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Alcatel-Lucent invests in Nuage Networks cloud SDN startup

Nuage Networks tackles scalability and automated service provisioning issues of cloud providers offering hybrid multi-tenant cloud services

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Like Cisco and its Insieme Networks project, Alcatel-Lucent has invested in a startup company focused on SDNs for cloud service providers.

Nuage Networks was established a year ago to tackle the scalability and automated service provisioning issues of cloud providers offering hybrid - public and private - multi-tenant cloud services. Usually, the bottleneck in all of this is the network, and that's what Nuage is focusing on.

"We want to make sure that the network gets out of the way," says Sunil Khandekar, Nuage CEO.

Khandekar was the vice president of business development for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region of Alcatel-Lucent's IP Division. Prior to this he had global responsibility for the company's Service Router portfolio as vice president of product management for the IP Division.

Khandekar joined the former Alcatel with its 2003 acquisition of TiMetra Networks, a Silicon Valley startup developing service routers for IP/MPLS networks.

Like Alcatel-Lucent's IP Division, Nuage is headquartered in Mountain View. It is staffed not only by Alcatel-Lucent personnel but also with those from the company's competitors, like Cisco and Juniper, and Webscale/Web 2.0 and virtualisation companies, like Yahoo and VMware.

Nuage was not forthcoming on product details - the "official" launch of the company and its products is scheduled for April. But Khandekar said the company is building SDN capabilities for "fully automated, full programmable networks" support hybrid cloud services.

Cisco has invested an initial $100 million in Insieme, with the option to purchase the company for about $800 million. Neither Cisco nor Insieme has disclosed what the startup is working on but it's is believed to be a line of programmable 100G Ethernet switches and a controller, with substantial storage hooks.

Khandekar said the Nuage products will support multi-vendor IP/Ethernet environments and can be deployed in both greenfield and legacy data centers. They will require an SDN controller, software embedded in network and compute elements to allow them to be controlled, and knowledge of the network to slice it into multi-tenant segments in a programmable manner, Khandekar says.

The products will support OpenFlow as one of many control protocols, and will be "agnostic" to others like OpenStack, CloudStack, VMware vCenter, etc. The Nuage products will also be hypervisor agnostic, Khandekar says.

Even though Nuage will leverage OpenFlow, it will also go beyond the capabilities of OpenFlow to allow cloud service providers to construct highly scalable, multi-tenant hybrid clouds capable of using different orchestration mechanisms, Khandekar says.

Several customers will begin tests and trials of the Nuage products this month, he says.


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