& cplSiteName &

SDN Powers AT&T, IBM On-Demand Cloud Connections

Carol Wilson

Software-defined networking is at heart of a new solution developed by AT&T, IBM and Applied Communication Sciences (ACS) that can very quickly provision temporary bandwidth to handle massive traffic flows between data centers. The partners say capacity can be turned up on-demand in less than a minute, compared with the multiple days such a move would take using current network capabilities. (See AT&T, IBM, Others Team on Elastic Cloud-to Cloud Networking .)

Developed as part of the U.S. Government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Dynamic Multi-Terabit Core Optical Networks (CORONET) program, the proof-of-concept uses an SDN orchestrator developed by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) to enable on-demand bursting of traffic between data centers using whichever layer of the network is most appropriate, whether it's the IP/MPLS layer, the optical transport layer, or a wavelength.

The solution was designed to replace the rigid private line WAN infrastructure that cloud service providers use today to connect most data centers. It also enables a new kind of on-demand traffic bursting, beyond the capabilities AT&T is providing with its NetBond service, and beyond what other service providers offer with their bandwidth-on-demand solutions, says Bob Doverspike, executive director of Network Evolution Research at AT&T Labs . (See AT&T Working on Home-Grown SDN Controller for Later in 2014 .)

As part of its User-Defined Network Cloud, AT&T wants to provide the ability to support massive data backup between data centers, for storage area network synchronization, recovery from large weather or environmental events, and to support other large customer events, he says. For the proof of concept demonstration, AT&T connected IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)'s orchestration software and hypervisors, used by cloud service providers, to the network orchestrator developed in its lab via an SDN interface, and allowed the orchestrator to decide which layer of the network was best suited to carry specific traffic. (See AT&T Working on Home-Grown SDN Controller for Later in 2014 .)

"We then used smart routing algorithms to decide how to route it efficiently over that layer," Doverspike says. The connections can be built up and taken down as needed and used to connect any data center on the network to any other data center, replacing multiple rigid private line connections in the process.

This approach, which was built on OpenStack's open cloud computing platform, takes advantage of the fact that AT&T offers all three layers of WAN network connectivity -- the IP/MPLS layer, the OTN layer and the physical dense wave division multiplexing layer -- and can dip into its network resources to give cloud service providers a much greater ability to burst up to support large network events without having to pay for a rigid network infrastructure that otherwise isn't fully utilized.

The demonstration used common equipment and network management from a data center -- in this case, Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) gear was used, Doverspike says -– and IBM cloud network orchestrators, as well as AT&T infrastructure. The SDN interface developed in the AT&T lab connected the IBM orchestrators and the network, and was set up as an applications programming interface (API) that defined the types of bandwidth that could be requested, the duration and quality of connection, and the distance. ACS provided project management for the effort.

"By defining the API, we now have a rapid way to request the bandwidth using automatic software -- this is not a manual process," Doverspike explains.

Want to know more about SDN? Check out our dedicated SDN content channel here on Light Reading.

AT&T also used SDN technology -- either from its vendors or, where that wasn't available, internally developed -- to control each of the three layers of the network. The carrier is looking to implement Open Daylight in this area as that SDN controller technology becomes available, adds the AT&T man.

AT&T is already using SDN to deliver its optical mesh network service at the Layer 1 level, but that is a process that isn't as fast, and only functions at that layer. It was by building on that earlier work that AT&T took this project in the direction of SDN, says Chris Rice, vice president, advanced technologies, at AT&T Labs, because that wasn't where the DARPA project was originally headed. (See AT&T Spotlights Early SDN Efforts.)

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Roland Leners
Roland Leners,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/4/2014 | 2:58:02 AM
OSS implications
I would be interested in any references on the OSS implications of this solution, especially for service assurance.
User Rank: Light Beer
8/1/2014 | 9:28:41 AM
Re: SDN Powers AT&T, IBM On-Demand Cloud Connections
With respect to the comment by the AT&T exec at the very end of the article: the CORONET program was initiated in 2006, prior to the emergence of SDN.  SDN can be viewed as one enabler of the CORONET dynamic networking vision.

A dynamic network infrastructure will likely fuel the development of more applications, such as those described in this article, that can take advantage of such dynamism.


More information on DARPA's CORONET Program can be found at:

CORONET Publications: http://www.monarchna.com/CORONETPapers.html

CORONET Network Topology File: http://www.monarchna.com/topology.html

Many of the CORONET innovations, as well as SDN, are discussed in the chapter on dynamic networking in the newly released book "Optical Network Design and Planning, 2nd Ed."
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/31/2014 | 1:31:55 PM
Re: SDN Powers AT&T, IBM On-Demand Cloud Connections
@OptSim, thanks much!  That is great information!
User Rank: Light Beer
7/31/2014 | 12:38:03 AM
Re: SDN Powers AT&T, IBM On-Demand Cloud Connections
More information on DARPA's CORONET Program can be found at:

CORONET Publications: http://www.monarchna.com/CORONETPapers.html

CORONET Network Topology File: http://www.monarchna.com/topology.html

Many of the CORONET innovations, as well as SDN, are discussed in the chapter on dynamic networking in the newly released book "Optical Network Design and Planning, 2nd Ed."  (http://www.monarchna.com/book.html)

User Rank: Light Sabre
7/29/2014 | 6:45:43 PM
Re: SDN Powers AT&T, IBM On-Demand Cloud Connections
Carol, very impressive project and demonstration of the power of SDN.  This appears to be a really "smart" move that will provide highly competitive connection capabilities.

It's hard to imagine, if they bundle/price this correctly, that customers won't demand this capability.
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
VMWare VP Brings Women Up With Her

8|16|17   |   6:49   |   (1) comment

It's an art and a science to make mentorship, inclusive leadership, diversity and promotion of high-potential women work, says Honore' LaBourdette, vice president of Global Market Development at VMWare.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Spectrum Wars – The Recap

8|15|17   |   2:22   |   (0) comments

Service provider 3 has filed a lawsuit against Ofcom over 5G spectrum auction in the UK.
LRTV Custom TV
Say What? Facebook Unleashes AI Anarchy – The Recap

8|7|17   |     |   (0) comments

A recap of the week's talking points on Light Reading's sister site, telecoms.com. Facebook AI programmers had a bit of a brain-fade as they allowed one of its AI applications to invent its ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu's Women Band Together to Help Girls Do STEM

8|2|17   |   9:35   |   (1) comment

Supporting women both inside and outside of Fujitsu is a top priority of the telecom vendor. Yanbing Li, Fujitsu Network Communication's director of System Software Development & Delivery, shares why it's important, but why there's still a long road ahead.
LRTV Custom TV
If You're Not First, You're Last – The Recap

7|31|17   |   08:18   |   (1) comment

In case you missed it, Amazon's 1% stock increase helped Jeff Bezos dethrone Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Also, Taiwanese electronics manufacturer
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (10) comments

AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment

Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment

At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments

Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments

When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments

Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments

Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
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 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
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
Intel CEO Leaves Trump Biz Advisory Board
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/15/2017
Are Cord-Cutting's Days Numbered?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 8/14/2017
Analyst Nolle: Fundamental Errors Plague NFV
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/11/2017
Verizon Video Woes Pile On
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/14/2017
Orchestration Startup UBiqube Pivots Away From NFV
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/15/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Animals with Phones
We Know a Tough Day When We See One Click Here
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.