Orchestrating SDN+NFV, MPLS-TP Control, Enterprise Conundrums, the MEF’s GEN14 – Defining the Future of Networking!

 Weekly Round-Up: 11/03/2014 – 11/09/2014


First, apologies for the long hiatus in my Weekly Round-Ups; sometimes the need to deep-dive into work and projects overwhelms the sincerest of one’s intentions! The good news is, our Group has been going from strength-to-strength these past few months, and it’s exciting to share with you the statistics for just the last week or two. We had over 21 high-quality discussions and 80 comments last week (the highest ever in our history!) on a diverse array of topics, and high-quality contributions from members in the UAE, India, the US, Pakistan, the UK, France, Netherlands, Israel, and Australia, to name a few. We had over 11 contributors, 20 members actively participating in various discussions, and 17+ additional members showing their support with likes. All in all, a great week; thus, a strong “why” for partaking in the activities of the Group.

The week ended Nov. 9th, we had the most comments ever in our Group’s history, 80 comments – a reflection of the engagement of our involved community, and the value that networking professionals are finding in the support, inputs, and advice available on our Group. A sincere thanks to all of the many members that contribute to making this a great community and forum!

[Clearly, if you’re not on our Carrier Ethernet Group “network”, you can’t benefit from the interesting discourse :-). Thus, a good reason to participate, and point out to colleagues/peers the value of being on this forum – FYI, you can easily invite colleagues to the Group by sending them the following pointer http://linkd.in/L645fy]

Thank you Tom Nolle, Mark Abolafia, Scott Raynovich, Lauren Menzies, Mark Lippe, Asad Naveed, Sohail Mohammad, Harinadh Mulpuri, Daniel  Bar-Lev,  and Joshua Parnes, for your posts on diverse topics (more on these ahead)! Thanks also to Ian Geddes, Dan Martin, Lincoln Stookey, Luc-Yves Pagal Vinette, Faisal Khan, Asad Naveed, Adeel Malik, Huub van Helvoort, Tom Nolle, Daniel Bravarnik, and Larry Samberg, among others, for your insightful and thoughtful comments.

I’m also excited to let you know that to help those who, like me, are auditory learners :-), an mp3 audio podcast of this Weekly Round-Up is now available at http://bit.ly/14HQ0lJ, so you can download and take this on the go, and be updated on the exciting goings-on in our Group, and contribute more easily. (BTW, don’t forget to listen to the 30-second segment starting at 1:20 in the podcast! 🙂)

 MP3 Podcast of the Weekly Round-Up is at: http://bit.ly/14HQ0lJ (Right click the link and choose “Save File As” to download and save the mp3 file. Then enjoy on your favorite player!)

1. Emerging & Future Technologies

SDN’s in the Air! … [And NFV is] Everywhere I look Around! … And A Collaborative Article is Brewing … (sung to the tune of John Paul Young’s “Love is in the air” circa 1978, 🙂 http://bit.ly/14C6E6i )

Boy, did we have a profusion of posts on SDN and NFV the past couple weeks! The air was rife with SDN/NFV fever, with fully 50% of the Group’s posts on these two subjects alone ! All kidding aside, this is a reflection of the importance of these topics in our industry, and how these are top-of-mind of operators, carriers, enterprises, vendors, and professionals alike. There are, however, “miles to go before [we] deploy, and miles to go before we see [substantial] revenue” (with due homage to Frost), because PoC’s alone do not a deployment make.

Asad Naveed kicked things off by asking a very useful question about why SDN and NFV are (nearly) always used together now-a-days, and what their similarities and differences are – a very pertinent question that I’m sure has arisen in the minds of many others http://bit.ly/1tOX847. The ensuing discussion, between Larry, Luc-Yves, Faisal, Asad, and myself lead to the decision to write a short article elaborating this subject by taking the ideas shared on this thread, which is a wonderful initiative that we believe will help the Group and our larger community.

If you wish to contribute to the article (even with just ideas and points we should cover), please do check out the discussion here http://bit.ly/1tOX847.

… SDN Learning: Resources and Courses

Both Mark Abolafia of Datavision and Sohail posted resources for SDN and NFV, which you can find here http://bit.ly/1xxYHsj  and here http://bit.ly/1sLmTCn, respectively. Send suggestions about new resources to add to their resource page to Mark here http://bit.ly/1xxYHsj. Adeel Malik provided some pointers courses on SDN on Coursera from Prof. Nick Feamster at Georgia Tech on SDN and NFV. Check that out here http://bit.ly/1sLmTCn. Thanks Adeel!

Have you taken a course on SDN from Coursera, Udemy, Udacity,  EDX, or another site? If so, what was your experience, and can you please post the resource for the Group here http://bit.ly/1sLmTCn.

Orchestration & Control in SDN …

Mark also posted, in my view, a very important post emphasizing the value of orchestration and control for SDN and NFV deployment http://bit.ly/11mQk87  (which has been recognized by others on our Group, notably the folks at Cyan). The Datavision article mentions Tail-f, C-Plane, Overture, Cyan, Nuage, Juniper Contrail, and Brocade as vendors that have some versions of orchestration solutions, and the OpenDaylight Project that is building an open-source version of the orchestrator.

Are you working with YANG and NetConf solutions? What is your view of the maturity of orchestration solutions today? Indeed, how do you think of orchestration itself – what is it exactly, in your view?? What issues are you having with sorting them out? Comment here http://bit.ly/11mQk87.

Dissecting, Analyzing, and Harmonizing SDN and NFV … Analyses by Tom Nolle

Finally, we had the privilege of Tom Nolle of Cimi Corp and an industry veteran sharing his views on SDN and NFV with the Group. For those who came in late, Tom was the initiator of the ETSI’s CloudNFV PoC, back in Dec. 2013 (after a year of work, starting in late Fall 2012), which was covered most recently in the ETSI NFV PoC Zone at the Layer123 SDN & OpenFlow World Congress in Dusseldorf in October. http://bit.ly/1HcRy5Y

And Tom is a respected networking guru, who has been deeply involved with Internet technologies from their very beginning, and writes most cogently about them. As before, it would behoove members to read Tom’s writings, for their elucidation of some of the fine points of SDN and NFV.  Here’s what Tom shared with us this week:

  • Do We Need SDN and NFV for SDN and NFV Benefits? http://bit.ly/1sKQiNI, which talks about the scope of the ETSI ISG’s work, and how it might have to work with other standards bodies, especially to define the management piece. Plus, about what the real economic motivations behind SDN and NFV are or should be, highlighting the issue of “first cost” (read Tom’s post to learn the details) and the need to modernize service operations and management before we implement SDN and NFV, a distinction that is often lost in the rosy-tinted picture of SDN and NFV we keep hearing now-a-days – a down-to-earth, sobering technical analysis that I highly recommend to help keep you rooted!
  • How Do We Harmonize SDN and NFV? http://bit.ly/1xmMEAt, an interesting perspective that asks whether we have two revolutions (SDN and NFV) or one (the decomposition and modeling of virtualization)?

Do you agree with Tom’s evaluations and assessment? Please comment on the appropriate post in our Group.  

Views of Incumbents (AT&T) and Alternative Providers (Colt) …

Yours truly posted on two relevant issues in the SDN space.

The first, a keynote by John Donovan of AT&T from ONS 2014 (the Open Networking Summit) in Silicon Valley, earlier this http://bit.ly/114Fpzd. John is responsible for all of AT&T’s network and internal process transformation, as they move towards the new network. http://bit.ly/114Fpzd gives a view into how AT&T is thinking and talking about SDN (which still should be taken with a dose of reality).

The second, an article talking of Colt (an alternative UK-based provider of Carrier Ethernet services) harking back to the thought that SDN/NFV don’t obviate the need for five 9’s reliability (ah, good old SONET/SDN and OTN folks feeling gratified yet?)  http://bit.ly/1xUk6ey.

2. Network Deployment & Design

VRRP or MC-LAG, And GCC or G-Ach: That is the Question! …Or is It?

Sohail Muhammad  asked what the difference was between VRRP and MC-LAG, and which one would be preferred by an operator for short switching times http://bit.ly/113TdJX. Ian Geddes rightly pointed out the two are different concepts, operating at different layers of the protocol stack (VRRP is a Layer 3 mechanism to enable first hop redundancy for clients connected to a network, while MC-LAG (Multi-Chassis Link Aggregation Group) is a way of joining two interfaces on a given switch/router, so that they appear to be one, even though they go to different switches upstream). Dan Martin and Lincoln Stookey both weighed in with valuable perspectives on physical redundancy and how to guard against leaks and flooding (hint, deploy water bugs to detect water and generate an alarm for the NOC!). Check out the thread for more insights!

 Are you a service provider or operator using VRRP and MC-LAG? If so, in which environments have you used each one? Where have you found each valuable? And, what has been your experience with each one? Share more at http://bit.ly/113TdJX 

Sohail also posed a question on using GCC vs G-Ach in MPLS-TP, which was aptly answered by Faisal Khan, who pointed out that GCC is an OTN OAM channel, while G-Ach is for MPLS-TP, both providing OAM at different layers, with both being needed if your MPLS-TP traffic rides in an ODU, http://bit.ly/1xDbWJ0

… Sub-Path Maintenance Entity (SPME) in MPLS-TP with Hierarchical LSPs

Harinadh Mulpuri asked how SPME worked in MPLS-TP to monitor OAM packets in hierarchical LSPs. To this, Huub (van Helvoort) provided a pointer to RFC6371, which contains all the details http://bit.ly/14kBz6Z.

Are you a service provider or operator using MPLS-TP? Have you used it with hierarchical LSPs, and, if so, how did you do OAM on it.  Comment here http://bit.ly/14kBz6Z

3. Enterprise Conundrums & Making Life Easy for Enterprises

The Group also focused this week on enterprise issues, which I think has been a missing piece in our interactions – the need to look closely at the “consumer” of all of the services and standards we create.

The Gap in Business Continuity for Enterprises …

 Joshua Parnes of Integra Telecom posted on the need for enterprises to have a business continuity/data recovery (BC/DR) plan, which 75% of enterprises don’t have. The average hourly cost of business interruptions for North American companies pegged at $163K! The blog also draws an important distinction between data recovery (which gets IT functioning again) and business continuity (which gets the workforce up, and running mission-critical services again) http://bit.ly/1v86ejH

What about you: Are you an SMB? A medium to large enterprise? Do you have a BC/DR plan chalked out? How have you suffered by the lack of such a plan in the past? Do share your views here http://bit.ly/1v86ejH.

… And Orchestrating a Hybrid Cloud for All …

 Scott Raynovich of the Rayno Report, wrote about the hybrid cloud being for everyone http://bit.ly/114EDlC, where a startup Siaras is attempting to make it easy for service providers to tie hybrid cloud services together, by using its Cloudscape product to become the “orchestrator of orchestrators”. Go here for the details http://bit.ly/114EDlC, especially WANaaS!

Do you think the service providers have lost the race to provide cloud services? Can they use a Siaras-like strategy to cash in on the cloud boom? How easy is that? Do share your views here http://bit.ly/114EDlC!

… With Virtualized Routers and Titanium OpenNFV …

 Finally, Tom Nolle wrote about Juniper’s bid to virtualize it’s http://bit.ly/1urVBpJ, wondering if there’s a business case, especially since a virtual router essentially values software at a lot less than what it would be valued at in a real router. Plus, this undermines the future revenue stream for system vendors turning to software! And, he does a nice exercise of thinking through how to tie the benefits of virtual routers to services in an explicit way, something Cisco, Juniper, and Brocade, haven’t effectively done yet. And, he pondered about the HP/Windriver alliance, and the combination of Windriver’s Titanium ecosystem with HP’s OpenNFV implementation of NFV, which includes the critical orchestration element of NFV http://bit.ly/1wZtteo.

4. Industry Goings-On!

The biggest event of this month, of course, is the MEF’s GEN 14, billed as the conference that focuses on “defining the future of networking”.

MEF GEN14 – Defining the  Future of Networking!

Daniel Bar-Lev posted information on a session with wholesale carriers to be held on Nov. 17th at the CECP Convention happening at GEN14. You can learn more here http://bit.ly/1xDcmz7, while Mark Lippe gave you 5 ways to maximize your attendance at this rocking event here  http://bit.ly/1xxZHwy.

… Carrier Ethernet APAC 2014 …

 Asad Naveed shared ideas for a talk he’ll be giving at Carrier Ethernet APAC 2014 on “Moving To Carrier Ethernet 2.0 for A Better Class of Service” http://bit.ly/1EIE9QZ, and asked for feedback/inputs from the Group.

… and Carrier Network Virtualization 2014 with the SDX Summit

 Finally, Lauren Menzies updated the Group on the Carrier Network Virtualization 2014 Awards http://bit.ly/1sKQufT (where I will be chairing the SDx Summit on Dec. 9th http://bit.ly/1xyHbXe)

Welcome your views on all of these, and do take the time to contribute to and learn from those topics that align with what you are working on or interested in at present. Also, for the auditory learners among you (and I am one myself, listening to a few hours of technical content each week!), I’ve made this update available as an mp3 podcast, downloadable from the link  http://bit.ly/14HQ0lJ – so happy listening!

Would love your feedback on how you like the new formats, and what else we can do to make this more valuable for you. Until next time, may be bits in your byte and the bytes in your packets be profitable!