Alcatel-Lucent unveils strategy for software-defined networks in the enterprise space

Alcatel-Lucent is to introduce new technologies to meet demand for so-called ‘software-defined networks’, the growing enterprise market trend being fuelled by an increasingly mobile workforce and network management challenges brought on by the ‘growing virtualisation within data centres.

Software-defined networking gives enterprises the ability to programme networks and control the traffic flow, inspection and modification of applications on them. By building greater programmability, application awareness and end-to-end visibility into its Application Fluent Network, Alcatel-Lucent is delivering an enterprise-scale Software Defined Network (SDN) that moves beyond offering basic awareness of the applications running on it, to a network that can make automatic real-time adjustments.
Alcatel-Lucent’s application fluent approach to SDN extends to the entire enterprise network, going beyond basic network configuration to create a better user experience. This approach gives mid-sized and large enterprises highly automated and simple to use solutions that are scalable and compatible with existing networks.

Mark Fabbi, Vice President, Distinguished Analyst, Gartner said: “The focus for early SDN related use cases has been primarily on automation to remove the need for the human middleware required for network reconfiguration related to adds, moves and changes of virtual machine deployments. However, greater benefits will appear as new SDN applications focused on end-user experience and operational improvements deliver on the promise of the application fluent corporate network.”

CandIT Media, an industry-leading digital media solutions company based in Belgium, is the first customer to validate Alcatel-Lucent’s application fluent approach to enterprise scale SDN. CandIT Media provides proprietary digital media production solutions that meet massive data storage and real-time file transfer requirements. By using Alcatel-Lucent’s OmniSwitch 6900, it has created a “content aware” digital network that dynamically supports the large traffic peaks specific to media flows. In addition to providing a higher quality user experience, CandIT Media can deliver solutions to its customers at lower costs since the network is more efficient in transporting large files.

Luc Andries, CTO, CandIT Media, said: “The high volumes of media traffic we deal with have a bursty nature that makes Ethernet switches suboptimal for their transport. By using off the shelf hardware and Alcatel-Lucent’s OminSwitch 6900, we were able to achieve and significantly improve Quality of Service by optimally tuning the transfer of media content which also resulted in a much higher utilisation of physical components.”

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