Infinera, Brocade demo multilayer optimization via SDN with ESnet

Infinera (NASDAQ: INFN) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) have once again combined on a demonstration of a software-defined networking (SDN) Open Transport Switch. The new demonstration adds core routers from Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) to demonstrate SDN-enabled multilayer provisioning and network optimization.

Infinera (NASDAQ: INFN) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) have once again combined on a demonstration of a software-defined networking (SDN) Open Transport Switch (OTS). The new demonstration adds core routers from Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) to demonstrate SDN-enabled multilayer provisioning and network optimization.

In the prior demonstration, Infinera and ESnet showed the use of a prototype Open Transport Switch for optical resource provisioning in an SDN environment (see “Infinera, ESnet demo Transport SDN via Open Transport Switch”). Infinera has since upgraded the prototype with new capabilities for configuration, topology discovery, and monitoring that dovetail nicely with the Bandwidth Virtualization capabilities of Infinera’s DTN-X, said Mike Capuano, the company’s vice president of corporate marketing.

The demonstrations also leverage ESnet’s On-Demand Secure Circuits and Advance Reservation System (OSCARS). This software platform has algorithms for multi-layer provisioning, topology modeling, and path computation in an OpenFlow environment.

At the time of the first demo, ESnet Chief Technologist Inder Monga called the OTS “a good first step” in meeting his SDN goals, with the application of SDN principles to multiple network layers a logical next step. The current demo, which is ongoing, aims to take that step with two use cases serving as examples.

For the first use case, multilayer provisioning, ESnet uses OSCARS communicating with a Floodlight open source SDN controller via RESTful application programming interfaces (APIs) to provision services over three OTS-enabled DTN-X platforms at the transport layer and Brocade MLXe Core Routers and other OpenFlow-enabled Layer 2 switches at the packet layer. The result is the ability to provision a 100 Gigabit Ethernet service via a single screen across the router layer and transport layer.

The second use case focuses on multilayer network optimization, in particular how detection of increasing packet flow bandwidth could trigger OSCARS to reroute large flows to bypass intermediate packet switch/routers. This ability keeps more traffic at the transport layer and minimizes the amount of transit traffic carried at the router layer, thus saving capital and operational costs.

“We believe the ability for the network to quickly and nimbly handle large data flows at the most cost-effective layer of the network is one of the key value drivers for SDN,” said Monga via a press release describing the demonstration. “Being able to provision and optimize the network across both the router and transport layers from a single console using our OSCARS platform and open standards-based protocols is very attractive to ESnet.”

Infinera and Brocade plan to highlight the demonstration at the SDN and OpenFlow World Congress in Bad Homburg, Germany that runs through October 18. Capuano says that the OTS remains a prototype but illustrates Infinera’s view of what he called “carrier SDN” (because “Transport SDN” implies SDN only at the transport layer) in that it provides the type of “clean” APIs that will enable carriers to pursue a “best of breed” platform strategy at multiple network layers. Noting that the work of such organizations as the Open Networking Foundation in applying SDN principals to carrier networks (including optical transport) is ongoing, Capuano predicted that it will be 2015 before SDN begins to take significant hold in carrier networks.

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