NEC Corp.’s SDN Partner Space is a community project run by NEC to create an ecosystem around OpenFlow technologies, products, and services. We talked to Timur Aliev, head of product strategy and innovation with NEC’s cloud convergence unit, and Amir Peles, vice president of technology for SDN Partner Space partner Radware, about how being part an SDN ecosystem helps its participants profit from the new opportunities SDN provides.
To learn more on how Radware and NEC teamed together for a joint solution that integrates Radware’s Attack Mitigation System into NEC’s ProgrammableFlow switches and controllers, check out their whitepaper.
SDxCentral: Timur, why did NEC create its SDN Partner Space, and why now?
Aliev: Thanks to SDN, we now can direct network operations from a single control center, but every day new services and other developments flood the networking scene.
Our SDN Partner Space helps appliance vendors enter a fast-growing, OpenFlow-enabled SDN market. We want to redefine the rules of business opportunities imposed by traditional flat networks and help people profit from new virtualized network opportunities.
We created SDN Partner Space in response to an increasing demand for an ecosystem of secure and accessible enterprise-grade network applications. Now there is a place where applications developers can come together with SDN Controller vendors, switch manufacturers, and data center service providers.
Amir, as a partner, what makes SDN Partner Space exciting for Radware?
Peles: Next-generation data center networks need to be more dynamic and flexible in order to meet today’s business needs. By joining NEC’s SDN Partner Space, we benefit from open ProgrammableFlow (NEC’s version of OpenFlow) APIs that extend standard OpenFlow capabilities to virtual networks management functions and complexity abstraction.
Services like application delivery controllers and network and application security now are mandatory for reliably meeting required pertinent SLAs. As part of an SDN ecosystem, these services can more seamlessly be integrated into next-generation data center networks with a more automated approach.
Timur, what do partners get out of joining NEC’s SDN Partner Space?
Aliev: In addition to providing partners with ProgrammableFlow APIs, NEC is building a dedicated virtual cloud testing environment to help partners test their applications for compatibility with the ProgrammableFlow SDN controller, switches, and other virtual network elements.
Partners can get certified for compatibility with the ProgrammableFlow controllers and switches, allowing their applications to be used in SDN-enabled data centers straight away. Certified SDN Partner Space partners also get access to major enterprise, virtual data centers, campus, and carrier business opportunities with NEC and its channel partners.
Amir, what solution does Radware provide in NEC’s SDN Partner Space?
Peles: We provide DefenseFlow, which leverages SDN technologies to provide DoS and DDoS protection as a native network service. It transforms DDoS protection from device-based into network-wide services by using the SDN control plane to collect and control the data plane.
DefenseFlow uses the programmability of SDN technologies to collect statistics, analyze information, and control the infrastructure layer to proactively defend against DoS and DDoS network flood attacks. Its behavioral-based technology automates the provisioning of an attack mitigation service and detects network attacks in real time. It’s a level of intelligence that increases the value that can be extracted from networks at a very low cost.
What’s unique about the way Radware leverages the NEC platform and the OpenFlow protocol?
Peles: This year, we integrated DefenseFlow with the NEC platform for a joint solution that integrates our Attack Mitigation System into ProgrammableFlow switches and controllers. Our collaboration allowed us to expand our Attack Mitigation Network (AMN) coverage in ProgrammableFlow networks.
DefenseFlow with AMN Cyber Control and Intelligence Application v1.0 for the NEC ProgrammableFlow Controller, is the native SDN solution based on both our products. It utilizes the NEC controller that programs ProgrammableFlow switches to become part of the DoS/DDoS protection service itself. Now DefenseFlow allows network operators to provision a DoS/DDoS protection service per virtual tenant network or per customer.
This means better service for the network’s customers. As long as we can use network resources to increase the level of service to customers, then obviously the value of the network rises.
Timur, What other partners do you have today, and what type of customer problems do their applications solve?
Aliev: Many of the benefits of SDN networks can be only unleashed by introducing new types of network applications and services, so we’re excited to have partners on board that provide state-of-the-art security, virtualization, orchestration, switch, and chipsets solutions, among others.
Our partners include major applications and switch providers like Dell, HP, Microsoft, Alcatel-Lucent, Radware, Trend Micro, NoviFlow, Centec, Meru Networks, Ixia, Broadcom, Extreme Networks, RedHat, RedCannon, Riverbed, Aria Networks, H-Log, Abiquo, and StackOps.
Our SDN Partner Space ecosystem is continually expanding with new network applications created by startups and established vendors alike. Switch vendors can join our partnership program for interoperability testing and certification as a Certified Pflow Compatible Partner. This provides switch vendors with the chance to provide an interoperable solution with PFlow Controller, which is a real competitive advantage.
What other categories of applications would you like to see in the ecosystem?
Aliev: NEC believes that in order to create a truly compelling SDN ecosystem, all involved players in the field should be invited to join. Integrator partners, consulting companies, and service providers also are key players for the successful adoption of SDN OpenFlow technology. We look forward to those types of partners appearing as important contributors to the SDN Partner Space.
We also hope NFV partner players will become part of the ecosystem someday. The introduction of NFV EPC and CPE solutions brings together IT and telco worlds, making it entirely possible for NEC to expand our SDN ecosystem to encompass NFV.
Are there production customers benefiting from NEC SDN Partner Space today?
Aliev: Right now, some partner solutions indeed are being deployed in existing NEC customers’ data centers. In other cases, NEC introduces partner applications as part of a wider-scope solution – a joint value proposition to the customer for leveraging SDN technology. We have more than 200 commercial deployments worldwide of NEC ProgrammableFlow SDN solutions, so partners get access to one of the largest installed SDN bases in the industry.
How do potential partners get started with NEC’s SDN Partner Space?
Aliev: Potential partners can either contact their local NEC representative or enroll through the web portal. Our SDN team helps evaluate use cases for the proposed application and scenarios of the application’s interaction with the SDN network. Partners receive access to personal virtual SDN environments where they can test their application with virtual OpenFlow Controller Northbound APIs.
Timur, what other innovations can we expect on this program in the near future?
Aliev: We are working on developing an SDN/NFV Virtual Lab to help our partners who require an easy-to-set-up environment to develop and adapt their network application to the OpenFlow standard. Without requiring a huge investment in time or resources, the SDN/NFV Virtual Lab environment will offer partner self-service integration and testing for compatibility with the NEC ProgrammableFlow Controller, NEC Netcracker Orchestrator, and other network applications.
We also are working on developing an SDN Store to sell partners’ SDN application licenses and dynamically provision them in virtual data center/customer PFC environment.
Timur, Amir, thank you for your time today.
Thank you for having us.
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