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BLOG: Software-defined infrastructure: Cloud services do SDN one better

Karthikeyan Subramaniam | Oct. 3, 2013
Adara Networks has been selling SDN equipment to service providers for years. Adara's chief software architect explains how SDN's advantages extend across the data center

A true SDI solution should be able to balance all that. It should also simplify the infrastructure provisioning process. In addition, a true SDI solution should be able to provide the interfaces and adapters to leverage the real-time information fed from the customer's services and include them in the infrastructure orchestration and service choreography.

For greater visibility and control, a true SDI solution should be able to use its control plane to gather the information from multivendor and multilayer data planes. It should provide an easy-to-use interface for customers to specify their provisioning and autoscaling policies as workflow. Policy-level, service-level, and physical infrastructure-level visualizations, along with an SLA dashboard, are also critical in enabling the customer to realize the dynamism and value of a true SDI solution.

How Adara built robust SDI
Adara has been building the foundation for SDI for many years. Creating a holistic control plane involves creating hierarchical but decoupled management systems for high levels of scalability and performance.

To manage hundreds of thousands of network elements, Adara employs Multilevel Alert Collectors to identify and filter out the false-positive alarms at the lowest layers. Infrastructure events are filtered at multiple layers, and only action-worthy events are sent to the top-level management tiers. Along with OpenFlow, Adara's Meta-Controller supports industry standard protocols such as SNMP, RMON, TL1, SSH/Telnet CLI, WSDL/Restful APIs, and other proprietary protocols.

Adara's data plane is built on top of a dynamic multipath routing and switching overlay. It provides capabilities such as dynamic QoS, TCP acceleration, and data de-duplication as virtualized network functions. Adara Sirius Routers provide dynamic routing based on available bandwidth and real-time latency. To meet the SLAs of the customer applications, it's very important for the data plane to provide this level of agility. As customers' operational or financial SLAs change, Adara's control plane elements (such as SLA Manager or Orchestration Engine) interact with the data plane elements to make the changes in the switched or routed paths. To minimize bandwidth costs, de-duplication-based compression functions are also used on demand.

Adara SLA Manager provides an interface for administrators to specify the true cost of an infrastructure resource at a granular level. For instance, it lets the administrator specify the cost per bit on a physical interface based on an ISP's SLA (time of day, bandwidth cap, and bursts allowed) and the cost per CPU based on the cloud service provider's SLA. Using the cost settings and monitored infrastructure parameters, Adara SLA manager renders the OPEX Dashboard for the business users to visualize how and where their money is spent and allow them to fine tune it.

Adara provides an orchestration GUI for cloud customers to input their expected infrastructure requirements: predicted number of users, expected response time, priorities of their hosted services, and the daily and/or monthly budget. Adara OE starts with an optimal configuration for the specified requirements. It fine-tunes the infrastructure setup automatically to provide best performance without exceeding the specified budget. OE continually learns and optimizes the configuration based on manual and automated training.


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