Nuage Networks focused on scalable, automated hybrid clouds
By Jim Duffy, Network World
Like Cisco and its Insieme Networks project, Alcatel-Lucent has invested in a startup company focused on SDNs for cloud service providers.
Nuage Networks was established a year ago to tackle the scalability and automated service provisioning issues of cloud providers offering hybrid -- public and private -- multi-tenant cloud services. Usually, the bottleneck in all of this is the network, and that's what Nuage is focusing on.
"We want to make sure that the network gets out of the way," says Sunil Khandekar, Nuage CEO.
Khandekar was the vice president of business development for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region of Alcatel-Lucent's IP Division. Prior to this he had global responsibility for the company's Service Router portfolio as vice president of product management for the IP Division.
Khandekar joined the former Alcatel with its 2003 acquisition of TiMetra Networks, a Silicon Valley startup developing service routers for IP/MPLS networks.
Like Alcatel-Lucent's IP Division, Nuage is headquartered in Mountain View. It is staffed not only by Alcatel-Lucent personnel but also with those from the company's competitors, like Cisco and Juniper, and Webscale/Web 2.0 and virtualization companies, like Yahoo and VMware.
Nuage was not forthcoming on product details -- the "official" launch of the company and its products is scheduled for April. But Khandekar said the company is building SDN capabilities for "fully automated, full programmable networks" support hybrid cloud services.
Cisco has invested an initial $100 million in Insieme, with the option to purchase the company for about $800 million. Neither Cisco nor Insieme has disclosed what the startup is working on but it's is believed to be a line of programmable 100G Ethernet switches and a controller, with substantial storage hooks.
Khandekar said the Nuage products will support multi-vendor IP/Ethernet environments and can be deployed in both greenfield and legacy data centers. They will require an SDN controller, software embedded in network and compute elements to allow them to be controlled, and knowledge of the network to slice it into multi-tenant segments in a programmable manner, Khandekar says.
The products will support OpenFlow as one of many control protocols, and will be "agnostic" to others like OpenStack, CloudStack, VMware vCenter, etc. The Nuage products will also be hypervisor agnostic, Khandekar says.
Even though Nuage will leverage OpenFlow, it will also go beyond the capabilities of OpenFlow to allow cloud service providers to construct highly scalable, multi-tenant hybrid clouds capable of using different orchestration mechanisms, Khandekar says.
Several customers will begin tests and trials of the Nuage products this month, he says.
It's a wrap: Counting down the major trends in 2012
Software Defined Networking (SDN): SDN, one of the latest and greatest acronyms in the industry, is a form of network virtualization in which the control plane is separated from the data plane and implemented in a software application. The technology has been finding utility in applications including cloud-based Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) as part of a consolidated data center. And just as the SDN market gains momentum, a number of the largest telecom suppliers, particularly Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), have all been upping their SDN product lines internally by either acquiring or creating new so-called "spin-in" divisions or paying top dollar to get into the SDN space if need be. Juniper, for example, recently acquired Contrail Systems for $176 million. Meanwhile, Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco have created their "spin-in" SDN units Nuage and Insieme.
VDSL2 and vectoring: At a time when both traditional telcos like Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Bell Aliant (Toronto: BA-UN.TO) are delivering over 100 Mbps and Google Fiber (Nasdaq: GOOG) is delivering 1 Gbps speeds to homes over fiber, it's a bit ironic to talk about copper. However, the reality is that it's not economically feasible to bring fiber to every premise. With the advent of VDSL2 and emerging techniques including vectoring and phantom mode, copper is coming back into the spotlight. While large U.S. telcos such as AT&T (NYSE: T) and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) have expressed interest in using VDSL2 in combination with vectoring, the majority of the trials and deployments are taking place in Europe. VDSL2 combined with vectoring can help mitigate cross talk and noise issues that occur on the copper pairs, thus increasing speeds to 50 and over 100 Mbps, depending on how far away the customer resides from the nearest remote terminal (RT) cabinet. During the year, service providers including Belgacom, Deutsche Telekom, OTE, TDC Denmark and Telekom Austria A1 all began deployments or are now conducting trials of VDSL2 and vectoring.