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Infinera serves up Transport SDN with Xceed Software Suite

Infinera has unveiled the Xceed Software Suite, a portfolio of modular software components that can automate service provisioning in Infinera-based optical transport networks.

The suite comes in two main parts. The Xceed Multi-layer SDN Platform provides software-defined networking-based automation of control plane functions. The Xceed Applications are a set of starter ‘apps’ that enable service providers to immediately start using the new software to activate bandwidth and reconfigure network resources.

This new software – in combination with Infinera’s Instant Bandwidth licences that allow service providers to pre-deploy capacity across their networks and activate it when required – promises to make it even easier for service providers to create new revenue streams and reduce operational costs by driving higher network efficiency.

Although service providers have embraced SDN in their data centres, they have been slow to extend the same SDN automation to the metro and core optical transport networks that are foundational to their business, the company notes. The Xceed Software Suite is designed to accelerate the adoption of software defined networking in the optical transport domain.

Infinera has had a very capable control plane in the form of Generalised Multiprotocol Label Switching (GMPLS) since 2005, explained Geoff Bennett, Infinera’s director of solutions and technology. ‘The functionality was there, but the platform was closed,’ he commented.

Infinera started to move towards SDN last year with the release of the Open Transport Switch software, which allows its DTN-X optical transport system to be controlled by a third-party SDN controller. (For details, see our feature Self-service bandwidth)

Now, by creating a complete software suite based on open principles, Infinera is giving its customers even more control over how to program their networks. Customers can move quickly to the software-defined model by deploying the Xceed platform and apps from Infinera, but this is the starting point not the final destination on the journey. Customers can then exploit the Xceed Software Suite’s open nature to develop more sophisticated functionality if they so desire.

Infinera has chosen to develop its SDN controller on the OpenDaylight Protocol because this ecosystem is the most mature and has the backing of a rich community of software developers, according to Bennett. The Xceed controller also incorporates advanced microservices developed by Infinera, such as a multi-layer path computation element (PCE) and a rich network abstraction layer incorporating the Open Transport Switch (OTS) software.

‘Because it’s OpenDaylight [customers] can get under the bonnet and start tweaking if that’s what they want to do,’ said Bennett.

Customers can also develop their own apps to suit their particular business requirements. However, so they can hit the ground running, Infinera is shipping the initial release with two ‘revenue-ready’ apps designed to demonstrate the benefits of the platform:

  • Xceed Dynamic Bandwidth provides on-demand provisioning of Optical Transport Network (OTN), including ODUFlex and Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) compliant Ethernet services. This enables faster service provisioning, more efficient use of resources across packet, digital and optical layers, and improved network utilisation.
  • Xceed Instant Virtual Networks facilitates network virtualisation to enable service providers to define virtual transport network topologies on a shared physical network infrastructure. With Layer 1 (OTN) Instant Virtual Network (IVN), multiple virtual transport networks can be established, each operating as a standalone transport network with integrated OTN switching, optical routing and protection capabilities tailored to the end-user’s requirements.

The Xceed Software Suite will enable Infinera and its partners and customers to play a leading role in building fully open, dynamic multi-layer SDN-controlled networks, the company claims. Two early adopter customers – pan-European research and education network operator GÉANT and US service provider Windstream – have already backed the new release.

‘GÉANT is working in close partnership with Infinera to deploy SDN, most recently validating Open Transport Switch and the Packet Switching Module to pilot multi-layer programmability between our optical and packet networks,’ said Mark Johnston, chief operations officer at GÉANT. ‘By closely collaborating with the SDN development team, led by Afrodite Sevasti, we plan to leverage the power of the Xceed Software Suite to implement multi-layer control and to facilitate multi-domain interoperation to increase network efficiency and deliver on-demand services. This will also ultimately increase the capability and value of the GÉANT network.”

Infinera has made the Xceed Software Suite available to selected customers for trials and deployments, with general availability planned for the fourth quarter of 2016.



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