Huawei Enterprise Business: Four-Dimensional SDN Deployment
By Li Zhipeng, ICT Insights Reporter
SDN is the new focus of the network industry. What is the Huawei Enterprise strategy for SDN? What is the market for SDN technology? How will SDNs be deployed? SDN expert David Zheng has the answers.
Essence of SDN
ICT Insights: Having generated much heated discussion, do you think the industry has an agreed definition of SDN? What is the essence of SDN?
David Zheng: The industry consensus is that SDN consists of the forwarding plane, control plane, and applications. The essence of SDN lies in programmable network control and management, with resulting improvements in network operating efficiency and simplification of network management and operation.
ICT Insights: Do you think the many SDN-related organizations represent divergent development trends that will lead to separate camps? How should vendors choose?
David Zheng: SDN-related organizations include the ONF, Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), OpenDaylight, and OpenStack. The business focus of each organization is as follows:
• ONF: Founded in March 2011. Focused on OpenFlow forwarding, control, and orchestration. IT vendors and emerging vendors play important roles in ONF.
• IETF: Backed mainly by traditional network vendors, IETF is devoted to the formulation of interfaces and standards above the network layer.
• NFV: Founded in late 2012, NFV is concerned with virtualizing carrier network devices.
• OpenDaylight: A Linux open source organization, OpenDaylight founded by enterprise IT vendors in April 2013 is focused on the open source interface to the SDN controller.
• OpenStack: OpenStack specializes in cloud data center applications.
With a wide-ranging product portfolio and willingness to collaborate, Huawei has joined many organizations and continues to contribute research results.
Huawei SDN Strategies
ICT Insights: What is the overall SDN strategy of Huawei Enterprise? What has Huawei deployed in SDN?
David Zheng: Huawei Enterprise is focused on data centers, Wide Area Networks (WANs), and campus networks. Based on a variety of business scenarios and requirements, Huawei SDN has combined virtualization and cloud computing technologies, with an emphasis on the openness and programmability of each network layer. Our design goals are network integration and ongoing evolution.
Having accumulated valuable experience, the Huawei SDN portfolio boasts a full range of enterprise products from networks to data center solutions. We believe this combination is rare in the industry. Our great R&D strengths have provided leading network solutions for more than 20 years, and our IP network products are spread across the globe. These advantages lay a solid foundation for Huawei's success in the SDN market. Huawei provides end-to-end SDN solutions both horizontally, from users to data centers, and vertically, covering networks, computing, storage, and management.
ICT Insights: Can you give more details about the progress Huawei is making to deploy SDN in four dimensions?
David Zheng: In the product category, Huawei launched the industry's first hybrid SDN controller and SDN-capable router. We were also the first to pass the ONF 1.2 test.
Regarding solutions, Huawei embarked on SDN strategic research in 2010 and we have gained significant experience in providing end-to-end solutions.
In the standards arena, Huawei has joined many standards organizations, including sponsorship in Open Network Research Center (ONRC). Additionally, our NFV research results have been presented in the draft standards.
Cooperative innovation has begun with more than a dozen customers, which in turn is fueling progress in data center and data center WAN applications.
Towards Commercial Deployment in Two to Three Years
ICT Insights: What progress do you expect in the global SDN market in 2013?
David Zheng: SDN is currently used to virtualize data center networks and optimize WANs between data centers. I believe that progress will continue to be made on these fronts in 2013.
ICT Insights: When will SDN be fully implemented, and how should interested customers manage the deployment of SDN?
David Zheng: SDN is only two years old, and the supply chain is still in its infancy. However, chip, device, control, and management vendors have put forward many concepts and are launching new products. We can expect to see significant progress in SDN in the coming years. Companies such as Google, eBay, and Tencent are already using custom SDN implementations to virtualize WANs between data centers. Mature products for commercial deployment will hit the market gradually over the next two years. Enterprise customers, especially those with large data centers, must first conduct research, verification, and testing of their current virtualization and cloud deployments before final requirements can be established.
ICT Insights: What is the relationship between SDN, cloud computing, and virtualization? They always seem to appear at the same time.
David Zheng: As a core buzzword for the last few years, cloud computing changes network architectures and business models by integrating and virtualizing computing, network, and storage resources. Computing virtualization has been popularized, and storage virtualization has made progress also, but network virtualization remains unsolved because relevant products and technologies are not yet mature enough. In addition, relocation of virtual machines and security management are confronted with network restructuring problems. SDN can resolve these issues.
SDN is to cloud computing and virtualization what technology architecture is to service scenarios. SDN is an impressive technology architecture that can address existing problems in service scenarios, such as data center conversions to cloud computing and network virtualization.