September 16, 2013
In what they are billing as a first-of-its-kind demonstration, ADVA Optical Networking teamed with IBM and Marist College last week to demonstrate the ability to automatically reconfigure wavelengths on an optical transport network connecting three datacenters, based on application triggers. (See ADVA Claims Virtualized Optical Network First.)
Using software defined networking (SDN) and OpenFlow-based control, including an open-source SDN application developed by Marist College scientists, the demonstration was able to automatically set up and tear down wavelengths among three datacenters, along with spinning up virtual machines, in a matter of five minutes. That replaces a process that normally takes carriers days or weeks, says Todd Bundy, director, Global Alliances, ADVA Optical Networking .
"To do this today, you would go to your optical group and get them to provision a wavelength, then you have to go to your Layer 2-Layer 3 switch group, the LAN guys, then to people who manage the virtualized server environment," Bundy says. "For our customers, that can take weeks, even months."
The ADVA-IBM-Marist demo accomplished that process, including the Layer 1 optical portion, in a matter of minutes without any people, based on application triggers, Bundy says.
The demonstration is one of many efforts by vendors in the SDN and network functions virtualization arenas to show the practicality of virtualization and that it is within the grasp of network operators. (See Ciena Rallies Research Nets for SDN Demo and New Group Ties NFV to the Cloud.)
This demo used an SDN test bed at Marist, along with three geographically diverse datacenters in which IBM's switching, server, and storage technology was deployed. The datacenters were connected by an optical network based on ADVA FSP 3000s, using colorless and directionless re-configurable optical add-drop multiplexers (ROADMS).
This type of functionality could enable enterprises to get pay-as-you-go bandwidth in addition to cloud computing and storage, says Casimir DeCusatis, Distinguished Engineer, IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM). Other immediate applications include more efficient use of network resources, replacement of costly one-for-one network backup architectures with 1XN pools of dynamic wavelengths, and much more effective disaster recovery.
"We see a tremendous interest in the market from our clients who want to run dynamic workloads, which is very different from five to 10 years ago, DeCusatis says. Both inside the datacenter and among datacenters, network connections need to be as dynamic as computing and storage resources have become in the cloud era.
Both DeCusatis and Bundy say they believe theirs is the first demonstration of its kind that goes all the way down to Layer 1, the optical layer, in making resources dynamic. It is possible to use today's existing network resources at that layer and add dynamic reconfiguration capabilities with software, DeCusatis says.
The other key piece to the demo is that it is based on open-source software, Bundy says.
The initial benefits of dynamic reconfiguration of network resources favor enterprises more than service providers, the two men admit, but in the longer run being able to run more efficient networks that aren't overbuilt for backup purposes and offer new services such as advanced disaster recovery will pay off as well for network operators.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading
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