Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) says it will offer a suite of virtualized IP edge router functionality that customers can run on Intel x86-based servers. Initial elements of the Alcatel-Lucent Virtualized Service Router (VSR) software application set is available now, with the rest scheduled for release next year.
According to Manish Gulyani, vice president of marketing for the company's IP Routing and Transport business, Alcatel-Lucent sees virtualized routers as complementary to its hardware-based routers rather than as replacements. For example, a carrier might want to quickly turn up a service for a new customer that doesn't call for the full capabilities of a dedicated hardware system. The fact that the virtualized routers leverage the same Alcatel-Lucent Service Router Operator System (SROS) and are managed by the same 5620 Service Aware Manager (SAM) as the company’s hardware routers underscores this belief in a hybrid hardware/virtual approach.
That said, the virtualized routers are designed for robust service delivery. Gulyani says the application suite can support 320G half-duplex in a single x86 server. Such performance is greater than twice the capabilities of other virtualized edge switch router offerings, he asserted. The app package can be spread across multiple servers for larger requirements.
The Virtual Switch Router suite includes:
- The VSR-RR virtualized route reflector, which is available now.
- The VSR-SIM IP-MPLS software-based router simulator, also available now.
- The VSR-PE Virtualized Provider Edge software for delivery of Carrier Ethernet and IPN services. The company has made this package available for demonstration, with an eye toward commercial availability in the first half of 2015.
- The VSR-AA Virtualized Application Assurance app supports application-based value-added services and application-level reporting and traffic management. It also is available for demonstration with a first-half 2015 commercial launch date.
- The VSR-SEGW Virtualized IP Security Gateway app will be available for demonstration during the first half of 2015.
- The VSR-WLGW Virtualized Wireless LAN Gateway will be available for demonstration during the second half of 2015.
- The VSR-BNG Virtualized Broadband Network Gateway will be available for demonstration in the second half of 2015.
Gulyani says that more than 20 customer trials of elements of the Virtual Switch Router are underway, and the company has already achieved a pair of customer wins.
"NFV is very important for us in enabling new service opportunities and efficiencies and we’re in the process of transforming our network to a more flexible architecture," said Mathieu Bonnin, responsable architecture, direction réseau, Axione, an affiliate of Bouygues Energie, by way of example. "As part of this transformation we tested Alcatel-Lucent’s Route Reflector application and were very impressed by its performance. We have measured that the virtual Route Reflectors are eight times faster than the route reflectors currently used in our network. We look forward to testing more of Alcatel-Lucent’s VSR applications as they continue to roll out in 2015."
"The telecom industry has been waiting to see how router vendors will play in the new reality of an SDN/NFV software focused world," added Michael Howard, co-founder and principal analyst at market research firm Infonetics Research, via an Alcatel-Lucent press release. "Alcatel-Lucent is the first major router company we’ve seen that has clearly defined a complete hardware-software strategy to deliver routing in this new era. Carriers will like the fact that the new Virtualized Service Router software is built on Alcatel-Lucent's long-in-the-field SROS carrier routing code. We know from our research that a majority of service providers want to move some edge router functions off of hardware onto software, and VSR gives them the flexibility to quickly deploy new services on a new cost basis through a combination of virtualized and purpose built edge routers."
For more information on switch routers and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer's Guide.