Lumina’s SDN Controller Manages Third Party Switches, Containers

Lumina Networks created a plug-in for Kubernetes that enables its software-defined networking (SDN) controller to manage containers. The company says its Lumina SDN Controller is unique in its ability to manage hybrid data center environments composed of virtual network functions (VNFs), proprietary physical switches from companies such as Cisco and Juniper, and white box equipment.

“It’s a very specific advantage we have: our SDN controller based on OpenDaylight can manage both the physical and virtual from the same platform,” said Kevin Woods, VP of product management at Lumina Networks.

The Kubernetes plug-in takes advantage of the “universal translator” abstraction capabilities of OpenDaylight to translate Kubernetes network intent into actions in the switch fabric. It helps expand the network capabilities of Kubernetes from the virtual to the physical world.

With the Kubernetes plug-in, customers can shift the compute burden of networking from servers to their existing Ethernet switches. This can free up compute resources to allow higher density containers.

“If you’re a data center manager, you have the burden of managing all these virtual networks and containers,” said Woods. “But you don’t want to go to a different management platform to manage the physical.”

He said data center administrators want to build new network infrastructure based more on software, but at the same time, they need to run their existing infrastructure.

“Everybody else creates management tools that focus on their infrastructure components,” said Woods. “Whereas Lumina is developing a management platform through OpenDaylight that can manage anything: physical, virtual, old, new, from propriety vendors, or from white box vendors. OpenDaylight facilitates those capabilities.”

For example, Lumina customer Snapfish — an online photo retailer — plans to deploy Lumina’s SDN controller. “As we have plans to migrate compute workloads from hypervisors to containers, we recognized that Kubernetes alone could not automate provisioning on our Juniper Networks QFX switch fabric,” said Brian Chan, head of infrastructure at Snapfish, in a statement. “We plan to deploy Lumina’s SDN controller to interface between Kubernetes and the Ethernet switches and provide fully automated network provisioning from container-based workloads to our physical network and appliances.”