Huawei Expands Enterprise Networking in the U.S.

Huawei execs talk to ENP about the Chinese networking vendor's new switches and networking capabilities for the U.S. enterprise market.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted May 7, 2013
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LAS VEGAS - Huawei has no plans to leave the U.S. market.

Though maligned by the U.S government, the Chinese networking vendor continues to expand its Stateside enterprise networking portfolio. Huawei is announcing new switches and networking capabilities at the Interop conference this week.

In an interview with Enterprise Networking Planet, Jane Li, COO of Huawei Enterprise USA, explained that her group only got started in the U.S. in 2011. Its focus has always been the U.S. market, and for the last two years, she has been ensuring that Huawei knows what U.S. enterprises want and need.

Apparently, American enterprises want big iron: a massive new cloud-enabled switch. To fulfill that desire, Huawei is debuting its new CE12816 CloudEngine switch, which can scale up to 64 Tbps of bandwidth.

The CE12816 delivers all that bandwidth via a modular platform with support for 1, 10, 40, and 100 GbE connectivity. The CE12816 can support up to 192 x 100GE, 384 x 40GbE, or 1536 x 10GbE line-speed ports. At the operating system level, the CE12816 runs Huawei's VRP (Versatile Routing Platform), a Linux-based system.

Ian Foo, director of data center products and solutions for Huawei USA, noted that the CE12816 is a 16-slot chassis with support for interface cards from other Huawei CloudEngine series switches. He stressed that the port density on the CE12816 is a critical differentiator, enabling additional scale-out capacity for enterprises.

Virtualization and SDN

The CE12816 is a big switch on its own, but can be carved up to look like eight different smaller logical switches in what Huawei calls the VSS (Virtual Switching System).

On the other side, Huawei has a many-to-one, clustering switch system (CSS) that can enable multiple physical switches to behave as one logical switch. Currently, two CE12816 switches can be clustered together, with a roadmap to enable four switches in one logical management cluster.

From an SDN perspective, Huawei is taking a broad view rather than focusing just on OpenFlow.

"For us, OpenFlow is a very small portion of what SDN's capacity could be for an enterprise customer," Foo said.

The Huawei approach to SDN includes opening up the company's platforms, including hardware and middleware servers, to provide programmability for the interfaces. It's an approach that is not necessarily unique. Cisco is going a similar root with its OnePK effort, opening up its entire platform for SDN.

OpenDaylight

A key part of any SDN system is its controller mechanism. Foo explained that Huawei is evolving its own orchestration technology to become full-fledged SDN controllers.

He added that Huawei will also work with the wider SDN community to integrate open-API controllers into the Huawei system.

The open controller may not be the one that comes from the nascent OpenDaylight project, however. OpenDaylight is a multi-stakeholder open source effort led by the Linux Foundation to build SDN technologies.

While many major networking vendors, including Cisco, Juniper, HP, IBM, Brocade, and Dell are part of the OpenDaylight effort, Huawei is not.

"We are following Opendaylight as it matures," Foo said.

Huawei in the U.S.

While Huawei is optimistic about its prospects for U.S enterprises, the same cannot be said for U.S. carriers.

Francis Hopkins, director of public relations, explained that Huawei deals with every major carrier in the world, expect for the four primary carriers in the U.S. Hopkins noted that government interference is a concern. The U.S government has officially advised carriers not to use Huawei for anything that touches a government network.

That same challenge is not in place for U.S. enterprises. Hopkins noted that there is no impediment and that politics are not an issue when it comes to the enterprise.

 

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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