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ICYMI: International carriers deploying SDN technologies

In this week's SDN news, international telecom and Internet providers are deploying SDN technologies, while AT&T is testing a new software-defined storage platform.

In software-defined networking news, international telecom and Internet providers are partnering with vendors like Alcatel-Lucent, Brocade and Pica8 to deploy SDN technologies. Pluribus Networks partnered with Red Hat and Super Micro Computer to form an open and scalable converged infrastructure. And AT&T announced it is now using its SDN know-how to tackle problems with storage, with internal beta testing of software-defined storage (SDS) technologies underway.

International carriers turn to SDN

International carriers are deploying software-defined network (SDN) technologies to meet growing bandwidth demands around the globe. China Mobile, China Unicom, Australia's VirtuTel and France's TOUIX are the latest telecom and Internet providers to agree on partnerships with SDN vendors.

China Mobile and China Telecom have made separate deals with Alcatel-Lucent, worth a combined $1.3 billion, to use the vendor's network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) technologies, in an ongoing effort to shift to cloud-based networks. (Alcatel-Lucent launched its SDN company, Nuage Networks, in 2013.) Alcatel-Lucent will also deliver mobile and fixed ultra-broadband access, IP routing and agile optical networking.

The telecom providers hope deploying Alcatel-Lucent and Nuage Networks technologies will help them meet their commitments to the "Broadband China" initiative, the nation's attempt at adding broadband access across nearly all rural and urban areas by 2020.

Australia-based data and voice services provider VirtuTel has decided to deploy Brocade SDN-ready switches and routers. The company, which says it has seen triple-digit growth and is preparing for global expansion, has already begun deploying Brocade's ICX Ethernet switches and Netlron CER 2000 routers at its point-of-presence (POP) sites around the world. The provider says it will also deploy MLX routers when growth necessitates it.

Virtutel says that Brocade's support of OpenFlow 1.3 was a compelling selling point.

"The company is focused on remaining cloud-neutral, enabling customers to host their applications wherever they want, by leveraging OpenFlow's standard-based integration (via an SDN controller) with OpenStack cloud computing platforms," said VirtuTel managing Director David Allen.

Finally, in France, Internet exchange provider TOUIX is using Pica8's OpenFlow software and white box switches to optimize its fabric. In a press release, a senior ACG Research analyst said that SDN technologies can help prevent network outages and congestion caused by broadcast storms.                    

Pluribus forms partnership for open converged infrastructure

Pluribus Networks, which uses open source SDN, announced that it has partnered with Red Hat and Super Micro Computer to form an open and scalable converged infrastructure. Pluribus will combine its Open Netvisor Linux with Micro-Blade servers from Supermicro and Red Hat OpenStack, enabling cloud providers to efficiently deliver and deploy Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

"Our collaboration with Pluribus and Red Hat delivers a fully integrated open-source Linux-based IaaS solution with the comprehensive management, security and analytics features required for dynamic adaptability in enterprise and cloud-scale environments," said Charles Liang, president and CEO of Supermicro.

AT&T testing software-defined storage platform

AT&T recently announced it is using SDN principles to tackle problems with storage, creating a software-defined storage (SDS) system that the company is now beta testing internally. AT&T says its SDS approach addresses enterprise storage needs by creating a software layer on top of commercial disks, allowing for greater agility while still providing the necessary reliability, availability and redundancy.

In a blog post, AT&T Labs VP Chris Rice said the company's SDS concept provides an automated way to build customized storage plans in minutes, rather than in the weeks it would typically take an engineer using legacy storage architecture. Rice says users also have the ability to set parameters on cost control, reliability and performance using a Web interface. They can then adjust those parameters in real-time, using the dashboard's SDS visualization tool to see how tweaks will influence performance.

According to Rice, the company hopes that its internal testing of the proof of concept technology will prove the SDS system's effectiveness at scale. The technology may then ultimately be used across all AT&T data centers.

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