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Discover how to use the next generation cloud network to create disruptive networking innovations for Defense applications

Bellridge Pty Limited is an Australian company that has been supporting organisations throughout the pacific with enterprise-wide security solutions for almost twenty years. Our experience with a range of consultants and cisos from government departments, publically traded giants and emerging enterprise; has allowed us to develop a suite of software and hardware applications to tackle the ever-changing, always sophisticated security technology landscape.

The Defense and Government security sectors have long depended on proprietary communications systems, developed specifically for their use to create purpose-built systems that met their exacting standards, by driving the development with the best technology available. However, as societies become more digitalized, the pace of innovation and the competitiveness of Commercial-Off-The Shelf (COTS) telecommunications technologies have dramatically improved. With more affordable state-of-the-art capabilities, they have now become a viable option for the Defense community to use when going through an in-depth digital transformation.

Cloud infrastructure is the key to defense digitization 

With the development of the network-centric warfare concept, as well as to gain efficiency in their day-to-day operations, Defense agencies have embraced a broad digital transformation of their activities. The key to supporting this evolution was the roll out of big data center infrastructures a decade ago where the latest virtualization technologies were leveraged to compute and store information optimally.

While these data centers have been proved to be extremely effective, with recent events such as the Covid-19 pandemic driving the increased need for remote working, they are no longer suited to support what the cloud needs in scalability and agility. Additionally, with new technologies such as 5G and Internet of Things (IoT), the pace of digitalization of defense agencies is accelerating for many different reasons: improving situational awareness, the logistics chain, personnel training, and military base operations, just to name a few domains. This further strains the data center infrastructures.

As a result, Defense departments, need to gather, process, and analyze a huge amount of local and centralized information. This requirement demands a massively distributed and dynamic cloud computing architecture to support this in an optimal way.

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Get the most of your cloud infrastructure with next gen data center networking

This new cloud infrastructure needs to be based on an equally agile data center fabric, to dynamically interconnect compute resources together as workload needs change. New compute resources can be instantiated in minutes, but it can take hours or even days, to configure the current generation of data center fabric to connect them all. If the fabric cannot adapt to workload changes, the applications will underperform, which means some missions could ultimately be put at risk.

To tackle these challenges, a third generation (Gen 3) of the data center network architecture is emerging in this era of automation.

//  Figure1: The 3 generations of data center networks (Fabric) architecture.

Nokia Gen 3 data center fabric embraces a totally open approach, seamlessly integrating the fabric operation with the development and operations (DevOps) environment. This allows for the development of network automation capabilities and other native network applications (NetOps).

Using a high-level intent-based approach (which is a new way to design, build and operate a network that can help automate provisioning and ensure the network is running optimally), IT can formulate an intent framework that considers several different elements. For example, the number of racks and the number of servers per rack as well as application workload intent, such as microservice endpoint locations, quality of service and the security policy required.

All these intents can be used to automate fabric design, deployment and operation by using a fabric and workload automation platform. After deployment, when workload intents change, the fabric can be fine-tuned and pre-validated using the digital twin paradigm, which is a digital replica of a physical entity. By using this intent-based approach, network automation can be achieved, to unleash the full power of cloud computing.

Speed is a key advantage in command and control and decision-making in volatile situations. Applications that enable these decisions require best of breed data center fabric technology. To maintain this strategic advantage, it is recommended that many data centers from Defense organizations move to a Gen 3 architecture.

Click on: Data center fabric solution to learn more about Nokia latest data center networking solution.

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