Customers can have a variety of connections at their branch locations, including MPLS, broadband Internet, and wireless, said Ian Foo, director of network switching, gateway and security products at Huawei USA. “Customers can software-upgrade on the selected platforms,” he said.
The SD-WAN is orchestrated by Huawei’s Agile Controller, as SDxCentral reported in 2016.
“All of our recent branch access routers are upgradable to deploy SD-WAN,” said Foo. “The platform will intelligently optimize traffic. Beyond that, it provides central control for WAN policy. We provide the ability to provision, control, and deploy services.”
Huawei’s use of existing routers is similar to Cisco’s approach to SD-WAN. Cisco has been leveraging its Integrated Services Router (ISR) platform and its Intelligent WAN (IWAN) traffic control product. However, Cisco is in the process of acquiring the SD-WAN vendor Viptela for $610 million. So Viptela’s technology will undoubtedly transform the way Cisco provides SD-WAN.
For Huawei, the Agile Controller it uses for SD-WAN is the same controller it uses in the data center.
The umbrella name for Huawei’s data center architecture is Huawei Cloud Fabric. “Our data center solution Cloud Fabric leverages SDN very fully, but also is open beyond most vendors,” said Foo. “Everyone implements OpenFlow and APIs. But ours is openly interchangeable.”
He explained that with Cloud Fabric customers can interchange controllers. If they don’t want the Agile Controller, they can choose Brocade’s Vyatta controller, VMware’s NSX controller, or Microsoft Systems Center, for example.
“More recently, we’re also part of Microsoft’s Azure Stack,” said Foo. Azure Stack lets enterprises build a private-cloud version of the Azure public cloud in their own data centers. It will begin shipping in September.
Foo said Huawei is a big believer in the power of ecosystems and partnering with other players to solve customer needs. “We’re doing solution integration at the multi-vendor level,” he said. “We’ve had to do this at carrier customers for quite a while, and we’re familiar with it. But it’s becoming more popular in the enterprise space.”
Huawei Open Source
About a year ago, SDxCentral reported that the Agile Controller fits into the company’s theme of taking open source components and building products around them. At the time, we reported the Agile Controller is based on the ONOS controller and is also compatible with the OpenDaylight (ODL) controller via APIs. Foo said that is still the case.
Huawei is involved in many open source groups working on network virtualization. It was a founding member of the Open-O management and network orchestration (MANO) project, committing $30 million to it. Open-O has since merged with ECOMP to form the Open Networking Automation Platform (ONAP).
Foo said Huawei is also involved in the Open Compute Project (OCP). The OCP is revolutionizing data center design, making it more generic. “We continue to develop our innovations through our pipelines, but we also have a heavy participation in OCP,” said Foo. “We operate those in parallel. We tend to pipeline those [open source] advances into our products.”