Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. gave the software-defined networking (SDN) sector and its poster-boy protocol OpenFlow yet another shot in the arm today with the announcement of SDN-enabled routers, which are being targeted at carriers that need greater flexibility and efficiency in their IP networks as packet traffic volumes continue to increase.
Huawei says its new virtual routing platform (VRP) product, based on a "large capacity hardware platform," features a "centralized control plane and software-defined forwarding plane, enabling operators to build a SDN-ready network featuring fast service deployment, better resource utilization, and open interface for third party application support."
The vendor claims the router, which supports OpenFlow, will enable operators to introduce new services quickly and cheaply because the routers can be easily adapted to manage any new service without the need for any new forwarding hardware. In addition, claims the vendor, end-to-end path calculation can be achieved using a centralized controller.
For IP core networks, the vendor says its routing-as-a-service (RaaS) enables "control plane distribution and virtualization across chassis and across devices, achieving high-speed forwarding and high reliability." Huawei also boasts a 480Gbit/s forwarding line card on the core router, claiming to be the first to offer such capacity.
The vendor notes that its NE40E core router already supports the OpenFlow 1.2 protocol and has undertaken interoperability tests managed by the Open Networking Foundation.
In the metro router version, the packet forwarding function is separated from the service processing function, with the latter managed centrally using SDN tools. In the access network, Huawei is promoting the use of network virtualization tools to simplify the management of multiple devices.
The announcement comes only weeks after the Chinese vendor outlined its views about how SDN could play a role in carrier networks. It also comes about three months after Cisco Systems Inc. unveiled its software-based router and about four months after Brocade Communications Systems Inc. said it had integrated OpenFlow into its routers and switches. (See Huawei Talks SDN, Cisco's Software Router Targets the Cloud and Brocade Sets an SDN Plan.)
Why this matters
Huawei and SDN is a combination that cannot be ignored.
The fact is, though, that any company announcing it has SDN-enabled routers deserves to be noticed. Whether they are commercially viable or not is another matter altogether, but the announcement is certainly intriguing.
It's intriguing also that just four months ago, John Roese, senior VP and general manager of Huawei's U.S. R&D Center & Enterprise Business, told Light Reading Editor-in-Chief Phil Harvey not to get too excited about OpenFlow. (See OpenFlow, SDN & an Industry Uprising.)
Four months is a long time, eh?
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â€” Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading