SDN, OpenFlow and the Service Provider – Brocade VP on theCube


Ken Cheng the VP of Service Provider Products, Brocade stopped by on theCube to discuss some announcements and the value of SDN to the service provider business.  Having announced support for OpenFlow and SDN back on Brocade’s Tech Day 2010, Cheng states that SDN is now poised to fundamentally change networking in a profound way, we are leading the charge.  A lot of Service Providers are intrigued by this technology and are trying to understand what the technology can do for them.  Near and dear to the heart of a service provider, SDN brings three key benefits: network virtualization, programmatic control of infrastructure, and cloud orchestration.  While many service providers are looking at these benefits and evaluating how to get started, they are also looking to Brocade for solutions that answer the question of programmability.  Service providers believe the early days of SDN are about applying SDN to specific applications.  Additionally, it is important to build applications around SDN without ripping out their existing applications.

By providing virtual networks on top of their existing networks, the need to completely rearchitect a complete infrastructure can be eliminated.  In working with Brocade, support of SDN can be done in an extended way, embracing revisions and staying on track along the standard.  In this way, investment for the service providers is completely protected.  Introducing hybrid mode, deploying inside of a customer datacenter or WAN effectively creates new services over the service provider customer.  By unleashing capabilities such as directing certain flow, avoiding congestion, and redirecting flows from business critical applications, the enablement created opens up significant operational efficiencies.   Service providers are looking for simplified operations and lower cost per bit.  With supercore, the changes on the core network, including increased speed, capacity to take on growing volume, and other factors such as the fragmentation of address space brought on by ipv6 utilization, the complexity and costs are constantly rising.  The supercore advancements deliver a purpose-built high-density 10G interface module and a reduced feature set LSR router that bring mass scalability and reduced CapEx and OpEx costs to the datacenter.

Ipv6 migration has to be a dual stack solution, overlay therefore is great in providing a native ipv6 option and a basis for building virtualized networks on top of production networks.  The cost of this of course will be felt in that traffic encapsulation is occurring inside an additional header inside the tunnel.

Brocade is one of the industry’s best kept secrets in that they possess one of the industry’s best analytic solutions.  Service providers and customers have the ability to set filters with MRX analytic enabled to filter information and feed into analytic applications.  Anything from security applications, visualization, and modeling are enabled to get the right data by changing filtering policies.  These solutions are highly desirable due to highly scalable, 10g and 100g network capacity and high grained filtering policies.   Network admins can use these tools in conjunction with analytic application managers.

The biggest opportunity for service providers lies in the focus on datacenter networking and interconnecting datacenters for cloud-optimized networks.  This is where SDN brings tremendous value, and Brocade leads in the implementation of SDN and OpenFlow technologies.