Jun. 8, 2012
NTT DATA Corporation
NTT DATA Corporation (hereafter “NTT DATA”) plans to start the Software-Defined Networking (hereafter “SDN”) business on a full scale later this year. SDN is a new concept which controls network function and configuration by software. NTT DATA, more specifically, will conduct network integration, system development and consulting services utilizing OpenFlow (see note 1), which is the underlying technology of SDN.
As preparation for its SDN business, this time NTT DATA started the development of new software called Virtual Network Controller Ver2.0, by which OpenFlow can be introduced in an easier and more gradual approach.
To adopt OpenFlow, OpenFlow-enabled network devices are usually necessary. However, with this software that possesses the necessary functions for OpenFlow introduction, NTT DATA is able to construct an OpenFlow environment on your existing physical network without using any special OpenFlow-enabled devices.
Furthermore this software supports, the first time in the world, the combined use of existing network devices and OpenFlow-enabled devices in the same environment. You can at first build an OpenFlow environment on your existing network and then add OpenFlow-enabled devices to it. In this way you can achieve the transition to advanced OpenFlow network in a phased manner.
A prototype of Virtual Network Controller Ver2.0 will be on display for demonstration at Interop Tokyo 2012 exhibition to be held from June 13 to 15.
NTT DATA is aimed at a billion-yen-a-year sale related to Virtual Network Controller in 2013.
Recently years, since the requirements for information system are becoming more complex and diversified, there is strong demand for the systems which can respond the changing market quickly. However, in the traditional network, cumbersome operation is necessary when changing the network configuration and it was difficult to follow the changes of system configuration flexibly. Therefore, in the field of network, as a technology that can control network freely by software, SDN has got a great deal of expectation. ONF (Open Networking Foundation) was established as the champion of SDN and steward of the OpenFlow Standard, which is a critical component and provides the fundamental foundation for SDN.
Traditionally both the control plane and the forwarding plane are mounted in the same network device. In OpenFlow the controller is separated from the forwarding plane. As this enables the control of network devices in a whole and allows easy cooperation with other systems, the operation costs of network can be reduced by more than 50% compared with the traditional network. Many other applications are also expected (see note 2). As a result, OpenFlow has attracted plenty of attention from not only large-scale network operators and cloud operators, but also various other IT companies (see note 3).
NTT DATA has been conducting the research and development on OpenFlow from 2010. NTT group, including NTT DATA, has been a board member (see note 4) of ONF from 2011 and contributed much to the standardization of OpenFlow.
In 2011, with the cooperation of 5 companies of leading network equipment vendors and virtualization software vendors, NTT DATA carried out successfully the verification experiment (see note 5) of OpenFlow technology in a multi-vendor environment. Utilizing the results of the verification, NTT DATA has advanced the commercialization of OpenFlow and completed the development of Hinemos Virtual Network Management Option (on sale from June 5) (see note 6) and Virtual Network Controller Ver1.0 (see note 7) that was adopted in Cloud System for Researchers by National Institute of Informatics, Research Organization of Information and Systems, Inter-University Research Institute Corporation.
In addition, NTT DATA has developed a function which can select the communication path by traffic and improve the utilization efficiency of networks (see note 8). The OpenFlow controller that implemented this function has been used actually in the in-house data center of NTT DATA.
Based on the know-how accumulated through the efforts described above and aimed at further optimization of information system, NTT DATA has started the development of a new OpenFlow controller Virtual Network Controller Ver2.0 which can supports WAN and enterprise network as well as the data center network. NTT DATA plans to start selling of Virtual Network Controller Ver2.0 later this year. Together with the sale of this controller, NTT DATA will start its SDN business such as network integration using OpenFlow, system development and consulting services of OpenFlow introduction.
The prototype of Virtual Network Controller Ver2.0 is compliant with OpenFlow Ver1.0 and has the following 4 features.
(1) Network virtualization with improved network utilization and reduced initial cost
As approaches to the implementation of OpenFlow network this controller supports, the first time in the world, both hop-by-hop method and overlay method. The combined use of the both is also supported. Using hop-to-hop method, since the controller has the function of assigning preferentially the path with low traffic to new packets, the utilization efficiency of network can be improved from conventional 40% or less to nearly 100% (Figure 1). In addition, since the overlay method can make use of the existing network equipment when adopting OpenFlow technology, the introduction of OpenFlow with reduced initial investment cost is possible.
To be more specific, using this controller the customer can introduce OpenFlow at first in overlay method to make use of its existing network equipment. Secondly, the transition to hop-by-hop method can be carried out by replacing the existing equipment gradually with OpenFlow-enabled equipment, and thus the network utilization efficiency will be improved further. In this way, tailored to customer’s network environment, the network virtualization and efficient utilization can be realized in a phased manner (Figure 2).
Figure 1 Efficient utilization of network bandwidth
Figure 2 An example of network virtualization in a phased manner
(2) Easy deployment of network virtualization
Virtual Network Controller Ver2.0 has a high connectivity with existing network devices and a small start, i.e., introduction of network virtualization only in part of system, is possible. Since the connection (Figure 3, left) by redundant L3 switches and the connection (Figure 3, right) by multi-chassis link aggregation (see note 9) are supported, you can easily increase the bandwidth between existing switches and OpenFlow switches, and improve the reliability. In addition, this controller also has a high affinity with the existing network virtualization technology and, based on the combination of VLAN multiplexed (see note 10) network and the network built by OpenFlow, facilitates the implementation of multi-tenant system (see note 11). Usually the communication between different closed networks is forwarded via L3 switch. But since this controller allows direct connection between the servers of different closed networks, the L3 switch is not needed (Figure 4).
Figure 3 A example of connection with existing devices
Figure 4 An example of communication with shared server beyond closed network
(3) Reduction of network operation cost
Virtual Network Controller Ver2.0 provides a set of general-purpose API which can change the network configuration freely. Using the APIs, advanced cooperation with management software such as Hinemos and cloud infrastructure such as OpenStack is possible. Group of switches can be controlled as a whole via API. Compared with the conventional network, more than 50% reduction of operation costs can be expected. In addition, since API is an abstraction of network function, the operation and management of network is easy even for the users who do not have the advanced expertise. Switches can be added without special configuration changes and service interruption. Vendor lock-in is not necessary and a number of switches verified by NTT DATA can be used freely.
(4) Cooperation among multiple data centers for disaster recovery
Live migration (between physical servers) among data centers is supported by utilizing the tunneling technique (see note 12) of overlay method. In the case of live migration among various data centers, MAC addresses assigned by cloud infrastructure are not guaranteed to be unique and the duplicative MAC addresses may have adverse impact on communication. NTT DATA suggested an original approach for this problem and duplicative MAC addresses of VM are allowed (Figure 5).
Figure 5 An example of duplicative MAC address
NTT DATA will display and demonstrate a prototype of Virtual Network Controller Ver2.0 at Interop Tokyo 2012 exhibition held from June 13 to 15. A presentation about Virtual Network Controller is also scheduled at the exhibition. In addition, the controller will be used also to improve the function of Hinemos Virtual Network Management Option.
In time with the sale of the controller, we are planning to offer our internal developing API as open source. These APIs can be used for the development of user’s original functions. A plan for recruiting development partner is also scheduled.
NTT DATA is aimed at a billion-yen-a-year sale related to Virtual Network Controller.
Open Networking Foundation Endorsement
“ONF’s mission is to promote the commercialization and use of SDN and its underlying technologies,” said Dan Pitt, executive director, Open Networking Foundation. “We are genuinely enthused when we see member companies develop new products that advance the introduction of OpenFlow-based SDNs into both existing networks and new ones. Such efforts by members to innovate, accelerate, and commercialize OpenFlow gets it in the hands of the users who can and will benefit from the technology.”
Open Networking Foundation
IBM Japan Endorsement
IBM Japan welcomes the release of the prototype of Virtual Network Controller Ver2.0. This controller and IBM System Networking G8264 rack switch products will facilitate the realization of network optimization utilizing existing environment and the customers ranging from data centers to general enterprises can enjoy the benefits of OpenFlow. In the future we will provide not only server, storage and network products, but also the most advanced cloud infrastructure by strengthening the cooperation with application to achieve the optimal IT environment for customers.
Senior Managing Executive Officer
System Product Business
Intel Japan Endorsement
Intel welcomes the release of Virtual Network Controller Ver2.0 by NTT DATA. Considering Automation, Seamless Collaboration and Client Cooperation as the keywords for next-generation data center, Intel is promoting the realization of an open and mutually cooperative data center solution. I expect that Virtual Network Controller Ver2.0 will become a powerful tool to speed up the automation of data center and network operation, and support the efficient IT operation of cloud operators and enterprises.
Cloud Computing Division
NCL Communications Japan Endorsement
NCLC welcomes the release of NTT DATA’s new OpenFlow controller. We are the only distributor of Pica8’s OpenFlow switches (PRONTO series) in Japan. We are glad that the verification results by NTT DATA’s OpenFlow controller and Pica8 products will be introduced at Interop Tokyo 2012. The PRONTO series of Pica8 are new-generation SDN switch devices which propel the network innovation. We are going to promote the SDN, new network architecture of cloud age, together with NTT DATA.
NCL Communications Japan
NEC has been engaged in the realization and expansion of SDN (Software-Defined Network) and has commercialized the first OpenFlow-enabled network product UNIVERGE PF series in the world. We welcome the release of NTT DATA’s Virtual Network Controller Ver2.0 which offers both hop-by-hop and overlay method for network virtualization. We believe that providing network virtualization technology tailored to custom’s environment and demand will lead to further expansion of SDN market.
Senior Business Chief
UNIVERGE Support Center
Enterprise Solution Division
Brocade Communications Systems Japan Endorsement
Brocade welcomes NTT DATA’s release of starting SDN business. We believe that the virtualization technology included in the release will promote the virtualization of data center. As a result we expect that a further high value-added IT services with high investment efficiency can be realized by improving the utilization efficiency of data center resources. Following the vision of SDN, Brocade will promote continuously the product development and solution provision to advance the realization of this new solution.
- *1A software interface protocol for network control standardized by non-profit organization Open Networking Foundation (OFN).
- *2Such as system-wide policy, security, traffic engineering, and other control apps.
- *3OpenFlow has attracted a lot of attentions from not only large-scale network operators and cloud operators, but also chip companies, system vendors, computer companies, software companies, testing companies, training companies and a lot of other enterprises.
- *4On behalf of NTT Group, NTT Communications Corporation joins ONF as a board member.
- *8Demonstration was displayed at the worldwide conference Open Networking Summit 2012 held in 2012.
- *9A method in which a number of cables are laid from multiple different devices, not 1 device, to achieve path redundancy and bandwidth enhancement.
- *10A scheme in which a number of tenants or systems share one network device by VLAN (Virtual LAN) technology.
- *11A system in which multiple users share one physical system infrastructure.
- *12A technique used to create closed virtual communication path between distant locations.
- *Virtual Network Controller is the trademark of NTT DATA in Japan. Other product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of those companies or organizations.
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