Virtualization Featured Article

The Autonomous SDDC Becoming a Reality

May 30, 2017

Microsoft made a pretty significant play in the software-defined networking (SDN) space with its Network Controller for Windows Server 2016. The offering lets datacenter operators automate the configuration, management, monitoring and troubleshooting of their virtual and physical network infrastructure from a convenient centralized point. Network Controller seems to be tailor made for the software-defined data center (SDDC) and basically applies key features of Azure and the cloud to large Hyper-V deployments in the data center.

Network Controller works by abstracting specific workloads like firewalls, edge gateways, load balancing, switching and routing, and enables administrators to manage them as distributed pieces instead of individual components. The solution features a management plane for defining policies, a control plane for distributing them to endpoints and a data plane on the endpoints, which transfers policies from the management plane to the control plane.

                 Image via Bigstock

The data center network essentially becomes autonomous, enforcing its own policies and enabling VMs to communicate among themselves without manual assistance. That’s a pretty significant feature for a large data center, but the catch is that Network Controller is only available in Windows 2016 Datacenter edition with its associated hefty licensing costs. Fortunately alternatives exist and more solutions are coming to market as SDN and the SDDC gain prominence.

Fiber Mountain is a company working in the SDN and SDDC space, and the company’s Glass Core virtual connectivity fabric is designed to enable Layer 1 SDN switching in the data center using high-density optical connectivity. In addition to offering SDN switches and fiber port aggregators, the company’s AllPath Director is a centralized SDN orchestration system offering real-time visibility and logical and physical network control for hyperscale data centers.

The solution also offers support for REST API interfaces, making it compatible with the OpenStack platform and other SDN systems and solutions. Last week Fiber Mountain announced AllPath Director release 3.0, with new features like an Audit Trail of all actions taken and live Network Documentation of the entire network infrastructure of layer 1 devices and connections.

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