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Leading Lights 2016 Finalists: Most Innovative SDN Product Strategy (Vendor)Leading Lights 2016 Finalists: Most Innovative SDN Product Strategy (Vendor)

Seven vendor finalists demonstrate SDN's broad potential.

Mitch Wagner

May 17, 2016

8 Min Read
Leading Lights 2016 Finalists: Most Innovative SDN Product Strategy (Vendor)

This year's finalists for vendor SDN product strategy demonstrate SDN's potential for building flexibility into service provider networks. They include monitoring tools, improved access networks, redesigned central offices, VPN platforms and more.

Seven companies rose above the pack to win the title of category finalist.

The Leading Lights 2016 winners and newest class of Hall of Fame inductees will be unveiled at the Leading Lights awards dinner, which will be held the evening of Monday, May 23, at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas. For more details, see this Leading Lights 2016 awards dinner page. The following day, the Big Communications Event 2016 opens its doors for two days of networking and learning.

The finalists are:

Big Switch Networks
Big Switch Networks ' Big Monitoring Fabric deploys inline to enable pervasive security and monitoring of north-south data center traffic in the DMZ. By leveraging the controller as the central point of management, BMF Inline configures policies that create paths through line tools for service chaining, Big Switch says.

The product is designed to ensure maximum resilience against network or tool failures and to satisfy the high availability requirements of security and network administrators. When combined with the functionality supported by Big Monitoring Fabric (Out of Band Mode), network and security administrators experience pervasive visibility into their IT infrastructure, the vendor says.

BMF Inline is ideal for network architects looking to modernize and build out their monitoring with a secure alternative to hardware bypass switches, and more efficient approach to policy-based service chaining, Big Switch says.

Since April 2015, Big Monitoring Fabric (Inline Mode) has been deployed at a Fortune 50 petroleum company across 70 data centers in the first phase of deployment. It was selected as the company's inline monitoring tool for its ease of deployment and operation, modern scalability and excellent feature set, the company says.

Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX)'s Software Defined Access is an open framework for building access networks that leverage DevOps, instrumentation, analytics, flow awareness, SDN and network virtualization. According to Calix, Software Defined Access benefits are as follows:

  • - It abstracts services from physical infrastructure to accommodate the evolution of fiber, copper and wireless PHY technologies in the access network with consistent methods and procedures (MOPS).
    - It distributes control, management and processing capabilities across the access network on an as-needed basis.- It delivers subscriber services based on application-level flows.
    - It integrates at every FCAPS level into SDN controllers/orchestrators and with other systems within the access network using open standard interfaces.
    - It accommodates and leverages the installed access network without compromising the efficiencies available in new builds.
    - It encompasses a software platform that can be incrementally modified and dynamically managed over a long lifecycle utilizing a DevOps methodology.
    - It provides flow-based instrumentation and analytics for service assurance, accounting and policy enforcement.

Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN)'s Blue Planet Division is offering the industry's first commercial-grade version of the Open Network Operating System (ONOS) open-source SDN controller for service providers and mission-critical networks. Marketed as Blue Planet ONOS, this solution gives service providers the ability to take advantage of the cumulative software expertise of the open-source community, combined with levels of support and assurance required for commercial deployment. As a commercial-grade distribution of ONOS, Blue Planet ONOS is backed by Ciena's world-class service and support, as well as software development, the company says.

Blue Planet ONOS is focused on the Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD) use case, which aims to replace the proprietary infrastructure of the traditional central office with open software and commoditized hardware building blocks to deliver datacenter economies of scale and cloud-like agility to service provider networks, Ciena says.

As an open-source SDN controller for CORD and datacenter networks, ONOS fully complements and extends Blue Planet's vendor-agnostic NFV and multi-domain service orchestration capabilities, the vendor says.

Next page: Made for the cloud

Ciena's Blue Planet Division sees a rapidly growing level of support for open source software with service providers, and believes that vendors will play an increasingly strategic role in the development, integration and support of these solutions over time, Ciena says.

Huawei Technologies
CloudVPN, offered by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. SDN System Integration service, helps operators enhance VPN service with benefits including an on-demand elastic model and online self-service experience. CloudVPN is part of a larger SDN service strategy that helps operators transform traditional siloed networks with SDN technologies, Huawei says.

Huawei pre-integrates value-added services from partners. With the support of the Huawei SDN Open Lab in Beijing, Huawei says it can integrate a new value-added service within seven days. So far, Huawei has established cooperative relationships with over 20 mainstream value-added service providers, has provided over 50 types of typical value-added services and performed E2E service solution verifications for over 30 market projects around the world. The pre-integration helps operators quickly provide optimal low-cost value-added services for enterprises, the vendor says.

Midokura Enterprise MidoNet (MEM) is a scalable network virtualization solution designed for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds. The latest version, MEM 5.0, launched in February, builds upon Midokura's enterprise-grade networking technology to support critical network virtualization deployments with significantly new enhanced operational tools that were designed specifically for OpenStack operators, the vendor says.

MEM 5.0 offers a software-based network abstraction layer between the hosts and the physical network, allowing operators to build isolated networks in software overlaying pre-existing hardware-based network infrastructure. Designed for distributed computing, MEM provides per-tenant network control so that operators can create and make changes to the virtual network without disturbing the physical infrastructure via the intuitive MidoNet Manager, the company says.

The Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) Network Services Platform for Carrier SDN helps operators to thrive in the cloud era of networking by providing operators with a faster, simpler way to define and provision network services, according to Nokia. The NSP Is purpose-built software that blends Nokia's extensive experience in service management -- and in large-scale IP and optical routing -- to unify and simplify automation and control of complex IP/optical networks.

The product bridges the gap between service provisioning and network engineering so that operators can set up services with the confidence that they have the assets they need to meet the demands of dynamic service requests in a cost-effective manner, Nokia says.

It improves overall service health and network efficiency by unifying network optimization with comprehensive network key performance indicators (KPIs), the company says.

The platform works across IP, optical and Ethernet technologies, across physical and virtual network infrastructure, and across multiple network vendors, Nokia says.

Packet Design
Packet Design Inc. adapts its combination of real-time routing and traffic flow telemetry as well as performance metrics to supply the missing SDN management layer between the physical and virtual network infrastructure and the applications that need network resources. The Packet Design SDN Management and Orchestration Platform is an independent, modular and vendor-agnostic platform that provides the key analytics, optimization and orchestration functions required by SDN applications, the vendor says.

Comprising the Explorer suite of products plus new SDN extensions, the platform provides a comprehensive set of micro-services for closed-loop SDN analytics and application management, Packet Design says. These include routing topology models; traffic matrices; latency, utilization, jitter, loss and other performance metrics; baselining; predictive analytics; optimization algorithms; and a policy engine that can be used to determine in real time if application requests for network resources can and should be satisfied.

The SDN MANO Platform is designed to help accelerate SDN deployments outside the data center.

— Mitch Wagner, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, Light Reading.

About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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