenges. The Google team still has to write code and make decisions about how it wants the network to behave. Also, Wanderer noted that network management was a challenge: "It's different ... [dealing with] run-state status information [from] ... the controllers, APIs" and so on. There were also issues with priority queuing over TCP stream connections that needed to be addressed.

Overall, though, "SDN has worked really well -- it's going into all our projects. There have been big dividends from using high-compute devices in the control plane," stated Wanderer. "We couldn't have achieved the results we have without SDN. We would have built something else to do this but it wouldn't have been as effective."

Now the Google man wants to see SDN taken further to deliver "a better, faster, cheaper Internet." He also wants "carrier-class OpenFlow-enabled hardware" and a great deal more innovation in the SDN sector.

That sounds like a challenge for the vendor community....

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
joanengebretson
50%
50%
joanengebretson,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:18:44 PM
re: Google: SDN Works for Us


Interesting post, especially about using SDN to simulate network elements in testing new network designs.Google really seems to be doing some cutting edge work here.


I wonder if SDN will find it's way into Google's Kansas City high-speed fiber project?


 

Featured Video
From The Founder
The 'gleaming city on a hill,' Steve Saunders calls it. But who is going to take us from today's NFV componentry to the grand future of a self-driving network? Here's a look at the vendors hoping to make it happen.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue – London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Could 5G Have Found Its Glass Ceiling?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/20/2017
1 Million Pirate Set-Top Boxes Sold in the UK
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 9/20/2017
Comcast Shuts Down OTT Again
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/19/2017
Photo Highlights: Operations Transformation Forum 2017
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, 9/17/2017
WiCipedia: Endangered Species, 'the Pao Effect' & Bad Actors
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 9/22/2017
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed