Huawei Moves to Put Network Management Into the Cloud

The IT vendor joins others, including Cisco and Extreme Networks, in turning to the cloud to simplify the management of enterprise networks.

network management

Huawei Technologies is the latest tech vendor to join the push for cloud-based network management offerings to make it easier to plan, deploy, monitor and scale both wired and wireless networks.

At the Interop 2016 show in Las Vegas, Huawei officials said the company's Cloud Managed Network platform is now available for testing by managed service providers, and that the offering will support public and private clouds. It will be available to enterprises through managed services providers, according to officials.

The company's Cloud Managed Network will include a cloud management platform, a slate of Huawei Agile Network equipment on which the platform will run—including switches, access routers, wireless access points (APs) and firewalls, all of which reportedly be available starting in the first quarter 2017—a cloud-based network management tool and preventative maintenance tool, and a mobile operations and management app.

Networks are under pressure from such trends as mobility, the Internet of things (IoT) and big data for more bandwidth capacity and scalability to address rapidly changing business demands. Solutions such as Huawei's offer the hope of easier management of both wired and wireless networks and the ability to scale as needed.

"IoT, mobility, and cloud are requiring large-scale, on-demand enterprise network expansion," Chang Yue, chief architect of Huawei's switch and enterprise communications product line, said in a statement. "The network-as-a-service (NaaS) architecture, as an enabler for SDN [software-defined networks] and NFV [network-functions virtualization], boosts service agility with highly efficient operations and maintenance, and supports fast service deployment."

Huawei is joining a growing list of vendors that are pulling together similar offerings. Cisco Systems officials last year announced they were expanding the capabilities of the cloud WiFi management technology inherited when the company bought Meraki throughout the IT stack to create what they are calling Cloud Managed IT.

Dell and Aerohive Networks in March unveiled HiveManager NG, a cloud-based unified management solution that enables Aerohive's WiFi management technology to also manage Dell's N-Series switches. In addition, also at Interop 2016, Extreme Networks announced its ExtremeCloud cloud network management platform for an array of Extreme switches and wireless access points. Extreme had soft-launched ExtremeCloud with a single AP last month, though it has had beta customers since January, according to officials.

Huawei will offer its Cloud Managed Network technology via three models. Managed service providers and carriers will be able to buy the platform and deploy it in their own or a third-party public cloud. Also, enterprises will be able to buy the hardware and corresponding licenses—which will be available in the first quarter 2017—for their own private clouds. The third option is through a Huawei-hosted public cloud.

The cloud networking management platform is part of Huawei's larger All Cloud initiative, which officials described last month as an effort to cloud-enable all of the company's products and solutions to help telecommunications companies more easily embrace cloud infrastructures. The Cloud Management Network solution will enable enterprises to more easily migrate their IT infrastructures to the cloud, according to Ma Da, general manager for Huawei's solutions, switch and enterprise communications product line.

"Massive numbers of network nodes can result in complicated network O&M [operation and management] problems to SMBs, campus networks, and IoT deployments," Da said in a statement, adding that the cloud network management offering "delivers elasticity, openness, and service automation, and provides a secure, reliable, unified platform for big data analytics and value-added services."