& cplSiteName &

Google, Microsoft Challenge Service Providers

Mitch Wagner
3/7/2014
50%
50%

SANTA CLARA — Open Networking Summit (ONS) 2014 — While service providers take their first steps toward implementing SDN, Google and Microsoft have been at it for years. They are huge, they are mature, and they are both potential threats and potential customer windfalls for service providers.

The two companies gave back-to-back presentations at ONS this week in which they described how they're using virtual networking to drive their cloud services.

"Andromeda" is the internal code word for Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s virtualized network, said Google distinguished engineer Amin Vahdat. Google believes its WAN may be the largest software defined WAN in the world, and Google has worked on its infrastructure for more than 10 years.

Amin Vahdat
Amin Vahdat

Andromeda is built based on Google's IT philosophy that scaling out beats scaling up, and a logically centralized hierarchical control plane with peer-to-peer data plane beats full centralization, Vahdat said.

The network needs to meet Google's requirements, including each customer needs an isolated virtual network, separate from others; the network needs to be resistant to DDoS attacks; it must map external services to internal namespaces; and support authentication, authorization, and billing. And the network needs to maintain efficiency while doing all that, Vahdat said.

SDN is required for Google to meet its business needs, to provide isolated, high-performance networks with end-to-end QoS and availability, Vahdat said. (See Defining SDN & NFV.)

Andromeda incorporates APIs for NFV, to get away from dedicated appliances for functions including load balancing, security, and access control.

One benefit Google has not seen from cloud computing is simplification, Vahdat said. "Cloud computing hasn't made operations easier -- yet. I believe it must and it will."

For Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s part, SDN is part of its Windows Azure platform, said Albert Greenberg, development director for the Windows Azure networking at Microsoft. SDN helps provide Microsoft's cloud offering with agility, he said.

Albert Greenberg
Albert Greenberg

Azure is designed to allow companies to move their IT infrastructure to the public cloud for elastic scaling that's less expensive than an on-premises data center, and it runs Microsoft's major properties, including Office 365, OneDrive, Skype, Bing, and Xbox.

SDN is the solution that allows Microsoft to scale virtual networks across millions of servers, with flexibility, timely feature rollout, and the ability to debug problems. SDN also allows Azure to be a part of each customer's internal network, to make managing the cloud easier for Microsoft customers. "Azure is just another branch office of your enterprise, via VPN," Greenberg said.

Using SDN, Microsoft supports more than 50,000 virtual networks over 100,000 servers in a data center, Greenberg said.

"The key is how can we scale and be agile," Greenberg said. Microsoft’s “battle-tested” Azure server software will be offered for private clouds through Windows Server, he said.

Greenberg and a colleague demonstrated ExpressRoute, an automated configuration tool that allows customers to configure their own SDNs with a few minutes of clicking and typing in a browser.

Microsoft and Google made impressive demonstrations, and they appear to have a significant lead over service providers in deploying SDNs. We've seen this week how service providers are taking their first steps toward implementing SDN. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has a huge, ambitious plan and says it is a good way along in implementing, but concedes it also has a very long way to go. Major US wireless operators say they’ve yet to see cost benefits from SDN. Meanwhile, both Google and Microsoft have been at it with SDNs for many years.

Google and Microsoft are potential threats to service providers that are looking to become cloud providers. They will find Microsoft and Google have gotten there first.

On the other hand, special-purpose cloud providers like Google and Microsoft have to buy networking connectivity themselves in order to serve their customers. And that's a great opportunity for service providers to expand their business.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading.

Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to mwagner@lightreading.com.

Want to learn more about this topic? Check out the agenda for The Big Telecom Event (BTE), which will take place on June 17 and June 18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The event combines the educational power of interactive conference sessions devised and hosted by Heavy Reading's experienced industry analysts with multi-vendor interoperability and proof-of-concept networking and application showcases. For more on the event, the topics, and the stellar service provider speaker line-up, see Telecommunication Luminaries to Discuss the Hottest Industry Trends at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event in June.

(9)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/14/2014 | 5:59:59 PM
Re: Learning from the "new kids in the sandbox"
@FakeMitch, I hope that we some co-opetition amongst the players.  It would probably serve them all best to share some, after all even 5 year olds learn to share in the sandbox!
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/14/2014 | 5:20:01 PM
Re: Learning from the "new kids in the sandbox"
Thanks, Liz! It will be interesting to see how the relationships between Webscale companies and service providers play out. There's the potential for cooperation and competition. 

I expect we'll see an acquisition unless regulators bloc it. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/10/2014 | 9:14:51 PM
Re: Learning from the "new kids in the sandbox"
Based on my experience as a camp counselor in my teens, I can tell you that a dozen or so six-year-olds can definitely take down a strapping young man.

This is, of course, completely off-topic and not at all a metaphor for anything currently happening in the service provider industry.
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/10/2014 | 4:06:32 PM
Re: Learning from the "new kids in the sandbox"
The incumbent telcos don't really have much to be worried about... they've seen plenty of innovative technologies enter the market -- and not even come close to disrupting their monopolies. SDN services operate on top of the physical network... and guess who controls the physical layer? 

 
Atlantis-dude
50%
50%
Atlantis-dude,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/10/2014 | 12:53:16 PM
Network connectivity
Do Google and Microsoft buy inter-DC network connectivity from the service providers or do they just buy/lease dark fiber and operate it themselves ?
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/10/2014 | 1:23:43 AM
Re: Learning from the "new kids in the sandbox"
I think that you are right @DOShea.  The telcos are used to being in the big kids picking on the little kids.  They forgot that the little kids grew up, had some steriods and can now kick sand in their collective faces.  So they would be wise to pay attention and learn.
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
3/7/2014 | 9:59:55 PM
Re: Learning from the "new kids in the sandbox"
I think there's a little bit of a fear factor there. The telcos probably don't want to believe they can or should have to learn anything about SDN from Google or anyone considered more of a software or Internet company. There's maybe still some belief that Google's SDN story is different from what their own will be.
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/7/2014 | 6:46:53 PM
Learning from the "new kids in the sandbox"
Great article Mitch.  I think that you nailed it and that the telcos would be wise to learn from Microsoft, Google, and every other applications vendor who has already been playing in this sandbox.  Maybe it is even an opportunity for Microsoft and Google to consult for the telcos?
dwx
50%
50%
dwx,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/7/2014 | 6:46:16 PM
WAN vs. Datacenter
It depends if you are talking about the true backbone WAN networks versus datacenter networks where virtualization scale is needed with lots of tenant networks.  

AFAIK, Google still uses Juniper routers using the age-old RSVP-TE MPLS they have always used for their core backbone network.  In those regards they are pretty much the same as every other service provider network.  The edges of their network are very intelligent however and definitely use SDN-like mechanisms to control and balance traffic.  
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
Software Trends in the Telecom Sector

2|23|17   |   03:40   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading senior analyst James Crawshaw talks with Telecoms.com Editorial Director Scott Bicheno about trends and developments in the telecoms software sector and what to expect at MWC 2017.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei's Pre-MWC Analyst Briefing 2017 Highlights

2|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei shares its vision for this year's MWC.
LRTV Interviews
MWC17: 5G, Cloud RAN & More

2|21|17   |   04:35   |   (0) comments


Ovum Senior Analyst Julian Bright talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about all things MWC, including Cloud RAN, Huawei's pitch to the industry and the road to 5G.
LRTV Interviews
MWC 2017's Key 2-Letter Terms

2|20|17   |   08:29   |   (1) comment


5G, AI, VR... these are just some of the two-letter terms that will dominate show-floor chat at MWC 2017 in Barcelona, according to these two blow-hards (a.k.a. Scott Bicheno of Telecoms.com and Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre). And then there's PB...
LRTV Interviews
Key Trends for Mobile Operators in Developing Markets

2|20|17   |   06:37   |   (0) comments


Ovum's Matthew Reed talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about the challenges and opportunities facing mobile operators in the developing markets of Africa and the Middle East.
LRTV Documentaries
YouTube Takes on Facebook Live-Streaming

2|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Popular 'YouTubers' will be the first to get the new service on their smartphones. You have been warned.
LRTV Custom TV
Open Source NFV/SDN Automation

2|17|17   |   05:54   |   (0) comments


AT&T ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) code is transitioning into the Linux Foundation for placement into open source. In this video, Carol Wilson provides an update on the maturation of open source ECOMP and meets with industry leaders from AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Linux Foundation and Amdocs to discuss what this means for the ...
LRTV Documentaries
Uber & NASA Collaborate on Flying Car Project

2|16|17   |     |   (0) comments


Is Uber for real? Well, it's hired NASA engineer Mark Moore to lead the project, and he wouldn't come cheap.
LRTV Documentaries
Zuckerberg Tries Out the Oculus Rift VR Glove

2|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Facebook CEO shows off a new way to interact with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset: an Oculus glove.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Digital Transformation Forum 2017

2|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Here's a preview of the upcoming Huawei Digital Transformation Forum taking place in Barcelona with trending telecom topics like cloud, IoT, 5G and much more!
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Dan Sahar of Qwilt on Open Edge Cloud Platform

2|8|17   |   08:38   |   (0) comments


Dan Sahar, Qwilt's co-founder, sits down with Steve Saunders of Light Reading for a conversation about Qwilt's Open Edge Cloud platform and the new role of service providers in application and content delivery.
LRTV Documentaries
ZeroStack's 'Self-Driving Cloud'

2|7|17   |   01:09   |   (0) comments


Its Z-Brain tech automates day-to-day management and long-term planning for hybrid clouds.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Broadband Has a Problem on the Pole
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/21/2017
Is the Time Right for a Cisco/Ericsson Wedding?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/17/2017
Verizon to Start Fixed 5G Customer Trials in April
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/22/2017
Uber's HR Nightmare: Company Investigates Sexual Harassment Claims
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 2/21/2017
Nice to See at Least One CSP Taking My Advice
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 2/17/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
No One Likes This Click Here
Take a hint!
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.