IT communications provider NEC and Dell EMC announced the general availability of a new software-defined local area network (SD-LAN) system that offers the ability to manage multiple networks within an enterprise on a single infrastructure.
Within an enterprise network, the SD-LAN system is able to separate admin networks from employee networks and IT networks from customer networks and so on, said Don Clark, director of SDN at NEC.
NEC’s cornerstone product is its ProgrammableFlow and is comprised of two components: a set of switches and a software-defined networking (SDN) controller, said Clark.
However, in order to offer customers a greater variety of switches, NEC partnered with Dell EMC to also offer Dell’s S-Series line of switches in addition to its own.
Switches from both companies are coupled with NEC’s SDN controller, which manages all the flows of traffic everywhere in the network, Clark said. The system allows users to view and manage all of the devices on the network and see what traffic is running across them.
“The switches are simple,” Clark said. “They don’t run any traditional protocol but rather are getting instructions from the controller.”
Prior to partnering with Dell EMC, most of NEC’s use cases were also in the enterprise core network rather than the branch, and the technology is complementary to any wide area network (WAN) deployment a customer might have.
Deployments where NEC has seen the strongest interest are in healthcare, local government, and education.
Although NEC has been using the term “SD-LAN” for a little over a year, its SDN controller is really just managing local enterprise networks. There are a handful of other companies that use SDN controllers for similar uses, Clark said.
For example, on the open source side, there is the OpenDaylight Project and from the vendor perspective, Big Switch is also doing something similar. But both initiatives have a bigger focus on the data center, while NEC’s technology focuses on the traditional enterprise LAN network, Clark said.