Nuage Networks officials believe the company has removed another challenge to the wide adoption of software-defined networks in cloud computing environments.
Nuage is launching its Virtualized Services Assurance Platform (VSAP), an open tool that essentially gives organizations greater visibility into both the virtual networking layer and the underlying physical hardware of switches, routers and other gear. The technology correlates what's going on in the virtual network overlays and the physical underlays of software-defined networking (SDN) environments, giving network administrators the information they need to identify, isolate and resolve problems, and to ensure the quality of the service.
Until now, businesses could get similar visibility, though solutions from other vendors were tied to the specific underlying hardware, according to Nuage officials. With VSAP, the company is offering an open tool that can work with any networking switch or router that supports such standard protocols as POpen Shortest Path First (OSPF), Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), Intermediate System-Intermediate System (ISIS) and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).
Network virtualization brings the same end-to-end idea of the Internet—decoupling services from core networks while keeping a simple core and pushing intelligence to the edge—to enterprise networks, according to Dimitri Stiliadis, co-founder, CTO and chief architect for Nuage. However, network administrators have questioned whether it's possible to get the same visibility and control in a network virtualization environment as they had with more tightly integrated networking technologies, Stiliadis wrote in a post on the Nuage blog.
"Indeed, some vendors considered the full vertical integration as their main value proposition and attempted to convince network teams that the only way to achieve visibility is by relying on a closed architecture," he wrote. "What we are demonstrating today is that not only is it possible to achieve visibility in an overlay deployment, but that this is doable without any hardware lock-in to any vendors' strategy and without any need for reinventing new protocols or APIs. There are simple solutions that are based on open protocols and standards, and by combining those with an intelligent correlation layer, one can achieve full operational visibility."
Nuage CEO Sunil Khandekar said in a statement that the company over the past two years "has been systematically working to remove any networking constraints limiting enterprises from fully embracing the power of SDN technology."
VSAP uses open protocols to maintain topologies, and brings together the virtual and physical topologies to manage services, find problems and fix issues.
Ben Kepes, a technology analyst writing on his Diversity Ltd. site, said the openness of VSAP and its ability to enable customers to break away from being tied to specific vendor hardware, is important as organizations push forward with their SDN ambitions.
"This gives customers both the freedom of choice that they demand but also, and perhaps most importantly at this early stage, the ability to apply SDN to their existing assets," Kepes wrote.
Nuage is a venture of Alcatel-Lucent created to focus on the growing SDN field. The company announced the VSAP technology this week at the Open Network User Group (ONUG) 2015 conference. At the same conference, Big Switch Networks, which specializes in SDN software for bare-metal switches, announced that the latest iteration of Big Cloud Fabric—version 2.6—supports VMware's NSX SDN technology, including bringing greater visibility between the virtual and physical networking layers through its enhanced Fabric Analytics module.
Nuage's VSAP technology is available now and is being used in trials, officials said.