How to Stay ‘Mobile’ During a Severe Weather Event

As the polar vortex recently bore down on much of the Midwest and East Coast, bringing lots of snow and multiple headaches, the topic of remote working comes to mind. Seasonal events such as heavy snow—not to mention the ice storm that paralyzed parts of the southern U.S. in early December—can disrupt businesses as well as daily life in many ways. Lack of electricity, canceled flights, delays or shutdowns in local transportation all have an adverse affect on daily activities.

Keeping a business operating at optimal levels when employees can’t make it into the office quickly becomes a problem. The losses in productivity and resulting lost business can mount up fast.

Cloud Services Can Help

Luckily for today’s businesses, technology exists so that many employees can perform their jobs remotely as seamlessly as if they were in the office. For example, cloud-based Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) enables employees to work remotely, helping to keep things running at the business. Communication tools such as softphones, instant messaging, and audio and video conferencing help dispersed teams collaborate and work on projects even when the weather outside is frightful.

Enabling employees to do their jobs even when they can’t get into the office keeps them safe during dangerous travel conditions, but it also means not losing employee productivity over the course of the weather event.

UCaaS keeps communications running smoothly, especially critical for organizations that heavily rely on communications for their revenue. During inclement weather, unified communications solutions can:

  • Integrate email, voice and instant messaging into a cohesive communication system so all employees can keep in touch
  • Provide access points to all data used by an organization so that users can communicate with others inside and outside their organizations quickly and more easily
  • Lower overall IT and telecommunications costs, particularly labor costs, because of the inherent economies of scale available through an integrated communications platform
  • Give access to carrier-grade communications that deliver consistency with easy-to-use functionality

Virtual Desktops—at Your Service

Other cloud services can make working remotely a reality as well. For instance, Desktop as a Service (DaaS) means moving an employee’s desktop to the cloud and making it accessible anywhere, anytime by an Internet-enabled service. Virtual desktops can be linked through a private network connection to a secure, remote data center far from the bad weather. Best of all, desktops in the cloud look and behave as if they are part of a corporate IT environment. Customers and employees won’t notice a difference in the quality of service.

Plus, the ability to deploy, manage and support desktops through DaaS reduces costs and eliminates the complexity of deploying and managing virtual desktops. Hardware costs can be reduced by nearly 60% and easier management means lower operating costs. Other benefits of DaaS include:

  • Improved security and compliance through centralized updates
  • Better mobility for your workforce through seamless access from any device, at any location
  • More flexibility to easily deploy and quickly scale desktops
  • A disaster recovery strategy to get desktops back up and running quickly

Routing Network Traffic Using SDN

Software-defined networking (SDN) simplifies the network management, proactively addresses network performance and quickly re-routes network traffic as needed—all critical functions during a severe weather occurrence.

SDN can help businesses keep their mission-critical processes up and running. Using OpenFlow technology, an SDN solution centralizes control of the network and automatically monitors network traffic, distributing it according to pre-defined policies and constantly updated network resources and traffic conditions.

Think of a delivery truck’s route from point A to point B. If the truck runs into bad weather conditions or an accident on the route, the driver can access a traffic monitoring app such as Google Turn by Turn to identify and then access another route quickly. The driver is able to quickly re-route the truck so that it doesn’t lose any more time in making its delivery.

So, when bad weather strikes, having the right tools and technology in place to enable mobility among your workforce can make a real difference. Consider including UCaaS, and SDN solutions in your disaster recovery plans to help create a safe and secure environment that protects your data and applications and keeps your businesses running.

To learn more about these solutions follow the links below:

UCaaS – http://goo.gl/5AGs87  SDN – http://goo.gl/HGiyf

ONF Honors NEC as First Vendor to Certify for OpenFlow 1.0 Conformance

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF), a user-driven organization focused on the promotion and adoption of Software-defined Networking (SDN) through open standards development, has awarded NEC Corporation (NEC) with the first Certificate of Conformance offered through the ONF’s OpenFlow Conformance Testing Program. A Certificate of Conformance from ONF is the highest level of assurance available in the market today to confirm OpenFlow specification compliance.

dan pitt, don clark, and fabian-schneider with the nec openflow certificate of conformance

Dan Pitt, ONF Executive Director, presents Don Clark, Director of Business Strategy, NEC Corporation, and Fabian Schneider, Vice Chair of the ONF Architecture Working Group, and Senior Researcher at NEC Labs, with the Certificate of Conformance

NEC’s ProgrammableFlow® Switches PF5240 and the PF5248 both earned the OpenFlow Switch Specification 1.0.1 certificate. Testing of NEC’s switches was conducted by the Indiana Center for Translational Research and Education (InCNTRE). The ONF OpenFlow Conformance Testing program was introduced in July 2013, and works with independent labs approved for ONF testing. Once the test specification requirements are met, the certificate of conformance is issued, validating that a company is using current technology and is guaranteed to accurately implement the OpenFlow specification.

OpenFlow ConformantWhen the program was first rolled out, Rick Bauer, technical program manager at ONF, commented: “the ONF OpenFlow Conformance Program underscores an organization’s dedication to end users. The program assures that the products purchased and implemented are deployment-ready for end users’ networking environments, as well as future-looking for compatibility with the increasing number of SDN solutions built on an OpenFlow foundation.” He concluded that “the certified products deliver predictable results, reinforcing the end users’ overall confidence in the vendor.”

This certification from ONF underlines NEC’s commitment to OpenFlow standards and to innovative network solutions. Vendors with certified products assert their commitment to both the OpenFlow specification and the benefits it provides customers, including interoperability and best-of-breed network solutions resulting in cost-effective networks delivering business agility.

It is interesting to note that Red Hat previously certified NEC ProgrammableFlow Networking Suite for the OpenStack Neutron plug-in. And earlier this year the ProgrammableFlow virtual switch for Hyper-V, the PF1000, was certified by the Microsoft Server 2012 team.

To pilot NEC’s ProgrammableFlow Networking Suite and the certified switches, please contact your NEC account manager or your local NEC reseller. More information on NEC’s award-winning SDN solutions can also be found at www.necam.com/sdn.

NEC collaborates with Microsoft to transform the data center with Software-defined Networking

ProgrammableFlow® PF1000 Virtual Switch, now Microsoft certified and integrated with System Center Virtual Machine Manager, goes live

Integrated network and compute orchestration will soon be generally available for all Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V customers using R2, System Center Virtual Machine Manager , and NEC ProgrammableFlow® Networking Suite. We first demonstrated this unified, intelligent, and open virtualization solution at TechEd in June, documented here on NEC Today for our followers. As of Nov. 1, 2013, Microsoft and NEC joint customers will command new levels of IT flexibility and automation with dynamic management and allocation of pooled network resources, as well as their compute and storage pools, all from a central point of control.

Up to now, even as virtual machines and storage have been readily migrated and allocated to applications, the associated networks have presented a bottleneck to delivery of services. The manual processes and complexity of conventional networks have limited the agility of network services. Furthermore, traditional network designs have limited performance and throughput.

Combining both System Center Virtual Machine Manager and ProgrammableFlow Networking delivers real benefits and provides the platform to achieve new levels of agility:

  • Add, move or change virtual and physical networks in seconds from Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, shaving days or even weeks from traditional deployment models
  • Control data center traffic flow on a granular level, including dynamic, application-centric security policy for reduced OpEx and CapEx
  • Dramatically improve throughput within the server and across the network fabric
  • Apply business policy consistently across the network and compute infrastructure, enabling a more cost-effective and flexible network that responds to the needs of the business
  • Enable isolated, secure multi-tenant networks for private clouds to meet compliance and Service Level goals
  • Scale to thousands of virtual networks, and hundreds of thousands of VMs
  • Obtain network visibility and end-to-end QoS for better management of Service Level Agreements and accelerated troubleshooting
  • Reduce power and footprint over traditional networks, with savings up to 80%
  • Simplify multi-data center deployment

Generally Available Nov. 1: ProgrammableFlow Networking with System Center Virtual Machine Manager

The NEC ProgrammableFlow Network Suite integrates OpenFlow-based Software-Defined Networking (SDN) with Server Virtualization Management (VM), provisioned and orchestrated by System Center Virtual Machine Manager. This integration simplifies additions, deletions and changes to large-scale Hyper-V environments. When administrators create a virtual network in the System Center Virtual Machine Manager workflow, ProgrammableFlow SDN dynamically provisions network services. The virtual and physical network policy is deployed automatically. Because the ProgrammableFlow Networking suite uses the OpenFlow protocol, both the physical switch and Hyper-V extensible vSwitch (together with the PF1000) are dynamically provisioned and controlled, enabling complete integration of network and workload policy. These settings can also be done remotely in the Hyper-V host, enabling lower operational costs by automating network management settings such as VLAN settings for VM.

As depicted here, when a VM is created in System Center Virtual Machine Manager and is connected to a ProgrammableFlow network, the workflow will be automatically mapped to the network – without the administrator knowing ProgrammableFlow-specific operations.

ProgrammableFlow PF1000 OpenFlow virtual switch Windows Server 2012 R2 certified

microsoft windows server 2012 certifiedNEC is also pleased to announce that the ProgrammableFlow PF1000 vSwitch has been certified under the Windows Server 2012 R2 program. This program identifies hardware and software solutions that meet Microsoft standards for compatibility and recommended practices with the respective Windows Server operating systems. NEC’s ProgrammableFlow PF1000 is the first OpenFlow-based vSwitch certified under the Windows Server 2012 program. The ProgrammableFlow PF1000 is available for download free from NEC.

For information on the ProgrammableFlow PF6800 controller, integrated with System Center Virtual Machine Manager, see your Microsoft or NEC reseller, or visit http://www.necam.com/sdn today.

NEC unveils Version 5 of ProgrammableFlow® Networking Suite, featuring OpenFlow 1.3

NEC unveils Version 5 of ProgrammableFlow® Networking Suite, featuring OpenFlow 1.3
Plans to demonstrate SDN technology and SDN ecosystem at Interop New York September 30-October 4

The ProgrammableFlow Networking team rolled out another market-leading version of its high performance OpenFlow Network Fabric last week.  First to support the OpenFlow 1.3 standard with a generally available SDN controller, NEC also announced new levels of scalability, up to 200 switches per controller, advanced performance and reliability characteristics-including Ether OAM and IP Multi-cast capabilities, important for the big content providers.  NEC has also expanded its network visualization capabilities, which of course have been integrated with the controller from inception, and include the ability to monitor end-to-end network flows from a central point.

NEC SDN ProgrammableFlow Suite

Johns Hopkins Physics Lab has implemented Version 5 to leverage the new OpenStack Grizzly interface.  OpenStack Grizzly delivers new levels of stability, and coupled with ProgrammableFlow SDN, enables integrated orchestration of compute and network resources.

NEC SDN Interop 2013

Version 5 will be featured by NEC at Interop New York this week at the Javits Center:

  • Version 5 of NEC’s ProgrammableFlow Software-defined Networking (SDN) solution will be showcased on the Expo floor, Booth 437.  Version 5 features the most advanced SDN controller on the market today, now scaling to 200 switches, with advanced performance characteristics including Ether OAM and Multi-cast capabilities
  • Demos will also feature the ProgrammableFlow northbound API, helping organizations proactively and automatically manage, secure and optimize their networks through SDN.  Applications leveraging this interface on the show floor will be:
    • SDN Management:  Red Hat’s Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform
    • SDN Security:  Radware’s DefenseFlow attack detection framework, ISC8’s Cyber Adapt and Armor5 Enterprise Mobile Security
    • SDN Optimization:  A10 AX Series Application Delivery Controller

These services build on the open ecosystem represented by the NEC SDN Application Center first announced in May at Interop, Las Vegas.

Also at Interop, customers and NEC leaders will be discussing the business and technical impact of SDN:

  • Customer Rob Cannistra, of Marist College, NY.  Marist is an early adopter of SDN both from an enterprise and a research perspective.  He is speaking of his experience on the “End User Perspective” on Tuesday, October 1, from 3:45pm-4:30, moderated by Jim Metzler of Ashton, Metzler and Associates.
  • Thursday’s keynote at 10 a.m. will feature Kevin Hooper,  SVP at NEC Corporation of America, appearing on an SDN panel with representatives from HP, Cisco and Facebook
  • Samrat Ganguly, Chief Network Architect for NEC Corporation of America, will also participate on an SDN Workshop panel from 2:15-3pm Tuesday.

If you are in the New York area or attending Interop, please visit us on the show floor, Booth  437, to see working SDN today!

Later in the month in NYC, NEC will attend the Open User Network Group (ONUG) hosted by JP Morgan and Lippis Consulting.  ONUG will feature early adopters of SDN networking speaking on their experiences.  NEC will be demonstrating ProgrammableFlow Version 5 and integration with other switch vendors and third-party network and orchestration applications.

Watch this video to learn more about SDN.

NEC featured at Software-Defined Data Center Symposium Tuesday, September 10

We are getting ready for an exciting event next Tuesday, September 10, at the Tech Mart in Silicon Valley (Santa Clara). NEC Today followers who are unable to attend can view it live on this web site The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) Symposium, which will be produced by Packet Pushers, SDN Central and Tech Field Day, and sponsored by NEC. This event was sold out shortly after being announced a month ago, and promises to be a real winner with a keynote appearance by Alan Boeheme, Chief of Enterprise Architecture at Coca-Cola Company, talking about how Coca-Cola is building SDDCs.

sdncentral sddc13

Hosting panels on a variety of topics in the afternoon will be Jim Duffy, editor-in-chief of Network World, Greg Ferro of Packet Pusher fame, Ivan Peplnjak of iosHints (leading the panel on SDDC Architecture), and Tom Hollingsworth of Network Field Day and Gestalt Media. We are looking forward to hearing what all of these luminaries have to share!

Presenting from NEC will be Don Clark, director of business development, who will speak beginning at 9:30 a.m. PST. Don will describe the role of openness, visibility and programmability in the Software Defined Data Center and how business that embrace SDDC are driving higher levels of agility and efficiency. Since the event is sold out, NEC has chosen to stream it live from this NEC Today page. So come back here next Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. PST to view Don’s presentation!

Also featured on the agenda is Samrat Ganguly, NEC’s chief architect for ProgrammableFlow, joining a panel moderated by Ivan Peplnjak at 2 p.m. PST and discussing next-generation Software-defined Data Center Architecture. Finally, you won’t want to miss David Cheperdak, NEC ProgrammableFlow systems engineer, on a panel from 4:15-5p.m. PST as he discusses with colleagues, including Tom Hollingsworth, how applications are changing the way a typical SDDC is designed and implemented.

NEC is pleased to invite you to the “Symposium after the Symposium” beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Tech Mart. Join us for a discussion of the day’s events and findings. And be sure to check back here on Tuesday for all of the presentations streamed via live video feed!