UC SDN PoC by HP and MS
This week is the 2013 Open Networking Summit taking place at the Santa Clara Convention Center. The Summit is sponsored by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), which actively promotes OpenFlow and software-defined networking (SDN). It’s likely the biggest SDN event of the year.
OpenFlow allows the path of network packets through the network to be determined by a separate controller function. This separation or decoupling of control and forwarding allows for more sophisticated network management than is feasible using access control lists (ACLs) and routing protocols. OpenFlow enables SDNs. This topology addresses immediate networking challenges with virtualized servers, and has significant longer term implications for entire networks and applications.
HP and Microsoft are demonstrating an interesting UC proof of concept at the Summit involving on-demand provisioning for a Lync session. The demonstration utilizes a currently available HP SDN controller and switches plus two conceptual software components: Lync SDN API PoC (MS) and the UC&C SDN Application (HP). Lync uses the API to notify the UC&C Application on the controller session details which it then uses to automatically provision the switches including QoS and securing network elements from attacks. The solution dynamically engineers the network using real time usage and other criteria.
Advanced use cases are making network provisioning for UC increasingly difficult. It was initially solved with VLANs which worked well for desktop phones and computers. Softphones and mobile users are more problematic. Softphones require a higher quality of service for some, but not all session types. The API allows Lync to communicate its network requirements per defined policies. That is video, voice, and data collaboration could all have different network requirements. Other considerations could include device location and user profile.
“With this API, Lync can now directly communicate with an OpenFlow controller, enabling automated end-to-end QoS provisioning as needed” said Pascal Menezes, Senior Program Manager of the Lync Partner Engineering Group. “It allows the network and applications to directly communicate, creating a new world of opportunities.”
The demonstration is taking place this week at the 2013 Open Networking Summit in HP’s booth. Both software products are concepts only to demonstrate the power of SDN and UC, neither are new products at this time. HP currently supports OpenFlow in 25 different switch models.