Windows Server 2012: An opportunity for customers to take advantage of VM Mobility and Multi-tenancy

NEC has been working closely with Microsoft to make full use of the Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Extensible Switch to integrate and deliver an OpenFlow-based Software Defined Network.  Some particularly impressive use-cases around automation, multi-tenancy, VM mobility, and security will be rolling out in conjunction with this new capability.  This blog post looks at two of these.

ProgrammableFlow Fabric defines multi-tenant virtual networks in which tenants are isolated at the network level. With true traffic isolation between tenants, end systems belonging to one tenant network cannot reach end systems belonging to another tenant network. At the same time, each tenant can define its own customized layer-2 or layer-3 network and utilize inter-tenant isolation to effectively create a secured slice of the underlying physical network.

“ProgrammableFlow Network Suite unifies the physical and virtual network policy, creating the perfect complement to the Software-Defined Networking capabilities built into Windows Server 2012,” Microsoft’s Sandeep Singhal, General Manager, Windows Networking, tells us.  “Built for the cloud, Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V provides rich multi-tenancy and isolation capabilities.  The Hyper-V Extensible Switch enables NEC’s ProgrammableFlow Suite to provide an unified, end-to-end experience that is fully integrated into Windows.”

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Use Case 1: VM Mobility and consistent policy over Virtual & Physical Networks

NEC Openflow SolutionBefore September and the availability of Windows Server 2012, you had to configure your policy multiple times for both physical and virtual networks.  In addition, if you wanted to move a virtual machine, it would typically require a network administrator to make those programming adjustments on the network.  This is a time-consuming, expensive process, and often served as a bottleneck to your business.

In the new world of Windows Server 2012 and ProgrammableFlow® Networking, such moves and changes will be transparent, negating the programming requirement exists today —Valuable technical resources can focus on service delivery rather than configuration management.  As VMs move, they will be instantly recognized by the OpenFlow-based ProgrammableFlow controller and the network topology will be automatically updated.  And this is the really cool part:  Using the extension provided by Windows Server 2012, NEC converts the Hyper-V Extensible Switch into an OpenFlow enabled virtual ProgrammableFlow switch.  Enabling OpenFlow enables end to end network visibility and control. When you input your business policy into Windows Server 2012, ProgrammableFlow is able to read that policy and apply it – over both the virtual and the physical network.

With these capabilities, Windows 2012 Server users can roll out new applications, or make changes to your business priorities. Windows Server 2012 and ProgrammableFlow will be there to support you.

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Use Case 2:  Granular Security Policy Administration

A second use case addresses the increased sprawl of network appliances.  Using the flow control capabilities of ProgrammableFlow, network operators can redirect selected traffic flows into network appliances programmatically only as needed.  The result is fewer firewalls are required.  Even better, ProgrammableFlow works in tandem with Microsoft’s Hyper-V Network Virtualization to create a comprehensive Software-Defined Networking solution.

Faster processing.  Fewer bottlenecks.  More efficient use of resources.  Granular policy administration and prioritization of your network traffic are hallmarks of ProgrammableFlow networking.  We look forward to delivering it to you.

Contact your NEC representative today to learn more about these use cases, or how you can leverage ProgrammableFlow OpenFlow Network Fabric in your Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V installation.  Learn more by clicking here today: http://necam.com/pflow

 

SDN leadership recognized with Innovation Award from SearchNetworking; Plus ProgrammableFlow 3.0

Summer for the ProgrammableFlow® software defined networking (SDN) team has been anything but dull.  Hard at work to maintain and grow even further our leadership position in SDN and OpenFlow, we released Version 3 of the ProgrammableFlow controller last week, featuring end-to-end Quality of Service (QoS) from a central point of control, and significantly expanding ProgrammableFlow scalability.

SearchNetworking SDN Award NEC OpenFlowSearchNetworking SDN Award NEC OpenFlowAnd clearly our efforts have not gone unnoticed.  SearchNetworking announced last week they had awarded NEC ProgrammableFlow network suite with their first ever Innovation Award for Software Defined Networking.  With all of the buzz around SDN and OpenFlow, it is especially rewarding to read comments from SearchNetworking Executive Editor Rivka Gewirtz Little “..plenty of companies were offering SDN visions, but very few had actual products.   In the past year, many companies have begun to firm up their SDN plans, but one company made the quickest strides in getting innovative OpenFlow products to market – NEC Corporation of America.”

Kudos to the ProgrammableFlow engineering team!  With over 400 person years invested to date in OpenFlow and SDN, ProgrammableFlow’s substantial benefits of a fully virtualized network improving the rate of return across IT investments are increasingly apparent.

Version 3 continues to strengthen our position; with more proof points to support improved resource utilization and increased business agility.  Customer NTT Communications has already deployed the PF6800 ProgrammableFlow Controller as part of their new global “BizHosting Enterprise Cloud” service platform.  BizHosting uses OpenFlow technologies to provide borderless cloud services that enable integrated operations of numerous data centers both domestically and internationally.  This global scale ICT infrastructure is flexibly controlled and takes only a few minutes to remotely complete connections between data centers that traditionally took several days.

NTT is a Board member of the Open Networking Foundation.  As you know, the ONF is the organization responsible for the continued evolution of the OpenFlow standard.  NEC was a founding member, too, of the ONF and continues our active involvement.

NEC_SDN_QoS_Policy_ProgrammableFlowAs I mentioned, Version 3 of NEC’s ProgrammableFlow OpenFlow Fabric features end-to-end Quality of Service design and network management-all from the centralized console or API integrated into the ProgrammableFlow controller. This capability, unique to ProgrammableFlow and illustrated here, was extremely well received when we covered the enhancements with industry watchers.  They instantly recognized the opportunity for significant operational time-savings, as enterprises and data centers offload configuration work to the automation of ProgrammableFlow.  Network administrators can now re-deploy their time and skills to strategic projects, again positioning the network to be more fully responsive to the needs of the business.  And with Version 3 we are deploying a Web API using REST protocol.

We believe an essential element of Software Defined Networking is this open API.  The API provided with our Programmable Network Fabric will enable customers to take advantage of a new ecosystem of network services and applications envisioned in the future – very similar to the way Google’s Android is able to leverage 3rd party applications now that are written to this  standardized interface.  The OpenFlow protocol, standardized today by ONF and backed by dozens of leading customers and networking vendors, provides a platform for this standardization.

Finally, many customers will be happy to hear that Version 3 will enable them to scale based on their need.  With this release, depending on usage, ProgrammableFlow can now control as many as 100 switches, and operators can build networks with more than 4,096 VLAN ID configurations.

And don’t forget we have our new virtual switch available now for early adopters-delivering SDN to Microsoft Windows Server 2012 customers.  If you are interested in piloting this exciting new technology, or Version 3 of ProgrammableFlow, contact your NEC account manager today.  More information is available too at www.necam.com/pflow.

ProgrammableFlow and Windows Server 2012 deliver Software Defined Networking to Private Cloud

NEC ProgrammableFlow selected as Finalist for Microsoft Best of Tech Ed North America

ProgrammableFlow has been selected as a finalist for The Microsoft Best of TechEd (BOTE) North America Awards, produced by Windows IT Pro, SQL Server Pro, SharePoint Pro and Dev Pro, which recognizes innovative products and services being showcased this week in Orlando at Microsoft TechEd.  More than 300 products were nominated with finalists selected in 15 categories.  ProgrammableFlow is a finalist in the Networking category.

All registered attendees can vote for ProgrammableFlow to win by visiting the Best of TechEd webpage before 2 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, June 13.

As reported in a previous press release, we demonstrated a ProgrammableFlow Virtual Switch for Windows Server 2012 at Microsoft BUILD last fall.  We are continuing to march forward, in lock-step with Microsoft, leveraging the Hyper-V Extensible Switch application programming interface (API) to deliver the exciting benefits of OpenFlow and Software Defined Networking (SDN) to Windows Server 2012 customers.

With ProgrammableFlow, the entire network can be configured and monitored and controlled from a central point, including visualizing end-to-end network flows and drag and drop configuration and network design.  Network performance is also optimized by network level load balancing across multiple paths for more available bandwidth and faster network response.

Best of Microsoft TechEd 2012 FinalistProgrammableFlow leverages OpenFlow to separate the control plane from the data plane, which allows for network-wide virtualization and programming of the network.  With ProgrammableFlow, delivery of network services and benefits are dramatically accelerated.  No longer will the network be a bottleneck for the progress of the business.

This week (June 11-14) we are demonstrating ProgrammableFlow with Hyper-V again in the Microsoft Partner Pavilion (#18) at TechEd 2012 in Orlando.  Our own Su-hun Yun will be taking the stage at 1:30 on Wednesday, June 13, during the Tech Session led by Microsoft Bob Combs in a session called “Get Hands-on with the New Hyper-V Extensible Switch in Windows Server 2012”.  He will repeat the stage demo of ProgrammableFlow with Windows Server 2012 at TechEd in Europe June 29.  And we recently completed a short video on the capabilities, which you can access on the NEC YouTube channel here.  Stop by at TechEd and view this exciting new capability live if you are there!

 

NEC ProgrammableFlow Version 2 takes home coveted Best of Interop Grand Prize Award

Best_Interop_Award_2012_Winner_BannerIt was a banner Day 1 at Interop in Las Vegas for the ProgrammableFlow team.  Sitting in the expectant audience, listening as each of the eight Best of Interop (BOI) winners were announced, we were gratified to win Best of Interop in Management, Monitoring and Testing.  The competition was tough, against 40 other innovators and applicants in the category, including Riverbed’s Virtual Cascade Shark and Net Optics’ Spyke appliance.  However, according to the lead judge it was hard to beat something as unique as the NEC PF6800 ProgrammableFlow Controller when there’s “nothing comparable on the market today.”

And just as we had settled again into our seats, we were back on our feet in excitement:  the NEC ProgrammableFlow PF6800 Controller had won the Grand Prize—the best of the Best of Interop! According to lead judge Stephen Hill, “the ProgrammableFlow Controller PF6800 from NEC delivered the innovation, insight, and advanced thinking expected of a Best of Interop Grand Prize winner. ”  Read his thoughts in Information Week’s Best of Interop 2012:  Award Winners.  More details can be found in the press release appearing on the NEC Corporation of America website.

We have been working in the OpenFlow arena since the founding of the Clean Slate Lab in 2007 at Stanford University.  Atsushi Iwata, who leads the NEC R&D effort for ProgrammableFlow, understood the promise and the vision, and wrote a proposal that resulted in NEC providing funding for those very first efforts-along with Deutsche Telecom and Stanford itself.  Atsushi spent three years at the University working alongside the brilliant engineers and faculty at Clean Slate who developed the initial OpenFlow protocol.  Then, taking his knowledge back to NEC, Atsushi and his dedicated team have leveraged the protocol to develop the first OpenFlow fabric, providing complete network virtualization:  ProgrammableFlow.

You may remember, we also won 2011 Best of Interop award in the Infrastructure category with the ProgrammableFlow 1/10 GbE switch.  At last year’s show we were the first to announce delivery of a Generally Available OpenFlow product family.  At the time, OpenFlow and Software Defined Networking (SDN) were an enigma to most network architects and IT managers.  Now the industry is awakening to the promise of SDN and NEC is proud to be in the forefront of this revolutionary movement.

Congratulations go out to the ProgrammableFlow team – on both sides of the Pacific! Here are a few of our members celebrating the award this afternoon at Interop.

NEC_Best_Interop_Winners

IBM System Networking Supports Industry Standard Open Data Centers with Interoperable Networks

SDN-architecture-openflowThe modern data center is going through an unprecedented transformation, as customers attempt to deploy new applications in a highly virtualized, cloud-based environment.  What is clear is that traditional networks are not suited to handling the traffic patterns and volumes created by these more agile cloud-computing environments.  What we also know is that centralizing network intelligence through software-defined networking (SDN) has emerged as the preferred approach to solving the Big Data / network bottleneck conundrum.

Today the IBM System Networking released a series of technical papers that further support and underline industry standards unfolding around SDN and OpenFlow, a protocol developed at Stanford University offering an open-standards approach to SDN.

Both IBM and NEC are strong supporters of industry standards within the data center network, and we’re pleased to endorse the series of technical briefs known as Open Datacenter Interoperable Network (ODIN).  In addition to OpenFlow, the IBM papers will cover other standards such as IEEE 802.1Qbg and FCoE.

Casimer DeCusatis, Ph.D., an IBM Distinguished Engineer, wrote the ODIN on SDN architecture.  In it, he points to the logical view of the SDN architecture, using a diagram developed by members of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).  NEC was a founding member at ONF, and participated in developing this view of SDN.  We strongly support IBM in their discussions around this standardized network architecture, depicted here.

You can read the full texts of IBM ODIN papers at on the IBM System Networking website.   You can also follow Casimer DeCusatis on his blog  or on Twitter for further updates.  And, of course, you can read and learn more about ProgrammableFlow at www.necam.com/pflow.  In January, NEC announced its SDN collaboration with IBM.