Avaya is rebranding elements of its Fabric technology platform under the new name SDN Fx to capitalize on the growing Software Defined Networking (SDN) trend. SDN Fx includes elements of of Avaya's existing Fabric networking technology as well as new elements that are currently in development, including integration with the OpenDaylight controller.
Randy Cross, senior director of product management at Avaya, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that the "F" in SDN Fx is a nod to Avaya Fabric, while the "x" is about all the variables.
At the core of Avaya's SDN Fx architecture is the Shortest Path Bridging (802.1aq) technology that Avaya engineers have helped develop and standardize. Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) is a replacement for spanning tree and was once positioned as the competitive alternative to TRILL (transparent interconnection for lots of links).
With SDN Fx, the goal is to make it easier to enable SPB networking through a number of different approaches. One of them is an auto-attach mechanism for SPB. The IETF draft for the auto attach approach explains that it pairs 802.1AB Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) with an IEEE 802.1aq Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) network to automatically attach network devices not supporting IEEE 802.1ah (Provider Backbone Bridges) to individual services in a SPB network.
Avaya SDN Fx and Open Source
The auto-attach capability is also set to be integrated in an upcoming release of the open-source Open vSwitch virtual network switch that is part of the mainline Linux kernel. Cross said that as a result, any Open vSwitch user could potentially auto-attach to an SPB fabric.
Additionally, Avaya has worked with the OpenDaylight SDN community to integrate SPB support. The goal is to have Avaya's SDN Fx leverage the OpenDaylight controller underneath the Avaya Fabric controller. OpenDaylight is a multi-stakeholder open-source SDN effort that is run as a Linux Foundation Collaboration project.
"It's a nice marriage of what we can do from a specialization standpoint with service layer APIs and then add all the value of the openness that OpenDaylight provides," Cross said.
Cross explained that Avaya is taking pure open-source OpenDaylight code and then hiding it behind the Avaya user interface.
"We are passing through the OpenDaylight controller's northbound API, and Avaya is also taking advantage of the southbound API where necessary," Cross said. "You can absolutely bring in other vendor technologies that work with OpenDaylight."
Cross added that if an enterprise already has OpenDaylight in its environment then Avaya's SDN Fx will be able to leverage the existing deployment.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.