Structural Reform of Networks Driven by SDN

SDN for efficiency in network operation management

At present, a large structural reform is underway in the world of communication networks. A technology called Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is poised to realize a new type of network structure. Before explaining SDN, let’s briefly look at the challenges conventional networks face.

Networks consist of routers, switches, and other communication hardware having various roles; these devices are connected by cables. Each communication hardware device is an independent computer and must be set up and configured separately.

However, use of networks has been increasing explosively due to the spread of cloud computing and other reasons; the conventional approach is no longer sufficient to support such use. Data centers, the “brain” of cloud computing where many computers are installed, face the biggest challenge. Changing the framework or setting of communication hardware devices or wiring each time communication networks or computers are enhanced or changed based on demand is so difficult as to make system administrators feel dizzy.

The concept of SDN was invented to solve such problems. Under SDN, all hardware are set comprehensively and network configuration can be changed flexibly using centralized management software while leaving the connections between hardware devices as they are.

FINCA for optimizing ICT

SDN has already been implemented at data centers, thereby enabling highly flexible network management. However, networks are not confined to data centers. We wondered if we could provide more convenient, comfortable services by connecting all kinds of networks with SDN, including optical fiber networks provided by carriers, wide-area networks (for mobile phones and others), and Wi-Fi used by smartphones and tablets.

This thought led Fujitsu to announce the Fujitsu Intelligent Networking and Computing Architecture (FINCA), which optimizes SDN-based networks in terms of three network elements: data centers, wide-area networks, and smart devices.

FINCA’s optimization of networks at all levels enables service providers to launch new services quickly and allows carriers to use communication networks more efficiently.
In addition, in the event of a large-scale disaster, FINCA permits network configuration to be changed dynamically and to prioritize exchange of information required for disaster support.

Wide-area network virtualization with SDN

The overall picture of FINCA is already becoming clear. At Interop Tokyo 2014 held in June of this year, Fujitsu announced the Virtuora Series, a new product line that optimizes wide-area networks, the second element of SDN-based networks following data centers.
The Virtuora Series enables quick provision of network services and contributes to cost reduction by adopting the system deployed in data centers to wide-area networks.

Wide-area networks handled by carriers have been renovated about once per decade; these include the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) cell network, and Next Generation Network (NGN). Having achieved all these structural reforms together with carriers, Fujitsu can propose total solutions, including not only hardware and software technologies but also utilization and migration of existing assets. Since hardware already deployed by carriers can be used, FINCA enables carriers to shift to a network having an SDN-like structure while reducing the cost of investing in new devices.

Transformation using SDN has been advancing steadily and quietly unnoticed by most general consumers. In the next stage of advanced networks, many businesses will offer new services one after another. The structural reforms of networks pursued by Fujitsu will make our daily lives more comfortable and safe.