Design Con 2015

Infinera demos SDN switch on ESnet test bed

December 05, 2012

Bernard Cole-December 05, 2012

Infinera has just finished a successful demonstration of a prototype Software Defined Network (SDN) Open Transport Switch (OTS) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network’s (ESnet) Long Island Metropolitan Area Network (LIMAN) control plane test bed.

ESnet provides the high-bandwidth, reliable connections that link scientists at national laboratories, universities and other research institutions.

This proof-of-concept demonstration shows the potential of Transport SDN, extending the concepts and benefits of SDN to the dynamic optical transport layer. The OTS concept is a lightweight virtual transport switch that may be deployed on optical transport systems to interface with a SDN Controller via an extended version of the OpenFlow protocol.

This approach has the potential to facilitate application-driven control over transport bandwidth services, including converged wavelength, OTN and packet transport technologies.

By enabling multi-layer coordination and control, service providers will potentially be able to leverage Transport SDN to improve the utilization and efficiency of their network infrastructure, increase network resiliency, and deploy new services more rapidly while simultaneously simplifying and automating operations, lowering the total cost of network ownership.

In the demonstration, Infinera tested a prototype of the OTS running on the Infinera DTN platform, allowing ESnet’s optical transport network to be configured by an SDN controller via the OpenFlow protocol. ESnet enhanced its SDN controller and demonstrated on-demand bandwidth Ethernet services including bandwidth elasticity for data-intensive science experiments at Brookhaven National Laboratory on their LIMAN network, spanning from Manhattan, NY, to Upton, NY.

The services were provisioned by a high-capacity bandwidth-on-demand application utilizing the SDN controller in three different transport network abstractions, including one based on Infinera’s standards-based GMPLS control plane, showcasing the potential to deploy Transport SDN in networks with existing control planes in production.

In order to implement OTS and extend SDN to the transport layer, the contributing platforms that are used to build this layer must be able to virtualize the digital and optical resources. Infinera’s Bandwidth Virtualization provides this abstraction by leveraging the integration of a standards-based GMPLS software control plane, integrated OTN switching and photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology, providing a massive, shareable and programmable pool of optical transport capacity.  In contrast, conventional optical transport systems are generally more static in nature, with limited or no integrated OTN switching, and do not easily support Transport SDN.

Brookhaven National Lab’s networking team and researchers used this SDN platform to experiment with ultra-high speed data transfer applications being developed for next-generation networks using RDMA over Ethernet protocols. To learn more, go to www.infinera.com/go/SDN.

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