Customer Success Story
Canadian Startups Push the Limits in CENGN’s Cloud
Accelerating innovation is key to a strong economy and national competitiveness, and in Canada, that mission falls to CENGN, the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks. CENGN provides small and medium-sized businesses with cloud-based infrastructure to validate their technology and accelerate the commercialization of their products.
Technology validation projects resulted in the creation jobs and contributed to Canada’s GDP
Faster instantiated services due to programmability and automation
ratio for planned/unplanned activities, enabled innovation
A fully programmable, multisite data center fabric to deliver deterministic performance
“CENGN was set up with a grant from the Canadian federal government to aid the advancement and commercialization of small and medium enterprises,” says Richard Waterhouse, vice president of business development and marketing at CENGN. “CENGN offers infrastructure, expertise, and an ecosystem to help small and medium-size companies commercialize their products or services.”
To support the work of dozens of one-of-a-kind innovators, the CENGN engineering team took a DevOps approach to its cloud platform. It provides OpenStack cloud services, container-based NFVi, and carrier-grade Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). With a network-as-code service, compute, storage, and network resources can be fluidly and immediately available as needed.
“We describe what we do as ‘network crafting,’” says Boris Mimeur, vice president of engineering operations at CENGN. “Modern integration, programmability, and automation have always been our focus.”
To realize its vision for a completely programmable network, CENGN created a fully meshed fabric across its four data center sites. Workloads can move easily to ensure that resources are deterministically available to customers.
The multisite fabric uses industry-standard Ethernet VPN/ Virtual Extensible LAN (EVPN/VXLAN) for the overlay network and Juniper’s QFX Series Switches for the underlay network. The Juniper Networks QFX10000 line of Switches serves as the spine, while Juniper Networks QFX5200 Switch is used for the leaf nodes, working together to provide a scalable and versatile foundation for the cloud test bed. The Juniper Networks MX204 Universal Routing Platform is used at the edge.
CENGN’s multisite data fabric is designed to scale, testing the limits of next-generation AI, analytics, networking, and IoT systems. Network slicing creates a resilient multitenant environment. Companies can run test traffic even at very high loads without impacting the experience of others using the CENGN cloud.
“With a network fabric, we don’t have to worry about the impact of one project’s slice impacting another project,” Mimeur says. “Zero oversubscription is important because many of our customers are performance-testing their products and that can really hammer a network.” A programmable network enables CENGN to flex resources to fit customers’ needs. “We have deterministic and consistent resources across all sites, because of the Juniper underlay network and automation,” Mimeur says.
CENGN also plays an important role in developing the next generation of tech talent. Historically, many graduates from Canadian colleges and universities who have science, technology, engineering, and math degrees opt to work outside the country.“I want our next generation of professionals to interact with the network in a programmatic way,” Mimeur says.
CENGN makes a vital contribution across the nation—and ultimately our interconnected world. It works with technology vendors and communities in the rural and northern Ontario communities to improve residential broadband.
With a steady flow of technology innovators, Mimeur is confident that its cloud infrastructure will scale gracefully and CENGN’s investment is protected. “With an automated and programmable network, migrating to a 400-Gbps fabric spine is an incremental change,” Mimeur says. CENGN will be ready, helping startups innovate and digitally transform the world into a more sustainable place and preparing bright young minds to lead Canada’s technology innovation.
Published April 2020