Ericsson to use Mirantis' OpenStack software, while Cisco offers new twist on SDN

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) has reportedly signed on to use OpenStack-based software from a Silicon Valley startup, while Cisco is pushing for industry adoption of its unique approach to software-defined networking (SDN).

According to The Wall Street Journal, Ericsson will standardize upon OpenStack software from Mirantis, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., as the software foundation for its telecommunications network, internal data centers and cloud computing services. Among other things, Mirantis OpenStack will replace software from VMware that has been used to manage Ericsson's computing infrastructure.

The article cited "a person familiar with the matter," who said the software licensing deal between Ericsson and Mirantis extends for five years and has an estimated value of $30 million.

This could be the largest licensing deal for OpenStack, an open-source software for building private and public clouds. Mirantis' commercial version of the software includes technology, integration, training and support.

Mirantis, founded in 2011, has raised $20 million from investors, which include Ericsson, as well as Intel Capital, Red Hat, SAP Ventures and Dell Ventures.

In other news, Cisco continues pushing a policy-based approach to SDN based upon an Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) in the data center. And as part of that push, Cisco and its partners introduced a southbound protocol called OpFlex.

OpFlex is being seen as the "anti-OpenFlow," referring to the Open Networking Foundation's protocol for SDN. ONF was launched in 2011 by Deutsche Telekom, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and Yahoo.

As explained by Light Reading, OpFlex is based upon "promise theory," also known as declarative network control, wherein a policy manager dictates the network end state to intelligent network devices that execute that policy. This differs from the imperative control favored by OpenFlow, which relies upon a centralized controller dictating instructions to unintelligent "white boxes" on the network.

Cisco said industry partners adopting OpFlex include Canonical, Citrix, Microsoft (notably an ONF founder) and Red Hat, which will jointly support OpFlex-enabled virtual switches and extend the Cisco ACI policy framework in their virtual environments. Network services vendors such as Avi Networks, Citrix, Embrane and F5 Networks will ship an OpFlex agent with their appliances.

Cisco is proposing industry standardization of OpFlex with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). In addition, open-source SDN controller OpenDaylight will offer an ACI-compatible policy model in its upcoming Helium release.

For more:
- see this Wall Street Journal article
- see this Cisco release
- see this SDN Central article
- see this Light Reading article
- see this eWeek article

Related articles:
ETSI, ONF collaborating on SDN support of NFV
ONF envisioning a more wireless-friendly OpenFlow
Open Networking Foundation extending OpenFlow SDN to wireless, mobile