Four small operators including Telus in Canda, are beta testing the code now. Citrix, F5, Hewlett-Packard and Palo Alto Networks expressed support for the suite.
The Virtual Services Platform (VSP) supports the OpenFlow protocol, an emerging SDN standard. At the Nuage rollout here, AlcaLu said it plans to support OpenFlow on all its routers.
Last year, Cisco announced its One software, a hybrid SDN offering embracing OpenFlow for basic features and supporting Cisco’s IOS and ASICs for more advanced capabilities. Ericsson took a similar approach this year in an announcement at Mobile World Congress. The companies have yet to ship their products.
VSP initially targets data center networks, a market where AlcaLu has limited presence today. Given that fact, its support for a wide array of hardware and open standards is critical for its success, said Jennifer Pig, vice president of research at Yankee Group (Boston). AlcaLu did a good job delivering a hardware-agnostic suite for cloud computing last year, she said.
Ultimately, the company hopes to sell VSP as an enhancement to MPLS-based VPNs for use in its core markets of business and service provider networks. Positioning its product in that direction, AlcaLu’s president of core networks, Basil Alwan, coined it as software-defined VPN.
“MPLS VPNs remain the gold standard in security and performance for major sites, but some remote sites that want to provision networks quickly could use SD-VPN,” he said. The software could “change how VPNs are implemented” in a market he called “a stone’s throw away” from AlcaLu’s current turf but could take several years to develop.