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Wired Networks Thread, Software Defined Networking in Technical; Hello All, Is anyone else using Software Defined Networking (SDN) / OpenFlow on their network? We're looking at buying new ...
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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Software Defined Networking

    Hello All,

    Is anyone else using Software Defined Networking (SDN) / OpenFlow on their network? We're looking at buying new core and edge switches, and the edge switches we're looking at (HP 2920s) support OpenFlow but the core (HP A5800) doesn't. Should we aim for snazzy OpenFlow-capable core switches for future-proofing (we're not going to get all new switches again in a hurry)?

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    For now, I actually do not need any openflow based routing control

    Talking about the HP

    - The 2920 is based upon HPīs "Procurve OS", which has OpenFlow 1.0 support.
    - The A5800 is based upon exH3C "Comware OS 5.20", which has no OpenFlow support. OpenFlow 1.3 support has been introduced with "Comware OS version 7.10" on some highend switches, i.e. 11900/12900 I think. "Comware OS 5.20" switches will never see OpenFlow or SPB support. And itīs unclear whether all smaller Comware 5.20 based switches will see an upgrade to Comware version 7.10, i.e. 5120, 5500-SI/EI/HI, 5800, 5820, 5830,...

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    dhicks (17th May 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by snoerre View Post
    For now, I actually do not need any openflow based routing control
    I'm not any kind of networking expert - we currently have unmanged switches on our network, and I'm not up-to-date on the feature sets of various switches and what you'd do with them. A system that lets you write software to re-configure your network appeals more to the way I think, though. Am I right in thinking that we can use software defined networking instead of VLANs and traffic prioritisation for things like VoIP? There's an issue that's just come up in another thread regarding Bonjour broadcast traffic for AirPlay servers on the network - could I do something with software defined networking to limit Bonjour traffic from a particular machine to just a set of specific clients, thus giving me a way to limit access to AirPlay servers?

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    This is quite a big subject and to be fair still in it's infancy. SDN can do alot of things but like everything it's a question of do you "really" need the functionality. Your bonjour issue can be handled by existing network technologies, whether they exist in the HP OS is another matter.

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    Has anyone used Floodlight as a Software Defined Network controller? Can that just run as a virtual machine somewhere, or is it something that needs to run on a bit of super-fast dedicated hardware?

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    Do you really want to start with openflow in a production network right now? (Of course, google uses it. But you canīt buy the "google switch" or the "google openflow controller") I once read a kind of whitepaper about an HP SDN controller. Afterwards, I thought: "Great, but what can I actually do with that one?

    You mentioned the HP A5800 series: This one is really nice for (small/medium) cores: Look at the current release notes: http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bc/docs/su.../c03725788.pdf

    - dynamic routing with Bidirectional Forwarding Detection
    - OSPFv2
    - OSPFv3
    - BGP (IPv4)
    - BGP (IPv6)
    - ISIS (IPv4)
    - ISIS (IPv6)
    - MPLS
    - VPLS
    - Virtual Routing instances with IPv4 unicast and multicast support
    - Virtual Routing instances with IPv6 unicast and multicast support

    What else do you need?

    Try to get them as "HP Renew", yes thatīs refurbished, but with HPīs warranty and less than half of the price you have to pay on the lowest market price, e.g. HP 5800-24G-SFP Switch for ~1800,-€ without VAT!). So the nice thing is, you can get all that "old stuff" for cheap, while you have to pay much more for the cool new gadgets.

    Downside: The A5800 was introduced in 2008. I once watched a small video, where I think it was mentioned that the switch will be supported (softwarewise) for 10 years. Well, it might get some smaller updates (Comware 5.20 based). But all the the nasty features are put into Comware 7.10 and up. So you will probably never see this on that switching series. And of course donīt expect miracles if you want a features request fulfilled...
    Last edited by snoerre; 18th May 2013 at 11:49 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nelsons View Post
    Your bonjour issue can be handled by existing network technologies, whether they exist in the HP OS is another matter.
    Would you be able to give an example of how I could limit Bonjour traffic from a specific machine to a given set of authorised clients? I don't know enough about the feature sets of switches to know where to start looking yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snoerre View Post
    Do you really want to start with openflow in a production network right now?
    I don't know - I figured I don't know anything much about other networking features, so I might just as well start with OpenFlow as anything else.

    You mentioned the HP A5800 series: This one is really nice for (small/medium) cores:
    Indeed - and many thanks to the people at SwitchShop, who have provided me with excellent advice and seem to really know their stuff. Interestingly, I've asked for a price for an OpenFlow-enabled core, and they seem pretty sure there'll only be a minor price difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Has anyone used Floodlight as a Software Defined Network controller? Can that just run as a virtual machine somewhere, or is it something that needs to run on a bit of super-fast dedicated hardware?
    More generally, how, exactly, does the processing for OpenFlow work? Do I write code in some kind of OpenFlow language on a controller, have it compiled to byte code and have it uploaded to the switch (in which case I imagine a low-powered controller is all you need), or do I need a server that can actually replace the backplane of a switch, (so 10GbE network cards to link to the switch as fast as possible and a processor to match)? If the second option, why don't I just get a number of multi-port network cards and make my own switch?

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    I'd check with your local HP Networking rep as more switches should support OF by the end of the year. I don't see any reason why Comware 5 couldn't support OF. The number of flows it supports might be reduced depending on the resources available. Either way I'd double check with your local rep before making a purchasing decision. You never know, you might get lucky and the 5800 will support OF in the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jobuu View Post
    I'd check with your local HP Networking rep as more switches should support OF by the end of the year. I don't see any reason why Comware 5 couldn't support OF. The number of flows it supports might be reduced depending on the resources available. Either way I'd double check with your local rep before making a purchasing decision. You never know, you might get lucky and the 5800 will support OF in the future.
    Hm, it seems we have different HP sales representatives/region manager, which I asked recently about some features, i.e. openflow, SPB, ... on A5500-EI, A5500-HI, A58XX. As far as he could/want to tell me those ones will be put into Comware OS version 7 exclusively and those switches wonīt see that Comware 7 upgrade. (Well, I havenīt signed any NDA with HP, so that could be a reason for this answer...)
    Last edited by snoerre; 27th June 2013 at 07:20 AM.

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