Elite Chinese University Boosts Core Performance Tenfold and Halves Network Management Costs While Embracing SDN
One of China’s oldest, most prestigious, and selective universities, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), has deployed a new 10 Gbps network backbone spanning its five campuses to accommodate the continued growth of data traffic from academic and administrative systems. The new backbone, which runs on powerful switching routers from Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD), has enabled the university to reduce costs and streamline management by migrating applications that previously ran over separate networks onto a single infrastructure. The Brocade solution also paves the way for SJTU to pursue its interests in Software-Defined Networking (SDN), both at an academic level and as a way to support digital campus service innovation.
Founded by imperial edict in 1896, SJTU became renowned for nurturing China’s top engineers and scientists and, by the 1930s, was referred to as the “Eastern MIT.” Since the late 1970s, SJTU has grown substantially and now also encompasses education in business, law, medicine, life science, and social sciences. Today it has a student population of almost 40,000—more than half of whom are studying for post-graduates degrees—and a faculty of more than 1,900 professors and associate professors, including 15 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and 20 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
“We operate a large and complex network that has to reliably deliver services to tens of thousands of wired and wireless devices across our campuses,” said Rui Xie, director of Network Information at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. “We’ve been using Brocade MLX Series routers in our backbone for the last nine years and they’ve proved to be very robust, so when it came time to select a new generation of infrastructure we looked at Brocade first. The Brocade MLXe routers we recently deployed have enabled us to cut network management costs by 50 percent while increasing core network performance 10 times. They provide us with a solid pathway, based on open standards, into the world of SDN.”
Brocade network engineers worked with SJTU to devise a solution that meet its needs, based around Brocade® MLXe Core Routers. The routers are built with a state-of-the-art, sixth-generation network processor-based architecture and terabit-scale switch fabrics that enable the university to run the backbone at 10 Gbps—with the capability to support 40 and 100 Gbps wire-speed interfaces if and when they are needed. The routers also provide a rich set of high-performance Layer 2/3, IPv4, IPv6, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), wire-speed encryption, and SDN features. MPLS is being used by SJTU to segment the backbone into virtual networks that accommodate different application streams, including campus CCTV and the YiKaTong smart card access system that previously ran on physically separate networks.
“Shanghai Jiao Tong University is one of the pinnacles of higher education in China and is extremely strong in IT-related fields, so we’re naturally proud that it has reaffirmed its confidence in Brocade’s technology by deploying Brocade MLXe routers to support its next-generation backbone,” said Eric Yu, vice president for Greater China, Brocade. “The university has a great deal of interest in SDN, both from an administrative and academic perspective, and we’re expecting to see a lot of SDN-enabled innovation come out of there in the next few years.”
The Brocade MLX® Series enables SDN by supporting the OpenFlow 1.3 protocol that allows communication between an OpenFlow-enabled router and an OpenFlow SDN controller such as the Brocade SDN Controller, which is based on the Linux Foundation’s OpenDaylight project. The Brocade devices support OpenFlow Hybrid Port Mode, which allows SJTU to simultaneously deploy traditional routing with OpenFlow on the same port. This unique capability provides a pragmatic path to SDN by supporting the integration of OpenFlow into existing networks, enabling programmatic control offered by SDN for specific flows while the remaining traffic is routed as before.
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