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Huawei Adds to Its SDN Arsenal

Ray Le Maistre
10/22/2013
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AMSTERDAM -- Broadband World Forum 2013 -- Huawei further set out its SDN stall here today by unveiling a management system for software-defined networking (SDN) to accompany its previously announced OpenFlow-friendly SDN controller.

Briefing analysts and journalists here in the Dutch capital on the latest developments of its SoftCOM strategy, Jeffery Gao, chief marketing officer for Western Europe at Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., presented Netmatrix, a software system designed for the "orchestration" (surely the term of the year) of multiple wide area network layers that enables "traffic-aware-based resource on demand" capabilities. (See Huawei Unfolds SDN Roadmap.)

The same system also enables, according to Huawei, "IT-style service innovation" and has APIs northbound to third-party applications and southbound to the vendor's Smart Network Controller, which supports multiple SDN-friendly protocols, namely OpenFlow, PCE (path computation element), NetConf (network configuration protocol), and BGP (border gateway protocol).

But that's pretty much as far as it goes. Neither Netmatrix nor the Smart Network Controller are available products -- they are ready for proof-of-concept tests by network operators, said Gao, though interoperability tests with other vendors that have SDN controllers have taken place.

It may be a first step, but Huawei has certainly tapped into the most contentious area of SDN -- how to manage a wide area network that comprises physical and virtual network elements. The debate about next-generation OSS and management tools for an SDN world was the dominant topic of conversation at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress in Germany last week and at the Ethernet & SDN Expo in New York earlier this month, and is the biggest challenge facing those developing workable virtualized and programmable networking technologies for next-generation networks. (See NFV Group Finds Its Feet, Deutsche Telekom: A Software-Defined Operator, and ESDN: OSS Implosion.)

In addition to its Netmatrix, Huawei also has a long-term vision for a new OSS and BSS system it is calling the Business Enabling Suite (BES). But that's a way down the line and, it seems, even Huawei isn't quite clear which standards or specifications might underpin that development.

Indeed, in its roll call of SoftCOM industry organization partners, multiple bodies such as the Open Networking Foundation , Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) , OpenDaylight , and even the International Telecommunication Union, Standardization Sector (ITU-T) got a mention, but there was no reference to the TM Forum , the major industry body for OSS developments.

Just sayin'…

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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Dredgie
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Dredgie,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/23/2013 | 11:20:37 AM
Re: Mobile?
thanks, dan - yeah - I agree - the big problem is how the network decides and triggers the need. Obvioulsy you can have a great SDN controller w/ all the northbound APIs you want, but ultimatly you are going to need analytics in the network that are intelegent enough to make the call. The SDN paradigm falls apart, of course, if there is a body in the middle of the process, somewhere!
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
10/23/2013 | 11:07:18 AM
Re: Mobile?
Interesting, I heard from a little bird that Cisco wants to pull dynamic backhaul provisioning into the purview of its SON Suite but they're not quite there yet.

This whole area of dynamically modifying the different capabilities of a network via software is a weird race. All of the runners are starting from different areas of the track and it's not certain they'll end up in the same place as far as I can tell.
Dredgie
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Dredgie,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/23/2013 | 10:46:54 AM
Re: Mobile?
No timeframes, but there is absolutly mobile play for SDN, IMO - think mobile backhaul, for example, and the ability to dynamically change bandwith profiles based on demand at any particular time. And then there are the internal infrastructure plays, like data center backups, cloudbursting etc.
DOShea
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DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
10/22/2013 | 5:05:45 PM
Re: Standards and specs
Although, I guess Huawei is big enough it can push around some of the other companies in these groups if it really wants to.
DOShea
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DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
10/22/2013 | 5:02:55 PM
Standards and specs
Should we be surprised at that roll call of standards orgs and industry trade groups? I didn't think Huawei was willing to play that game, but maybe I missed something.
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
10/22/2013 | 12:25:48 PM
Mobile?
Any timeline for mobile deployments for SDN, seems like its going to be fixed and CDN networks first and SDN in mobile way after.
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