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NEC takes control of its OpenFlow controllers

ProgrammableFlow 5.1 to include uber-controller

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NEC is prepping for this month's Open Networking Summit in Santa Clara with the pre-exhibition announcement of the latest addition to its software-defined networking (SDN) lineup.

Its contribution to the data centre infrastructure “mine's bigger” game is a new controller, the UNC (Unified Network Controller – apparently someone at NEC unearthed a 1990s “product marketing guidelines” manual from HP, in which sushi is “cold dead fish”).

Described as a “controller of controllers”, the UNC's key specs are that it will act as master for ten other NEC OpenFlow controllers (which could be in one data centre or across multiple sites); those downstream controllers can connect up to 2,000 switches, supporting 30,000 virtual tenant networks, 100,000 VLANs and ten million flows, NEC says.

Virtual networks can span multiple data centres, the company says, and the UNC should help make it easer to move VMs around so as to avoid putting too many of their loads in one place.

The company's OpenFlow controllers first shipped in 2011, at the time acclaimed as the first commercial OF controller implementation.

The UNC ships as part of V5.1 of the company's OpenFlow-based ProgrammableFlow Networking Suite, announced here. Its multi-site flow capability means it can help users move workloads between different sites, while controlling the WAN link traffic flows.

As well as redundancy, NEC has an eye to growing interest in moving loads between sites to get them as close to end users as possible (for example, in content distribution networks). ®

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