TMCnet News

NEC Develops Network Technology Supporting Server Virtualization using OpenFlow; Improves Communication Efficiency More than 10 Times
[March 13, 2011]

NEC Develops Network Technology Supporting Server Virtualization using OpenFlow; Improves Communication Efficiency More than 10 Times

(Japan Corporate News Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Tokyo, Mar 11, 2011 - (JCN Newswire) - NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) announced today the development of technology that improves the OpenFlow(1) communication efficiency of virtualized servers that accommodate virtual machines (VM)(2) by more than 10 times when compared to existing technology.

OpenFlow defines "flow" as a unit of communication in a network. By controlling communication in flow granularity, OpenFlow enables fine-grained routing and quality control. OpenFlow is a new generation networking technology that enables control of IT and networking by separating network control processes from switches to control servers and flexibly implementing them in software.

This newly developed technology is provided as software that directs flow to the most appropriate virtual machines on a virtual server by using Solarflare SFN5122F Dual-Port SFP+ 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) server adapters that support communications in flow granularity. This technology improves communication efficiency by more than 10 times by improving throughput by more than 3 times (at least 10 Gbps), and by improving CPU utilization by approximately one third when compared with current communication methods using 10GbE server adapters that do not support communications in flow granularity.

Until now, all communications were forwarded by software on servers, which made acceleration difficult. This new technology accelerates communications by using "cut-through," a technique for switching VM communication paths from the software forwarding path to a direct access path between VMs and NICs, and eliminating the software forwarding process when possible. Greater acceleration and improved efficiency were both achieved by combining this technology with Solarflare's flow compatible NIC.

As the deployment of cloud computing continues to expand, the improvement of data center efficiency and performance has become a greater challenge. In this environment, cloud services of the future will require fine grained network control and management functionalities in order to provide high quality and secure services.

To meet these requirements, technologies such as server virtualization that provides multiple virtual server environments on a single real server, and virtual switching that connects virtual servers to networks, are used. However, these technologies brought about issues with the performance and efficiency of communications.

To resolve these issues, NEC promoted both the acceleration and improved efficiency of servers that use OpenFlow in order to support the larger scale and advanced cloud infrastructure of the future. Additionally, this technology contributes to improving the efficiency of networks that support cloud services.

NEC will continue to actively promote the development of virtualization and acceleration technologies for networking, and the products that use them.

This work was partly supported by the Japan Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) as part of the program for R&D on Green Network Basic Technology.

Comment from Bruce Tolley, VP of solution marketing at Solarflare: "We are proud of our contributions to this software development and technology demonstration through our work with NEC as an 10GbE server adapter vendor. Solarflare's support for OpenFlow will increase the throughput of switched traffic between virtual machines two to three fold. We look forward to promoting new development and providing high-performance server adapters that enable OpenFlow and flow controlling technologies." Comment from Simon Crosby, CTO, Datacenter and Cloud Division, Citrix Systems: "OpenFlow is a great reminder of the incredible power of open source. It aligns the interests of numerous vendors around common architecture and interfaces, commoditizes legacy architectures and accelerates the pace of development. For example, Citrix XenServer includes the OpenVSwitch technology, which we use to deliver our Distributed Virtual Switching (DVS) capability. Using OpenFlow, the DVS creates an integrated network fabric that enables seamless management of on-premise and off-premise resources. The OpenFlow interface allows multiple vendors to deliver value-added products on top of XenServer to meet key customer needs for private, hybrid and cloud computing. We appreciate and look forward to working with this newly developed technology, which accelerates communication performance of XenServer and DVS.

(1) OpenFlow Technologies and interface specifications that are defined by the OpenFlow Consortium, which was founded in 2008 and led by Stanford University in the United States. NEC has been a member since the consortium's establishment.

(2) Virtualization / Virtual Machines Virtual machines are virtual computers that are implemented using server virtualization technologies that logically divide single real computers into multiple computer partitions on which different OS and applications can be executed.

About Solarflare Communications Solarflare is the pioneer in high-performance, low-latency 10GbE server I/O solutions. Our architectural approach combines hardware and software to deliver high-performance adapter products and application acceleration middleware for superior performance in a wide range of applications, including financial services, high performance computing (HPC), cloud computing, storage and virtualized data centers. Our products are used globally by many of the world's largest companies, and are available from leading distributors and value-added resellers, as well as from Dell and HP. Solarflare is headquartered in Irvine, California, has an R&D site in Cambridge, UK.

About Citrix Systems Citrix Systems ("Citrix") is a leading provider of virtual computing solutions that help companies deliver IT as an on-demand service. Founded in 1989, Citrix combines virtualization, networking, and cloud computing technologies into a full portfolio of products that enable virtual workstyles for users and virtual datacenters for IT. More than 230,000 organizations worldwide rely on Citrix to help them build simpler and more cost-effective IT environments. Citrix partners with more than 10,000 companies in more than 100 countries. Annual revenue in 2010 was $1.87 billion. For more information on Citrix, visit

About NEC Corporation NEC Corporation (TSE: 6701) is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. By providing a combination of products and solutions that cross utilize the company's experience and global resources, NEC's advanced technologies meet the complex and ever-changing needs of its customers. NEC brings more than 100 years of expertise in technological innovation to empower people, businesses and society. For more information, visit NEC at

Contact:Joseph Jasper NEC Corporation +81-3-3798-6511 E-Mail: [email protected] 2011 JCN Newswire. All rights reserved.

[ Back To's Homepage ]