Story image

Alcatel Lucent: From AFN to SDN...

18 Apr 14

Patricio Martelo, Alcatel Lucent APAC strategic sales talks right-sized and application fluent network data centres.

When thinking of data centres, we often think about very large enterprises or web-scale companies and try to extrapolate to the average-size enterprise.

The reality is that while the challenges faced are similar across different segments, the size of the issue at the lower end of the scale does not warrant the complexity and cost of the approaches used at the higher end.

We can still, however, capitalise on the same trends and tailor our solution and value proposition to suit the market that we want to address.

Firstly, cloud. Whether private, public or hybrid, a data centre cloud has a switching fabric as its underlying infrastructure. A fabric provides performance, resilience and storage convergence to virtual workloads.

Much of the battle amongst switching vendors has focused on data centre fabrics of tens of thousands of ports.

Such massive port counts can capture a headline but are hardly representative of the data centre market with the majority of the DCs having less than 1000 ports.

With this in mind, a research note by Gartner – Rightsizing the Data Center Network, Mark Fabbi, Caio Misticone, Gartner, 2013 – has shown the savings that can be attained by adopting a DC fabric that is based on small-form-factor switches.

Our five-second elevator pitch could be 'A rightsized cloudenabled DC fabric can save up to 70% in Capex and more than 30% in Opex'.

SDN

Secondly, SDN. This buzzword is sometimes considered to be synonymous with Openflow, VXLAN, Openstack or other emerging technologies.

Rather than focus on these, let’s focus on what SDN pursues. In most DCs today, workloads can be deployed and optimised with a simple drag and drop operation, but time-consuming processes and configuration are required on the network.

The goal of SDN is to match this flexibility and automation. But even large enterprises lack the teams of skilled engineers that it takes to evaluate, let alone deploy, SDN.

Therefore, an evolutionary rather than revolutionary approach is required to achieve the same outcomes in the enterprise space. We call this application fluency.

The application fluent network (AFN) DC bridges this gap by understanding and automatically adapting to compute resources.

With AFN, coupled with a network management system (NMS) for visibility and APIs to the Hypervisor manager for coordination, we can offer a no-nonsense approach to SDN in the enterprise today that can be expanded with Openflow, Openstack and others if and when required.

Last but not least, we can take advantage of these trends to differentiate with our business model and value added services. For instance, the 'rightsized' cloud DC trend will be best complemented with flexible PAYG models.

The SDN trend requires a new range of professional services with skills around SDN controllers and open source software and could be leveraged to develop an SDN-based solution that targets a specific vertical.

Proofpoint launches feature to identify most targeted users
“One of the largest security industry misconceptions is that most cyberattacks target top executives and management.”
How blockchain will impact NZ’s economy
Distributed ledgers and blockchain are anticipated to provide a positive uplift to New Zealand’s economy.
McAfee named Leader in Magic Quadrant an eighth time
The company has been once again named as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Security Information and Event Management.
Symantec and Fortinet partner for integration
The partnership will deliver essential security controls across endpoint, network, and cloud environments.
Review: Blue Mic’s Satellite headphones are good but...
Blue Mic’s newest wireless headphones deliver on sound, aesthetic, and comfort - but there is a more insidious issue at hand.
Is Supermicro innocent? 3rd party test finds no malicious hardware
One of the larger scandals within IT circles took place this year with Bloomberg firing shots at Supermicro - now Supermicro is firing back.
Forcepoint and Chillisoft - “a powerful combination”
Following Chillisoft’s portfolio expansion by signing on Forcepoint, the companies’ execs explain how this is a match made in cybersecurity heaven.
David Hickling in memoriam: “Celebrate the life and the music it made”
Dave was a well-respected presence in the IT channel and his recent death was felt by all the many people who knew him as a colleague and a friend.