Intel’s SRv6-based end-to-end network solution empowers flexible SD-WAN applications

In the cloud era where new businesses and new demands are constantly emerging, enterprise cloud access is the only way for digital transformation. In order to help more enterprises go to the cloud, China Mobile has provided powerful cloud service capabilities and innovated for the improvement of cloud service capabilities. Previously, China Mobile’s main products for cloud migration were dedicated lines based on the Underlay network, which had high value, high performance, and a long activation process. However, the existing SD-WAN is a virtual network based on pure Overlay, which can be opened quickly but its performance is difficult to guarantee. To this end, China Mobile has launched flexible SD-WAN and released the “China Mobile Flexible SD-WAN Technical White Paper” in November 2020.

What are the technical advantages of elastic SD-WAN and how does it improve China Mobile’s cloud service capabilities? In order to gain a deeper understanding of elastic SD-WAN, All Media of Communications World organized the “Intel SRv6-based End-to-End Network Solution Empowering Elastic SD-WAN Application Practice” salon. The salon invited China Mobile expert Yang Feng and Intel expert Lei Yi to go deeper. Discuss how flexible SD-WAN can help China Mobile’s cloud service capabilities improve.

Intel’s SRv6-based end-to-end network solution empowers flexible SD-WAN applications

Elastic SD-WAN meets the needs of enterprises to go to the cloud in the new situation

The traditional enterprise wide area network is a private enterprise network that solves the interconnection and intercommunication between the headquarters, data centers, branches, offices, and mobile offices at all levels of the headquarters, data centers, branches, offices, and mobile offices by renting operator links or self-built links. In recent years, the digital transformation of enterprises and the trend of economic globalization have continued to evolve. Under the new situation, enterprise WANs are facing a series of new challenges in terms of networking, application experience assurance, and security.

“Traditional access networks, backbone networks, and other chimney-like developments are no longer suitable for the needs of enterprises to go to the cloud, and it is necessary to provide customers with products that connect the edge of the cloud and the network.” Yang Feng said. China Mobile has adopted flexible SD-WAN technology to enhance the cloud access capabilities of traditional enterprises. Elastic SD-WAN aims to use SRv6 technology, based on the openness of physical network capabilities and cloud service capabilities, to achieve the integration of cloud and network capabilities at the overlay layer to provide network plus cloud product services, and provide different SLA guarantees for each application. Different value-added business services, so as to achieve network on-demand customization, can provide low-latency dedicated line products with SLA guarantee, and products with delay-insensitive large-bandwidth services, and can be precisely customized for subdivided needs.

Traditional private lines are very expensive, and it is difficult for small and micro enterprises to purchase private lines. Flexible SD-WAN can make up for this gap. For example, in branch stores or small and micro scenarios of large enterprises, only CPE can be deployed in the store to realize the store and headquarters. Interconnection.

“After experiencing the hybrid SD-WAN (2.0 era) of the Internet (1.0 era) and Internet + dedicated line combination, SD-WAN has now developed into the 3.0 era of flexible SD-WAN. In the past, networks were built based on the shortest path, so from the end Congestion will inevitably occur in the data center. If the end-to-end network can be combined according to business needs by combining different segments of the path, and encapsulated into an end-to-cloud network with different capabilities, then different business capabilities can be connected based on one network. Products: In addition to connection customization, different cloud services can be combined to integrate cloud services, such as application acceleration and firewall. This is the value of combining flexible SD-WAN with existing network applications.” Feng Yang concluded.

Flexible SD-WAN overall architecture

China Mobile’s flexible SD-WAN solution realizes the combination of SD-WAN and SRv6, becoming the industry’s first. Classified according to customer types, flexible SD-WAN solutions are divided into two application scenarios for large enterprises and small, medium and micro enterprises. Each application scenario includes three business types: Internet access, cloud access, and branch interconnection. As an important supplement to government-enterprise dedicated line products, SD-WAN can significantly enhance the ability of operators to differentiate services between government and enterprise, laying a good foundation for winning the blue ocean market for government and enterprise.

Intel and China Mobile conduct flexible SD-WAN lab testing

Intel’s end-to-end network solution based on SRv6 has made important contributions to the promotion of flexible SD-WAN application practices. “Operator networks are gradually being virtualized. For example, the control plane of the core network has been virtualized, and unified control of the platform based on the communication server has been realized. At the same time, domestic and foreign operators have cloudified the data plane and the RAN side. The edge cloud is also implementing virtualization deployment.” Lei Yi said. The demand for value-added services on the enterprise or client side of operators continues to grow, and there is a demand for value-added capabilities from the client to the network, and there is a strong demand for cloud access. Therefore, under current network conditions, how to achieve unified management of end-side cloud network from underlay to overlay based on SRv6 from access network to transport network is an urgent problem to be solved. Intel server and accelerator products help operators’ network work efficiency to continue to improve. Intel announced that it has begun production of the third generation Intel? Xeon? Scalable processors (code-named “Ice Lake”) will be mass-produced in the first quarter of 2021.

In October 2020, China Mobile and Intel conducted a flexible SD-WAN test verification, based on Xeon servers and N3000 accelerators to achieve an SRv6 multi-hop environment. The test verification scenario includes two aspects: one is basic function verification, which verifies end-to-end flexible SD-WAN forwarding; the other is server performance verification, which verifies the server’s FPGA-accelerated SRv6 forwarding capabilities. The experiment simulated the loop from the client device to the cloud multi-hop SRv6 routing network and then to the CPE device in a real network through a simple laboratory environment. Intel and China Mobile are planning how to improve laboratory functions, achieve business chain function standardization and enrich control plane functions. In the future, both parties will further study business chain functions based on SRv6 capabilities, and use unified SRv6 technology to explore SD-WAN converged cloud, Key technologies for network capabilities.

Proof-of-concept scenario

The future evolution trend of resilient SD-WAN

How will elastic SD-WAN evolve in the future? How will China Mobile promote the maturity of the flexible SD-WAN industry in the future? In response to these problems, Feng Yang said that elastic SD-WAN is still in the prototype stage. From a product point of view, the function of the forwarding plane has been perfected, and the end-to-end connection has been achieved. Next, not only should network resources be opened, but also Open the computing capabilities of cloud resources, such as firewall or FEC error correction for video services, and generalized acceleration capabilities. These capabilities are made into cloud services, and the transformation from providing resources to providing services, such as when the business requires a firewall, passes through the coding path Combine the cloud with the network through a firewall. In the future, China Mobile will be guided by standards and specifications, and continue to promote the maturity of flexible SD-WAN standards through early product research and development and exploration.

The future network will be a network with open capabilities, and business innovation will be based on the capability integration of the network and cloud infrastructure. Elastic SD-WAN integrates end, edge, cloud, and network resources from the perspective of Overlay on the one hand, so that cloud and network resources can synergize to show the greatest value; on the other hand, it provides application openness and provides end-to-end cloud-network integration for applications. Products provide new kinetic energy for wide area networks.

As an important partner of China Mobile’s flexible SD-WAN, Intel will provide end-to-end capabilities in the future to support China Mobile’s innovative needs based on x86 processors with an ecosystem partner. In the future, Intel will work with partners to support the industrialization of SRv6, and further improve product features through laboratory tests in the edge cloud scenario. Use SID to save IPv6 overhead to optimize network resources. Second, in the control plane, adapt to the requirements of China Mobile for the flexible SD-WAN standard, and improve the control plane interfaces and standards. Intel? Xeon? Processors, FPGA accelerators and SD-WAN solutions help China Mobile’s flexible SD-WAN industry mature.

In the future, with the accelerated deployment of IPv6 in my country, the rapid deployment of SRv6 has become a general trend. China Mobile fully realizes that combining the network supply-side capabilities of SRv6 with the application-side requirements of SD-WAN will bring great value, and through cooperation with Intel and other vendors , To jointly promote the maturity of flexible SD-WAN solutions in terms of plan formulation and test verification. With the gradual deepening of SD-WAN deployment, it is believed that elastic SD-WAN will better serve more enterprises to go to the cloud, better help enterprises realize digital transformation, and help digital “new infrastructure”.

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