AT&T, IBM Research and ACS create faster way to distribute bandwidth in the cloud

Networking - generic

AT&T, IBM and Applied Communication Sciences have teamed up to develop a software-defined networking (SDN) prototype technology that supposedly will give cloud service providers a faster way to access extra bandwidth in case something unexpected happens in their data centers.

A common problem facing a lot of cloud providers is having to deal with changes in performance requirements when a spike in user activity hits or some sort of disaster strikes that causes a cloud server to shut down. In instances like these, providers need to ensure that they can distribute extra bandwidth throughout their data center to handle the slack. The new SDN prototype is basically a powerful resource management system that can coordinate data flow and hand out more bandwidth when needed, the companies said.

The three companies developed the tech as part of the U.S. Government’s DARPA CORONET program, created in 2007 and designed to improve network architecture. To test out the new system, the team of company scientists used the OpenStack cloud as their field of study. The system works with the help of a new IBM cloud platform technology that manages all virtual machine (VM) network applications running on OpenStack software; doing so can help users automatically monitor server load and discover if a server is peaking or going offline. The IBM platform then communicates with AT&T’s SDN wide area network (WAN) orchestrator, which handles all of the data server connection requests and can distribute the appropriate bandwidth when needed.

Once the system was set up, the team recorded setup times of 40 seconds and claimed that they were able to get results in under a second by using advanced reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer (ROADM) equipment, which helps allocate wavelength distribution for increased bandwidth.

Earlier this month, a team of MIT researchers developed their own networking management system called Fastpass that helps data get transferred across networks when periods of heavy traffic cause routers or network nodes to be congested.

Post and thumbnail images courtesy of Shutterstock user Toria.

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