Interop runs this week in Las Vegas, so we’re expecting a good number of announcements about how software-defined networking (SDN) can help the enterprise IT environment. Here’s a set of announcements that came out Monday, getting a jump on the week’s events.
Wedging Into Juniper’s SDN Plans
Juniper has found a partner to co-develop security for the Contrail platform. It’s Wedge Networks, a 12-year-old company that started out doing customized network optimization and now applies that knowhow to network security.
Juniper has its own security technology in the form of Netscreen, but that comes from a Layer 2/3 point of view that isn’t elastic enough for securing virtual networks, says Wedge CEO Hongwen Zhang. Wedge, by contrast, operates at all layers of the OSI stack. For example, it’s got a flow-inspection technology that an alternative to ordinary deep packet inspection and can be used for spotting anomalies in traffic, Zhang says.
Wedge and Juniper will develop technologies together that both companies will be allowed to use in products, he says.
In addition to announcing the Juniper partnership, Wedge will help Spirent demo the Spirent Velocity virtual demo environment, a Best of Interop finalist. The demo will be in Spirent’s booth at the show.
Broadcom Adds a Mid-Sized Processor
Broadcom introduced the XLP532 processor, an eight-core processor that’s a slimmed-down version of the 20-core XLP980 introduced in June. Having multiple sizes of chips means Broadcom can get into a wider range of a customers’ projects, offering the ability to reuse software among them. (A two-core XLP200 series was already in the portfolio.)
Being processors, the XLPs can be used for just about anything. In the context of NFV, the XLP980 is being used in servers that host virtualized network functions (VNFs), Broadcom says. The company is also pitching the chips as control-plane processors, as they can put kernel processes and user processes into different threads; this avoids context switching, thus improving performance.
HP Gets Real With Apps
SDN applications that HP showed off last year have reached general availability, the company said Monday. Those include the Network Optimizer (previously shown as a UC&C application for Microsoft Lync) and Network Protection (previously named Sentinel).
Monday’s announcements included one more: HP Location Aware, which pinpoints a mobile device’s location within two meters. This kind of accuracy, usually fueled by Wi-Fi, is becoming a popular retail app to talk about, both for serving up ads as shoppers reach certain points in a large store and for tracking consumer tendencies.
A location service might not seem very “SDN,” but it does tap a cloud-hosted controller to call down some “additional intelligence” to the wireless access points, says Kash Shaikh, director of marketing for HP’s networking business. The nature of that intelligence is something HP isn’t talking about right now.
You’ll recall that HP announced an SDN app store in September. It’s going live in June, HP now says.
Meru Brings OpenFlow to the Wireless LAN
Equipment vendor Meru outlined plans to use SDN for better access-network management. Management of the wireless LAN is typically a closed affair; each vendor’s technology is proprietary enough that you can’t get a single point of control for an entire multivendor network.
Meru believes SDN’s open standards can help change that, because controllers could speak a common language, namely, APIs. So, Meru is supporting OpenFlow 1.3 in its wireless LAN controllers, and it’s demonstrating how APIs can collect enough information to provide that single pane of glass, as they say, for network management.
Meru was showing a lot of this at the Open Networking Summit in March, and it reiterated its position with an Interop press release Monday. The latest development for the company is that it’s exposing northbound and southbound APIs in its wireless LAN controllers. On the northbound side, that means applications might now be able to peer into the network at the access point level, something that’s not necessarily possible today, Meru officials say.