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Tuesday, 12 June 2012 09:58

NTT Com to launch world's first cloud service with network virtualisation

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Japan's telco giant, NTT Communications (NTT Com), is to launch the world's first global cloud computing service to incorporate OpenFlow network virtualisation technology that will enable customers to control and configure their network within and between data centres.

The move represents the first practical implementation of the idea of a software defined network (SDN) - one in which the network hardware (routers and switches) is controlled and configure by software that is external to the devices themselves.

NTT Com says the new infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering, Enterprise Cloud, "provides global cloud resources that enterprise customers can easily control and manage to optimise their ICT costs and support the global expansion of corporate operations."

It adds: "Many multinational enterprises with growing global operations are struggling with long lead times to expand and modify their ICT systems, which can delay their response to rapid changes in the market. NTT Com helps enterprises overcome this problem by providing them with flexible cloud services via which system changes can be performed automatically using virtualised servers and networks, and a convenient customer portal."

The service is to launch between NTT Com data centres in Japan and Hong Kong on 29 June and will be offered between two data centres in the US and between NTT Com data centres in the UK and Singapore in December and in Australia, Malaysia and Thailand in March 2013.

According to NTT Com: "Each data centre is connected with NTT Com's global network and integrated with network virtualisation technology enabling customers to use NTT Com's global infrastructure as their own ICT systems."

The push to SDN is also being driven by major network operators. In March 2011 six of these: Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Verizon and Yahoo! formed the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting SDN.

They were joined by 17 other companies drawn from the ranks of major equipment vendors, networking and virtualisation software suppliers, and chip technology providers. That list now stands at almost 60.

Since then development has been rapid. At the Open Networking Summit in California in April Google was reported to have revealed that is it already running OpenFlow across 100 percent of its internal backbone and that it had developed it own 10Gbps switches to do so.

Also, NEC was reported to have said that it had several customers using OpenFlow enabled solutions in production, and to have hinted at a future OpenFlow enabled telecom carrier product in the pipeline.

Another vendor, Brocade has made a public commitment to software defined networking (SDN) and the related OpenFlow protocol. Last month it announced OpenFlow support on a number of products and a collaboration with NEC America on SDN and OpenFlow.

The two plan to jointly market products built around Brocade's OpenFlow-enabled products and NEC's programmable flow controller for network virtualisation, large-scale data centre infrastructure management, traffic engineering and wide area network (WAN) flow management, with an open standards-based approach. They also plan to establish joint labs in key regional offices to test and demonstrate their products.

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