Light Reading

Sycamore Demos Software Scalability

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading

ATLANTA, GA -- One of the star attractions of the Supercomm trade show, starting here today, is likely to be a demonstration of software scalability being staged at booth 2717 by Sycamore Networks Inc.

The demo comprises two walls of PCs, emulating the equivalent of 100 Sycamore SN 16000 optical switches linked together in what amounts to a working optical network that's far bigger than any that exist in real life right now. Visitors can see, via management systems, how the software handles tasks such as automatic provisioning of end-to-end connections and automatic rerouting of those connections around network failures.

The point that Sycamore is making is that software scalability is a huge issue for carriers - and it thinks it's found a way of addressing that issue that goes way beyond its demo at Supercomm.

Here's the score. Up to now, the big focus on optical switch developments has been on hardware scalability - how many fibers, wavelengths, and circuits the switches can handle. However, it's one thing to develop a big switch and quite another to develop software that can make large numbers of those switches work together seamlessly in a network - particularly as the software must be incredibly reliable. The slightest glitch could spell disaster for a carrier, because the switches carry enormous amounts of traffic.

Service providers are very sensitive to this issue, having witnessed what happened with frame relay services in the mid 90s. When demand for frame relay took off, carriers built bigger and bigger networks and then suffered some catastrophic blackouts. In each case, the root cause turned out to be that the switch software hadn't been designed for very large networks, according to Amy Copley, Sycamore's product marketing manager.

The problem is that it's hard for vendors to prove to carriers that their software has been designed to scale and will be extremely reliable in practice. It isn't feasible for them to build a real, large-scale network in a lab - so Sycamore is doing the next best thing and emulating such a network using PCs. In other words, the demo on its booth isn't a "one-off project" for Supercomm. It's being used within Sycamore to test its software developments.

The big question is whether Sycamore's emulated network is a true likeness of a real one. Sycamore points out that its switch network operating system - now named Broadleaf - runs on Linux. As the PCs in its demo are also running Linux, the Broadleaf software in them is identical to the one used in the vendor's real-life switches.

- by Peter Heywood, International Editor, Light Reading,

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Network Security in a Gigabit World

10|6|15   |   05:52   |   (0) comments

Masergy's James Harrison talks about some of the network security and data center issues network operators need to consider as they expand their broadband services portfolios.
LRTV Documentaries
Telefónica: In Search of Virtual Simplicity

10|5|15   |   07:30   |   (0) comments

Francisco-Javier Ramon Salguero, head of Telefónica's NFV initiative, admits virtualization initially means greater complexity, but with the right abstraction layer, it is possible to create a services-driven network architecture. He explains how Telefónica's current trials and initiatives are aimed at doing that, and what his company and other carriers need to ...
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe Takeaways

10|5|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Participants from the inaugural Gigabit Europe event in Munich share their key takeaways from the conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Urges Women to Take Advantage of Their Seat at the Table

10|5|15   |   4:27   |   (1) comment

Have inclusive and constructive conversations, attach a bigger meaning to your work and get involved in the cause, Intel's Monique Hayward advises women in comms.
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Sonus Shakes Up SD-WAN

10|2|15   |   7:22   |   (0) comments

Sonus CTO Kevin Riley sat down with Light Reading to discuss the trajectory of the company, its SDN ambitions and why Sonus is taking a market-disruptive approve to SD-WAN.
LRTV Interviews
CityFibre's Gigabit Vision

10|1|15   |   03:18   |   (1) comment

Mark Collins, director of Strategy & Public Affairs at competitive UK city network operator CityFibre, talks about his company's plans to help build Gigabit Cities.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Automate, Scale & Create With Juniper's vCPE Solution

10|1|15   |   6:34   |   (0) comments

Join Kireeti Kompella, Juniper Networks CTO, and Steve Saunders, Light Reading Founder and CEO, as they discuss Juniper Networks' approach to NFV showcased with a turnkey vCPE solution, which demonstrates how service providers can use automation to rapidly deploy services.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe: Day 1 Takeaways

9|29|15   |   05:47   |   (5) comments

Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre and Iain Morris sup a beer and discuss some of the key takeaways from the first day of Gigabit Europe 2015.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit in Europe

9|29|15   |   04:24   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe 2015 event in Munich, Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie talks about the availability of gigabit broadband in Europe.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Band of Women

9|28|15   |   4:36   |   (0) comments

Brooks McCorcle, the president of AT&T's partner solutions divisions and a mathematician by trade, shares stats on AT&T's diversity and advice on how to create your own band of women at work.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Communication service providers realize that an ICT transformation is critical to their long-term survival, but most haven't yet committed to making it happen.
Hot Topics
Verizon's Go90 Is Live – Will Anyone Watch?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/1/2015
Eurobites: Dunroamin'
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 10/2/2015
Sprint to Cut Up to $2.5B in 6 Months
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 10/2/2015
McKinsey: Women Less Likely to Advance at Work
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 10/1/2015
TiVo Takes Aim With Bolt
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/30/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
Hold My Calls, Indefinitely Click Here