SDN architectures

Huawei Goes After Operator & Enterprise With Unified Controller

Huawei underlined the launch of its big cloud strategy last week with the release of its new controller and WAN solutions.

It says its Agile Controller 3.0 is the industry's first "full-scenario controller," capable of supporting enterprise, data center, WAN and IoT environments. The other release, the Agile WAN, puts network management in the cloud and enables service providers to integrate "hard" IP pipes and software-defined bandwidth fiber in the same connection. (See Huawei Launches Industry First Full-Scenario Agile Controller 3.0.)

For operators the new SDN controller offers the prospect of on-demand bandwidth. In a pilot service run by Telia in Sweden, customers can dial up or down bandwidth as they need it.

Eric Xu, one of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. 's three joint CEOs, said every operator wanted to become a digital company, but first they needed to "cloudify" their networks.

"Look at all the Amazon products and services -- they include all the existing and future offerings that telcos want to offer," he said.

Amazon Web Services Inc. 's Snowball service charges $200 to send a 50TB disk to customers that retrieve data from their existing storage facilities and then physically send the disk to AWS, which transfers the data into the cloud, he pointed out. "I think that should be a business for telecom service providers. Why would you need physical delivery of the hard disk? It's not convenient or secure."

The new controller enables ad hoc expansion of bandwidth for major workloads or migration between different clouds, Xu said.

He said the Agile WAN could help cut layers in data center architecture. Using current architectures, mega data centers struggle with the complexity of hundreds of thousands of fiber connections, he reckons. By using cloud technology "we can turn it from scale-up to scale out, and from multiple layers into a single layer network."

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Huawei says using Agile WAN in the data center avoids traditional electrical cross-connect switching, improving switching capacity to 320 Tbit/s per device and cutting power consumption to 1/1000th that of traditional devices.

Xu said a cloud-based architecture for campus networks would remove another pain point.

"Campus networks are complicated and you need professional staff," he said. By introducing the cloud-based solution, enterprises can plug and play and service providers can manage from a single centralized point.

Xu said the arrival of the industrial internet put cloud at the center of business operations, and as a result the cloud was "changing from a support system to a production system."

Huawei sees its role as an enabler of digital transformation by providing cloud infrastructure and services, he emphasized.

— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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