Category Archives: Carrier Ethernet

Removing intelligence from the network kills value

There are plenty arguments going on around how making network equipment “dumb” and programming it from a centralised location will save a ton. Well, saving a ton it may be, but I would like to focus on what might be lost or compromised by doing so.

As an aside: looking at the evolution of the OF protocol, the amount of “stuff” that switches will need to be able to do to support it is increasing quite rapidly. Wonder how long will it take for the complexity to be back in the devices in force, just under a different banner?

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From the arcane knowledge dept: standby links in LAG

Summary for the impatient

The Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) can be used to create link aggregation groups with active and standby links in them. Those standby links can be made active when one or more of the previously active links fail or removed from the group.

“The special magic” required for this to work needs only to be done by one side of LAG; the only requirement for the “other” side is that it supports standard LACP.

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When would the two want to tango?

After a couple of last posts on this blog, discussion have happened, questions asked, and… went somewhat unanswered at the time. Questions went largely around use cases, where SDN would benefit from close interoperation with IP/MPLS domain.

Admittedly I didn’t come up with anything good at the time; however, I did later, was ready to post yesterday but then WordPress bots-in-charge decided that my blog was behaving oddly (“Oh, noes! Look out, he’s got READERS all of the sudden! The Horror!”), is probably breaching their TOS, and blocked it. We’re back today, with apologies and a message that “the system should not have done this”, so life’s good, at least until next time. This highlights problem with some of cloudy services, which is a good topic for a rant; but I digress.

Now, back to the use case. I think it is best explained with a diagram, so here it is:

Diagram

SDN/MPLS tango use case illustration

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Getting the two to tango

In my previous post, I concluded:

…there are things that you just can’t get if you’re “flying high”, and I think that there are some very good synergies that can be had if SDNs could leverage the capabilities present in IP/MPLS transport networks. However, it takes two to tango, and I’ll be curious to see if enough interest materialises from both sides of the fence to make something like this to happen.

After a bit of a think, I come to conclusion that such integration is already quite possible to a certain extent, and likely with only minimal changes on the NVP side.

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Shedding tears while peeling Nicira’s onion

Digging through my backlog of Nicira-related reading (yes, I know – shame, but I’ve been quite down with flu for the last two days), I came across the Nicira NVP FAQ, where a few things have caught my eye.

Granted that I don’t know some finer details of NVP’s inner functioning, but based on the information that instances of Open vSwitch use (point to point) GRE tunnels to communicate with each other, I found it hard not to wonder about a thing or two in that document.

Let’s have a look, shall we? Continue reading


Meeting the challenge of first-mile access for Multipoint Business Ethernet

Note: This article has been updated on 12 October 2009 from its original version, to include PWE3 as the possible “protocol of choice”.

Good time of day to you, dear reader. 🙂

Today I would like to talk briefly about the effort that is taking an important bit of my time as of recent – getting off the ground an interest in Carriers and Vendors to develop and deploy a solution to today’s woes of first mile access for Multipoint Business Ethernet services.

To set the mood, I would like to stress that I am mainly concerned with Multipoint Ethernet Services, sold directly to Business (Enterprise) customers, as opposed to other Carriers or wholesale purchasers, such as Systems Integrators.

What are those woes and what am I on about? Read on to find out. Continue reading


Takeaways from EMC Inform ’07

Today I want to tell you about the EMC Avamar data backup and de-duplication software and Nortel OM5130 SAN extension unit.

A few weeks back I visited EMC Inform ’07 one day conference in Melbourne. Main aim of my visit was to get a feel for what Enterprise (and storage) world is concerned with nowadays, and maybe to pick up an idea or two.

The presentations I went to gave me an impression that the hottest topics today seem to be server and storage virtualization, data storage and backup optimization, and an increasing urge to make sense of the avalanche of information.

This is all good, but what can a Telco get out of all this? I saw a couple of things.

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