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Alcatel-Lucent's Nuage launches SDN platform, courts IT

Nuage's secret sauce revolves around a software-based networking system that works with OpenStack, CloudStack and VMware.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Nuage Networks, an "internal startup" funded by Alcatel-Lucent, on Tuesday outlined its software defined networking strategy via its Virtualized Services Platform (VSP).

The VSP is Nuage's play on the software defined networking (SDN) craze. SDNs became popular---among tech vendors and media not implementations yet---and a run of mergers and acquisitions ensued. Nuage, French for cloud, was created and funded by Alcatel-Lucent as a way to appeal to a broader customer base by mixing IT and networking knowhow. Alcatel-Lucent typically targets telecom carriers.

Nuage's secret sauce for VSP revolves around a software-based networking system that works with OpenStack, CloudStack and VMware. That interoperability of network switches with those platforms should cater to enterprises. The SDN platform is also integrated with software and gear from Citrix, F5 Networks, HP and Palo Alto Networks. Overall, Nuage's VSP is targeting tiered Web applications, hybrid cloud environments and disaster recovery.

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"We believe SDNs will connect the cloud to data center to the branch office. SDNs will make the data center instaneous and touchless," said Manish Gulyanil, head of marketing Alcatel-Lucent's core and fixed products.



According to Nuage and Alcatel-Lucent, trials of the VSP start in April in Europe and North America with availability in mid-2013. The aim of the VSP is to target enterprise markets and Webscale companies and telecoms to boost their cloud capacity.



The launch, which comes as Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes starts his tenure, adds networking to its orchestration tools. Alcatel-Lucent has moved into cloud orchestration systems. Among the key details of the VSP:

  • The system automates data center networks via secure slices for each company to cut provisioning time.
  • VSP features an open standards-based control plane with automated integration with service providers.
  • Language that eliminates "network speak" so end users can procure resources.
  • Virtual machine connectivity and mobility are available across multiple data centers.
  • Network virtualization is integrated at the L2-L4 level.
  • Can be fully programmed via application programming interfaces (APIs).
  • Service management and automation is policy based with analytics.
  • The system is based on Alcatel-Lucent's Services Router Operating System, which has a business-scale track record.


The challenge

Nuage's VSP is positioned as the first of the second gen virtualized services platform. The challenge for Nuage is uprooting the likes of VMware, which bought Nicira.

Lindsay Newell, head of marketing for Alcatel-Lucent's networks and platform group, noted that VMware and other competitors come at the SDN game via IT. Nuage has the networking pedigree. "IT doesn't necessarily own networking," said Newell. Regarding competitors such as HP and Cisco, Nuage will be more open than stack providers.

"Our approach is we're agnostic. If you have a mixed environment fine we'll deal with it," said Newell. "We've found with customers that agnostic is an advantage. We're not trying to sell you hardware."

"People underestimate Nuage's networking pedigree experience creating massively large networks," said Gulyanil.



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