Worst. Birthday. Ever. IPv6's party falls flat

In this weeks networking news, switches surged, Riverbed monitored and the MEF standardised

Roundup Last week saw celebration in the IPv6 community this week – not because adoption is finally really taking off, but because, umm, look, something must have happened, right?

Well, yes, kind of: in spite of first being authored in 1999, IPv6 lay fallow for more than a decade, even though we all knew the world would run out of IPv4 addresses. The “IPv6 Launch Day” that happened on June 6, 2012, was a cross between official switch-on by a bunch of US service providers, and promotional exercise.

The fifth anniversary brought Vint Cerf out to grouch that the v6 rollout is still too slow, but others wanted to Look on the Bright Side of Life™.

Facebook, for example, said its internal traffic is now past the half-way mark, and has launched a monitoring site based on its traffic observations.

The Social Network™ noted that US mobile carriers send more than 75 per cent of their traffic to Facebook over IPv6.

IPv6 co-author Bob Hinden gave another upside view, noting that “the current level of IPv6 deployment means that the technical hurdles have been overcome and the implementations are mature”.

It's mostly consumer kit – and the reluctance of their ISPs to switch – that holds back growth of v6 traffic.

'Cloud-native' routing

With its Cisco Live! confab in Florida next week, you'd think that Cisco would be saving up its announcements, but this week it revealed what it's calling the “Cloud-Native Broadband Router”.

It's the consumer-facing side of Switchzilla's disaggregation story: the box in the home is stripped of smarts as far as possible, its software migrated to the service provider's cloud.

Cisco says it's a “full software rewrite” of cable access platforms, containerised to work with Kubernetes as the orchestrator and Docker as the creation/deployment/operational environment.

Designed to run on bare metal, the Cloud-Native Broadband Router also gives the provider a better idea of what's happening in its network, with realtime monitoring, analysis and remediation.

Riverbed reworks app performance management

Riverbed Networks has released what it calls a “unified application performance management and user experience monitoring solution”.

The SteelCentral release adds artificial intelligence (of course) for its business analytics, and has “new integration between SteelCentral and Riverbed Xirrus Wi-Fi access points”.

Arista goes Barefoot

Arista Networks released the 7170 Series, a switch range based on Barefoot's Tofino silicon.

Running the company's Arista EOS, the 7170 Series can provide as many as 64 x 100 Gbps Ethernet ports in a 2 RU form factor. The switches include NAT targeting service providers (as many as 200,000 sessions per switch), advanced telemetry, and security profiles aimed at enterprise applications.

The devices support the P4 programming language, a networking-specific language for packet forwarding systems (P4 is the abbreviation of Programming Protocol-independent Packet Processors).

They're available either as bare metal switches, or in a “cloud-grade” profile.

Ciena goes shopping

Ciena celebrated second quarter revenue growth for 2018 by announcing its intention to acquire a company called Packet Design.

The takeover target specialises in using telemetry and analytics to power “self-driving” networks – something no networking company dare be without.

Ciena said Packet Design will be folded into its Blue Planet network optimisation suite, adding Layer 3 capabilities to what is currently a lower-layer offering.

Ciena's results, announced May 31, include revenue up by three per cent year-on-year, but net income suffered, dropping from $38 million for the same quarter in 2017 to $13.9 million for this quarter. CEO Gary Smith blamed the profit slide on the timing of international service provider deployments, particularly in India. He added that they should return to “normalised levels”, whatever they are, in the future.

Metro Ethernet Forum drops new standards

The former Metro Ethernet Forum, now simply MEF, has been busy, publishing four standards documents at the end of last week.

MEF 3.0 Ethernet is enhanced with MEF 62, the Managed Access E-Line Service Implementation Agreement. This adds management and class-of-service capabilities to the standard to help operators provision services between service providers.

Second, there's MEF 3.0 IP, which standardises service attributes between retailer and network operator.

The Subscriber IP Service Attributes Technical Specification (MEF 61) defines “a standard set of service attributes for describing IP VPNs and Internet access services offered to end-users”.

Third, there's MEF 3.0 Layer 1, covering client protocols for Ethernet, Fibre Channel, SONET, and SDH. Once again, its aim is to create standardised descriptors, replacing service provider descriptors like “wavelength service” or “optical wavelength”.

Finally, MEF 3.0 SD-WAN gets attention in the form of documents covering SD-WAN implementation and service descriptions.

Switch market looking up: IDC

Analyst outfit IDC reckons the Ethernet switch market is in an upturn.

The prognosticator said the L2/L3 switch market rose 10.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2018 over 2017, reaching US$6.29 billion. That's much cheerier than the router business, which shed 1.4 per cent year-on-year to a limp $3.1 billion.

Network infrastructure veep Rohit Mehra identified two important trends: “The emergence of next-generation software-based network intelligence platforms that add to the intrinsic value of networking, and the push by large enterprises, hyperscalers, and service providers to leverage faster Ethernet switching speeds for cloud rollouts.”

The usual names led the growth: Cisco's switch sales rose 7.6 per cent in the period (although its market share declined to 48.1 per cent), and its routing business suffered, falling 10.2 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2017.

Huawei demonstrated why it's a trade war target, up 41.2 per cent in switching to garner 8.1 per cent market share; while HPE maintained its six per cent market share and enjoyed 11.1 per cent revenue growth.

Arista Networks's Ethernet switching revenue rose 39.9 per cent, taking its market share to 6.5 per cent, up from 5.1 per cent in 2017;

Juniper is still suffering: its Ethernet switch revenue fell 4.8 per cent, its switch market share is down to 3.7 per cent; service provider and enterprise routing revenue fell 21.8 per cent, and as a result, its market share dropped from 15.5 per cent in the first quarter 2017 to 12.3 per cent. ®




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