Light Reading
The company doesn't want to be left out in the fabric wars of 2011

AlcaLu Wants the Data Center, Too

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
4/5/2011
50%
50%

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is announcing its own data center fabric on Tuesday, going up against Brocade One from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), the Unified Fabric from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and QFabric from Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR).

New pieces being introduced are the OmniSwitch 6900, which is a 10Gbit/s top-of-rack Ethernet switch, and OmniVista 2500 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), which helps track and move virtual machines around the data center.

AlcaLu calls its fabric the Enterprise Mesh, and it uses the OmniSwitch 10K -- which was launched in October -- at its core. The recipe for the largest Enterprise Mesh configurations is as follows: Start with six OmniSwitch 9600s arranged in a pod. Five such pods can share a connection to the OmniSwitch 10K (that connection consisting of five 40Gbit/s links). Twelve of these five-pod units can be served by a pair of OmniSwitch 10Ks.

That whole shebang has a switching capacity of 169Tbit/s, AlcaLu claims.

The fabric connections will use a protocol called shortest path bridging (SPB). It's a rival to Trill, the protocol favored by Brocade. SPB is already used by service providers in wide-area networks, says Cliff Grossner, an AlcaLu director of product marketing. That fits with AlcaLu's goal of stretching its fabric across multiple data centers.

Why this matters
A battle royale is brewing around the concept of a data center fabric. AlcaLu has proven itself a worthy rival to Cisco and Juniper in service-provider networks; now it's engaging them (and Brocade) in the virtualized data center, where the "product" has become the entire network.

"I think 2011 is going to be the year of the fabric war," Grossner says. In terms of marketing, at least, that's certainly the case.

For more
AlcaLu's application fluency announcement from October, and other missives from the fabric wars:



— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

(7)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
scottdTBR
50%
50%
scottdTBR,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:08:43 PM
re: AlcaLu Wants the Data Center, Too


Hi Craig,


What's ALU's differentiator here? I know Juniper has said that their fabric cannot stretch across DCs, but I thought Cisco's could. Whatever it is, it will have to be pretty significant for them to get on the short list in these opportunities.


Scott

prinformant
50%
50%
prinformant,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:08:40 PM
re: AlcaLu Wants the Data Center, Too




<div>
<div>

The value of ALU solution is multiple folds:&nbsp;

</div>
</div>






1-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Scalable architecture with capability to scale from 240 server ports to 10,000+ server ports while reducing the CapEx and OpEx costs. Architecture and platforms ready to support 40Gig and 100Gig ready with no hardware change out required.




2-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Reduced latency with AFN architecture &ndash; 2usecs within the Pod




3-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Applications managed as a service with vNP profile. The network understands applications and automatically adapts




4-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Hybrid cloud is a reality. Data Center architecture scalable from intra data center to inter data center providing seamless private/public and hybrid cloud co-existence - A complete end to end solution

&nbsp;







&nbsp;

schlettie
50%
50%
schlettie,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:08:39 PM
re: AlcaLu Wants the Data Center, Too


That topology has high oversubscription.&nbsp; For each cluster of 5 pods (30 switches), there are 1200 10GE ports, but only 10 40GE links to the core.&nbsp; The oversubscription ratio is 30:1.

scottdTBR
50%
50%
scottdTBR,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:08:39 PM
re: AlcaLu Wants the Data Center, Too


Sounds great on paper, but what's ALU's strategy for getting enterprises to consider them over Cisco, HP, et al? ALU does have some differentiation in software and services which they can leverage. But like Cisco with UCS, they'll have to focus on winning smaller greenfield opportunities and using deep discounting to build their customer base.

prinformant
50%
50%
prinformant,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:08:38 PM
re: AlcaLu Wants the Data Center, Too


Looks like an upcoming global webinar will have some more details.&nbsp; http://tinyurl.com/3d4n56c
I found a link&nbsp;at the bottom of this page&nbsp;for more info and participation.


Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:08:37 PM
re: AlcaLu Wants the Data Center, Too


Scott -- You've hit on a central point here.&nbsp; AlcaLu can probably point to the latency and a half dozen other things ... but that's just it: The product here is the entire network, not just one box, and there are dozens if not hundreds of ways to slice that.&nbsp; Comparisons are going to be difficult.


Moreover, they've got less of a data-center heritage than Cisco or Brocade, and I'd argue they're behind Juniper as well. (Real data center people are welcome to correct me there.) Uphill battle is a good way to put it.

somedumbPM
50%
50%
somedumbPM,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:08:19 PM
re: AlcaLu Wants the Data Center, Too


The technical questions around all&nbsp;of the combined fabric&nbsp;talk&nbsp;involves the SPB vendors versus the Trill guys versus the homegrown flavors.&nbsp; What protocol will dominate?&nbsp; Who will support which ones -or better yet multiple ones?


If you are concerned with the company names at this point, you are best served not to make any purchases yet,&nbsp;IMHO.

Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
Liberty Global Sees Business Goldmine

12|18|14   |     |   (0) comments


Steen Sorensen, VP of business services for Liberty Global, explains where the giant international MSO sees growth potential.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (2) comments


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
LRTV Documentaries
AT&T's New Security Strategy

12|10|14   |   02:36   |   (1) comment


AT&T's Chief Security Officer Ed Amoroso explains how his company is wrapping virtual security layers around micro network domains.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
Vodafone to Ride T-Mobile Back Into US
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/12/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/17/2014
Gardner's Departure a Cautionary Tale
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 12/12/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Upcoming Webinars
Webinar Archive