As software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) migrated from the data center environment to carrier networks, observers theorized that telco networks might see virtualization of telco network routers and switches, similar to the advent of "white box" switches in the data center. Optical transport systems vendor Coriant has decided to help accelerate such a transition via its Light IP Solution initiative.
Speaking at OFC 2016 in Anaheim last month, Coriant CTO Uwe Fischer and Bill Kautz, director of strategic solutions, described the Light IP Solution as a strategy focused on enabling IP/optical transport integration by leveraging virtual network functions (VNFs) instead of performing classical "router/transport integration." Coriant Light IP will leverage the trend of what the sources called "router decomposition" to enable Layer 3 forwarding to become part of an SDN-controlled, multi-layer transport plane. Photonic bypass would provide the foundation for efficient and scalable delivery of VNFs within a cloud infrastructure.
Fischer said Coriant is in the position to support core router virtualization more aggressively than several other systems houses because the company doesn't have a core router business to protect.
Coriant has begun demonstrating capabilities along these lines using its Transcend SDN Solution, which includes both transport and packet SDN controllers (see "Coriant upgrades Transcend SDN Transport Controller"), and Coriant Transport Network Management System. Fischer pointed to demonstrations Coriant conducted alongside Brocade of SDN/NFV-enabled "smart mobile cloud" architectures at Mobile World Congress as indicative of what the evolution toward virtualized router functionality might look like.
The company is in early discussions with carriers about how to implement its Light IP Solution concepts, particularly whether such deployments should focus on greenfield applications or should include legacy migration as well, Fischer added.
Meanwhile, the company has announced this week the Coriant Multi-layer Network Optimization and Migration Planning Service as part of the Light IP Solution set. The service aims to provide customized support for operators who want to begin to put Coriant's IP/optical integration philosophy for Layer 0 through 3 into effect.
Coriant says the service, which the company asserts is vendor agnostic, can help operators achieve a variety of goals:
- Optimize network design based on traffic patterns to improve efficiency
- Reclaim stranded network resources through multi-layer network defragmentation and capacity analysis
- Identify and address potential network capacity bottlenecks
- Simplify operations
- Develop business cases (including potential space and power savings) for migrating legacy infrastructure to more suitable technologies.