In the race to build Software Defined Networking (SDN) capabilities, some vendors buy companies, while others try and build their own SDN features. Alcatel-Lucent is taking a different approach by launching a fully funded new venture company called Nuage Networks, specifically tasked with building SDN solutions.
“Anybody and everybody is talking about SDN,” Manish Gulyani, VP of Marketing at Alcatel-Lucent, told Enterprise Networking Planet.
Gulyani noted that to date, Alcatel-Lucent hasn’t made much noise about SDN. In November of 2012, Alcatel-Lucent outlined its enterprise SDN strategy, which involves the use of RESTful interfaces.
Nuage Networks will take this a step further for cloud service providers and data centers. Nuage is a separate venture, though it will share some resources with Alcatel-Lucent.
“We felt that it was important to have a startup mentality,” Gulyani said. “We wanted it to be unencumbered by a specific hardware networking legacy.”
Nuage Networks is fully funded by Alcatel-Lucent and has not received any external funding. Gulyani noted that when talking to service providers, the existing Alcatel-Lucent salesforce will be used. The company is also building out new channel sales and partnership opportunities.
The core SDN solution from Nuage is its Virtualized Services Platform (VSP) technology. VSP is a software-based solution that provides a number of capabilities.
VSP includes a Virtualized Services Directory (VSD), which is a policy engine that allows IT users to specify business requirements for deploying an application. The platform also has a Virtual Services Controller (VSC), which is the SDN controller.
“The SDN controller provides full virtualization using an overlay approach so it’s fully independent of the network,” Gulyani said. “It builds the topology for connecting all the end points and then it just programs through OpenFlow the forwarding tables on the switches.”
From a switching perspective, Nuage has a Virtual Routing and Switching (VRS) component that sits on a server hypervisor.
“What we are doing is programming the open vSwitch and augmenting it to provide layer 2-4 capabilities,” Gulyani said.
The open vSwitch is an open source component that is part of the mainline Linux kernel. Gulyani said that VRS has support for the Xen, KVM and VMware ESX hypervisors now, and Nuage is currently working to enable it for Microsoft Hyper-V.