Building on its previous work in software-based product offerings, Cyan has launched Blue Planet, a platform to bring the benefits of OpenFlow-based software-defined networking (SDN) to communications service providers. Blue Planet, already in use by NTT Communications, comprises an open SDN platform, Cyan-produced and third-party applications, and element adapters that enable systems from a variety of vendors to become parts of the SDN.
SDN is a movement that seeks to enable virtualization, improve service provisioning, simplify hardware, and lower costs by separating the network control and data planes. Such separation would enable the development of applications by a variety of parties that would run across different network elements without the requirement to access those network element’s proprietary network control software.
Open Flow, which Google developed, is the most well-known SDN platform and has been adopted by such organizations as the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) as a promising first step in promulgating SDN across a wide variety of different network types in both the enterprise and carrier domains.
Other carrier-focused systems vendors have touted SDN capabilities, and ADVA Optical Networking has announced an SDN approach that marries OpenFlow with GMPLS (see “ADVA extends OpenFlow to optical layer”). However, Cyan asserts that Blue Planet is the first SDN system to enable service providers to apply SDN virtualization concepts to a variety of networks, including those with network elements from multiple vendors.
Blue Planet builds on Cyan’s previous work in software-based products. For example, the CyPortal application within its Cyan 360 software suite included the ability to offer visibility into the performance of elements from manufacturers other than itself (see “Cyan touts CyPortal advances as steps toward software-defined networks”). According to Eric Clelland, Cyan CMO and vice president of North American sales, the Cyan 360 products now become applications under the new Blue Planet SDN platform umbrella. These applications and others can be purchased online via Cyan’s new CyStore e-commerce platform. Meanwhile, a Blue Planet Applications Development Environment is available for others interested in developing additional applications. The environment includes a downloadable software development kit that documents application program interfaces (APIs).
Cyan also will supply the element adapters necessary to bring systems from other vendors under Blue Planet SDN control. Blue Planet users can acquire adapters for “select devices” from Accedian Networks, Actelis Networks, ADTRAN, ADVA Optical Networking, Alcatel-Lucent, BTI Systems, Calient, Calix, Ciena, Cisco, Juniper Networks, MRV, OneAccess Networks, Optelian, Omnitron Systems, Overture, RAD Data Communications, Telco Systems, Transition Networks, Transmode, and others. Thus, carriers don’t have to have Cyan systems in their networks to use the product.
Regardless of whether or not a carrier has deployed Cyan’s Z-Series packet-optical transport systems, use of Blue Planet will open the door to a more efficient service provision approach and enable new product offerings, including networking as a service, Clelland says.
Blue Planet is already in use. "We view software as the key to achieving greater cost efficiency within the network and facilitating more rapid and effective service delivery,” said Dorian Kim, vice president of IP Engineering at NTT Communications, via a Cyan press release. “Cyan software has been vital to our network in realizing that vision."
In the same release, David Krozier, principal analyst for network infrastructure at Ovum who has been writing about SDN, added, "There's no question that service providers have a strong interest in SDN. Traditional network architectures are struggling to keep up as applications and services become much more dynamic. SDN offers the flexibility of a virtualized network infrastructure with control based on high-level policies. Ovum sees Cyan's Blue Planet architecture as a step in this direction."
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