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M1's Data Center Plans SDN Proof of Concept Push

November 04, 2015

Software defined networking (SDN) has had a lot of impact when it comes to data centers the world over. Now, M1 is getting together with some of the biggest names in tech—Huawei, Palo Alto Networks and VMware—to bring SDN capability to its cloud-based data center, a move that should put a lot of extra power into the system.

The move calls for the firms to bring a complete SDN proof of concept to M1's data center, which will offer a complete and unified view of the network. That level of information is expected to make managing the network much simpler, and also step up the overall speed of provisioning. That makes for new services brought out more rapidly, and a better overall response from the network itself.

M1 won't stop there, as it plans to follow up by turning that provisioning over to the customers directly, allowing customers to modify at least some of M1's services to best meet the individual customer's needs. VMware's Ron Goh pointed out that, by adding VMware NSX to M1's systems, M1 should be able to improve its security capabilities as well, making for a more scalable, capable network. M1's chief product development and corporation solutions officer, Willis Sim, also noted that M1 viewed the corporate market as a major growth front, and so tooled its offerings up accordingly.

SDN is increasingly finding its way into networks along with its close cohort network functions virtualization (NFV) as both offer marked advantages for networks. Network operators looking to split the difference between offering services and not spending a fortune on maintenance often turn to SDN and NFV. This helps take strain off a network while keeping the functionality high.

Fiber Mountain, for example, offers up a Layer 1 SDN switching system that makes networks run a lot faster, yet allows the network's physical layer to be run from software. Fiber Mountain's Optical Path Exchange (OPX) provides a latency between ports of just five nanoseconds, and also allows for direct connections with bandwidth to spare. Its Intelligent AllPath Connect patch allows for more rapid connections without needing to physically handle cables.

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With SDN increasingly in place, data centers are able to offer the same services, or potentially even more, with the same level of hardware. Though SDN tools have some issues, like an inability to prevent data loss, many of these issues can be addressed simply, like making sure networks run on non-blocking switches and routers to help ensure SDN can work to its fullest.

SDN has a variety of benefits for users, and as more SDN-capable networks emerge, we'll likely see more of these come to light thanks to greater numbers of use cases. When it comes time to put more in the network, just keep M1's example in mind and look into the value SDN can produce.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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