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 Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Rick Talbot, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:12   |   (0) comments


At the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Rick Talbot shared his positive feedback about the holistic and open approach that Huawei adopts for SDN and NFV. He also found the open sharing at the event valuable as it features different perspectives from Huawei experts, telecom operators, industry analysts as well as security experts.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With David Snow, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:24   |   (0) comments


David Snow talked about his understanding of Huawei and its SoftCOM strategy at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that Huawei's wide approach combining IT and CT expertise, introducing big data and analytics into solutions and contributing to the OpenStack community particularly resonate with him and make the company stand out in the industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

10|31|14   |   3:13   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro commented on Huawei's data center capabilities and NFV solutions at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that in addition to covering all three key domains of compute, storage and networking, the company also emphasizes the importance of management capabilities and professional services, which are essential in making NFV a reality.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Michael Howard, Co-founder & Principal Analyst, Infonetics Research

10|31|14   |   5:25   |   (0) comments


Michael Howard talked about SDN, NFV, and OpenStack adoption at Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014. Particularly, he pointed out that Virtual Enterprise CPE is the top NFV use case that operators plan to invest in over 2014 and 2015 to deliver new enterprise services through virtualized functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Jerry Caron, Senior Vice President, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   3:11   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Jerry Caron from Current Analysis said that orchestration and management are key to realizing SDN and NFV for global carriers, and the approach that Huawei is taking, with its FusionSphere Cloud OS at the core, is in the right direction to address the challenges.
LRTV Documentaries
Broadband Battles

10|31|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


This year's Broadband World Forum featured a number of show floor battles focused on access gear, components and coffee.
Jonestown
Mobile Backhaul: Going to the Dark Side?

10|30|14   |   2:26   |   (1) comment


Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan shares his view on a dark trend that bubbled up at Light Reading's annual backhaul conference in NYC.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With CEO of SwitchCom

10|30|14   |   4:13   |   (0) comments


SwitchCom, an IT company based in Angola, recommends a variety of Huawei solutions and hardware to their customers in the energy industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy

10|30|14   |   4:08   |   (0) comments


Gosaye Mengistie of Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy discusses the collaboration with Huawei in that country.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Dongfang Electronics Corporation

10|30|14   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Dongfang Electronics Corporation, headquartered in Chengdu, China, is one of China's largest manufacturers of power generators and contractors of power station projects.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Zimbabwe's Customers

10|30|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


Representatives of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Power and Development discuss the energy needs of their country as well as new areas of improvement due to enhanced ICT capabilities.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Colbún Chile

10|30|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


In Chile, an aging energy infrastructure was in dire need of a modern update. Claudio Valenzuela of Colbún discusses how Huawei's ICT solutions continue to provide crucial information to improve the grid and how an in-country engineer is a cricial asset.
Upcoming Live Events
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 30, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Microsoft's Skype Embraces WebRTC on IE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/27/2014
FTC Slaps AT&T With Throttling Lawsuit
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/28/2014
Wheeler Gets Down With OTT
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/29/2014
China's MVNOs Hit the Wall
Robert Clark, 10/27/2014
Let's Not Kill SDN & NFV With Silos
Francois Locoh-Donou, Senior VP, Global Products Group, Ciena, 10/28/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed