As Nokia buy awaits, Alcatel-Lucent grows switching and virtual networking portfolio

As it awaits to be swallowed up by Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent continues to expand its switching and virtual networking portfolio.

As it awaits to be swallowed up by Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent continues to expand its switching and virtual networking portfolio.

The company this week rolled out a new switch and software enhancements designed to simplify network operations through automation and design flexibility. This follows last week's announcement that Nokia would acquire Alcatel-Lucent for over $16 billion to strengthen its presence in fixed and wireless networking.

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The new switch is the OmniSwitch 6900-Q32, a campus core and data center top-of-rack device for companies requiring a low latency scalable and programmable fabric.

The 6900-Q32 features 32 40Gbps QSFP Ethernet ports that, through the use of splitter cabling, can also be divided in 104 10G ports. It supports OpenFlow 1.3 for software-defined networking, VXLAN gateway capabilities in hardware for VXLAN to non-VXLAN connectivity, and Alcatel-Lucent's Intelligent Fabric (IF) software, which now has several automation enhancements.

Those enhancements include self-configuration, which allows Alcatel-Lucent switches to be unwrapped and cabled. The IF software automatically configures the network, Alcatel-Lucent says.

The IF software also supports self-attachment, which configures access switches, servers, virtual machines, applications, and third-party switches and devices so that they interoperate. For physical and virtual integration, IF identifies VMs in VXLANs as well as applications across the physical infrastructure and provides quality of service, security and prioritization for both, Alcatel-Lucent says.

As new applications and VMs are introduced or moved, IF creates a virtual network profile of QoS, prioritization and security for them across the physical and VXLAN network.

The IF software can also now reconfigure the network after failures to support 24x7 uptime, Alcatel-Lucent says. It also detects new, changed or relocated switches, applications, devices and servers and automatically updates the configuration, Alcatel-Lucent says.

For SDNs, in addition to OpenFlow 1.3, IF supports an OpenStack plug-in, RESTful APIs and embedded Python scripting. The software is also integrated with SDN controllers from NEC.

Alcatel-Lucent also enhanced its OmniVista 2500 management software for the new software and switch. The software now provides "Top 'N'" reporting on network statistics, including VXLAN; user-defined reports; predictive network analytics for capacity planning; and VM policies for the virtual network profiles of VXLAN-based applications.

The 6900-Q32 switch and IF software are available now. IF also runs on Alcatel-Lucent's OmniSwitch 10000, and will be added to the OmniSwitch 6860 access switch later this year.

The OmniSwitch Q-32 costs $1,540 per port with direct attach 1m optics.

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