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Alcatel-Lucent cat-walks its SDN offer

The software is aimed at healthcare, banking, utilities and other enterprise market segments, as well as webscale companies – large Internet-based companies – and telecom service providers, to scale their cloud offers.

Alcatel-Lucent is aware that it may be leaving the SDN starting gates a little ahead of some of its main competitors on both the telecoms and IT sides of the business, many of whom were very keen to talk SDN and NFV at the recent MWC in Barcelona.

It says it has customers already lined up to commence software evaluation in this month - SFR, TELUS, UPMC and Exponential-e - and says Nuage Networks is setting out to address key datacentre network constraints that limit cloud services adoption. It claims Nuage's SDN is a second generation product.

Phil Tilley, UK marketing director at Alcatel-Lucent, said that Nuage was acting as a start-up within Alcatel-Lucent. "This is an SDN solution for the datacentre network," said Tilly. "It allows you to grow virtual machines across different data centres."

The announcement has been aligned with the arrival of the new Alcatel-Lucent CEO, Michel Combes, following the resignation of Ben Verwaayen. Combes said the new software products were designed to build on the CloudBand management system (cloud orchestration). It should all help telecom and cloud service providers build large-scale cloud infrastructure and services.

Alcatel-Lucent's rationale is that while datacentre operators can add or change virtual servers and storage almost instantly to meet customer demands, the network that should tie it all together isn't keep pace. While that network has high capacity, it’s not flexible enough to reconfigure at lightening speed. Provisioning still requires detailed technical planning, manual configuration and complex systems and processes to connect customers to compute and storage resources.

The idea is that SDN can solve this problem and that cloud service providers will buy - IDC forecasts the worldwide SDN market will grow from $360m in 2013 to $3.7Bn by 2016.

Nuage's Virtualized Services Platform (VSP) creating secure “slices” for each customer across multiple data centres, changing provisioning time from days to minutes. VSP also scales to support very large datacenters with thousands of customers, each with thousands of users. This makes it suitable for public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud services delivered by large enterprises, webscale companies or telecom service providers.

Former UK telecoms regulator and communications minister, Stephen Carter, is also to leave Alcatel-Lucent after a two year stint in marketing and operational roles. Carter, who authored the Digital Britain Report (subsequent legislation was hurried through Parliament as virtually the last act of the Labour government) was brought into the company by Verwaayen.

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