SDN architectures

Ciena Opens Up to Software-Defined Networking

Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) didn't mention software-defined networking on Monday as it announced its new network architecture, OPn. But a lot of SDN concepts were thrown about as CTO Steve Alexander introduced the idea.

OPn got its debut at Ciena's analyst conference in New York, in a presentation that stuck to high-level discussion of how the network ought to be controlled.

Alexander talked about making the network "responsive" to applications -- relocating virtual machines based on requests issued from the virtual machines themselves, for example. He added that a recent Ciena demo showed exactly that capability.

OPn spans Ciena's optical and packet layers and will involve programability at multiple layers of the network, enabled both through application programming interfaces (APIs) and through network-to-network interfaces that are "subtly different," Alexander said -- that difference being the responsiveness he mentioned.

OPn will also involve bypassing certain network functions. Alexander didn't give many specifics, but the idea is that traffic today doesn't need as many network touches as, say VoIP traffic does.

Every major vendor is declaring an SDN plan, it seems, and there might be a fight brewing over who gets to provide the control plane that will reach into multiple layers of the network and orchestrate tasks such as virtual-machine moving.

Cyan Inc. has such a control plane, although it doesn't work with absolutely everybody's equipment. And Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), which is presumably announcing more about its SDN plans this week, has described programming multiple layers of the network via APIs.

For more — Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:30:37 PM
re: Ciena Opens Up to Software-Defined Networking

Ciena is pitching that it has a unique take on packet/optical convergence, given its product history on both sides. (Counting Nortel's Ethernet as part of the history.)

It's probably true that that kind of multilayer expertise will be a key part of telecom SDN (assuming SDN catches on at all, of course). But other companies will have their own 'unique' takes on it. 

Cyan isn't going to be able to go toe-to-toe with Ciena but they've gotten some of these ideas out first ... and we'll see what Cisco does, now that they're more serious with optical.

Iluzun 12/5/2012 | 5:29:40 PM
re: Ciena Opens Up to Software-Defined Networking

Ciena is on the updated Cyan CyPortal 'integrated' list....

"To improve CyPortal’s utility, Cyan designed the tool to work not only with its own packet-optical transport platforms, but with network elements from other vendors. The list of vendors other than Cyan with products (27 in all) compatible with CyPortal has grown from 2 to 11, including:

<li style="text-align: left;">Accedian</li>
<li style="text-align: left;">ADVA Optical Networking</li>
<li style="text-align: left;">Ciena</li>
<li style="text-align: left;">Cisco</li>
<li style="text-align: left;">MRV</li>
<li style="text-align: left;">Omnitron Systems Technology</li>
<li style="text-align: left;">Overture</li>
<li style="text-align: left;">RAD</li>
<li style="text-align: left;">Telco Systems</li>
<li style="text-align: left;">Transition Networks</li>
<li style="text-align: left;">Transmode"</li>


Sign In