Google revamps network via OpenFlow

Google is betting on an open source network management architecture and its own routers.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Google has outlined how it revamped its network, which ranks up there with large Internet service providers, via an open source networking technology called OpenFlow.

Wired's Steven Levy outlined Google's plans, which were unveiled at the Open Networking Summit. Urs Hölzle, Google's infrastructure head, outlined OpenFlow and the company's returns on investment.

Among the key points:

  • Hölzle said that Google is making its own networking gear---it already makes its own servers. Google's routers power the G-Scale network.
  • OpenFlow is the linchpin of Google's network overhaul. OpenFlow is an open source technology that separates packet switching and management. Control is moved to servers.
  • Software expertise is key to Google's ability to schedule traffic and offload work to regions. Google also needs to predict the time to move backups and other key tasks.
  • The swap to OpenFlow was carried out data center by data center. Networking gear was pre-deployed to take over half the capacity before grabbing the rest.
  • The returns aren't quantified just yet, but Google put hundreds of engineers on the project.

Here's a look at the OpenFlow architecture via a whitepaper.

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