Light Reading

AlcaLu Wants the Data Center, Too

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

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
LRTV Custom TV
Optimizing SDN & NFV Architectures Through Application Awareness

4|23|14   |   6:24   |   (0) comments


Jerome Tollet, CTO at Qosmos, explains how network equipment vendors and operators deploying SDN and NFV can take advantage of network intelligence delivered by DPI to strengthen products and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Wind River Demonstrates Carrier-Grade Software for NFV

4|22|14   |   5:00   |   (0) comments


Wind River VP of Product Management, Glenn Seiler, takes a look the industry's first and only complete NFV software platform designed specifically for the unique carrier-grade and high-performance needs of telecom networks.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
Hot Topics
WhatsApp Threatens Carrier VoLTE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/18/2014
The Hungry, Hungry Cloud
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2014
Who's Ready to Play Broadband?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/21/2014
What's the Magic of Private Equity?
Carolyn Mathas, 4/22/2014
AT&T Turns Up Gig Heat in 21 New Metros
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/21/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed