Looking to drive software defined network adoption, Pica8 is announcing what it calls the industry’s first open SDN reference architecture, which is intended as a network development platform for cloud providers. “We’re still in the what-doe-it-mean-to-me phase, but everybody is really excited, said Steve Garrison, VP of Marketing. “The data center segment, our market, is really excited… cloud providers, enterprise, service providers, financial markets… (and ) cost is the issue. One of our clients said their OpEx is 90% of their cost.”
While cost is a big issue, there is still a lot of education to be done, he said. “You’ve got to help people understand the value in the technology. One thing we’re hearing is it takes 90-120 days to set up a test bed.” His company wants to change the conversation from how long does it take to set up a test to how do we stimulate the business.
“We’re trying to be the Red Hat of networking… selling Layer 2/3 switches and on top of that leveraging open source tools, said Garrison. “This is really meant to accelerate the ‘aha’ moment of what SDN can do for you.”
Outside of the SDN vendors – current and pending – the ‘aha moment’ is still in its early stages, with sales only expected to reach $200 million next year, according to IDC. However, the market is expected to surge to $2 billion by 2016, and enterprise usage is expected climb from 16% over the next 12 months to 40% within the next 24 months. Vendors jumping on the SDN bandwagon include Arista Networks, Big Switch Networks, Brocade, Cisco, Extreme Networks, Juniper Networks, NEC (and IBM) and VMware (and Nicira).
Pica8’s architecture includes a physical switch, integrated with a hypervisor virtual switch – Open vSwitch (OVS) 1.7.1 – and an SDN controller leveraging the OpenFlow 1.2 standard to communicate between the three components. It combines the OVSwitch the Pica8 OpenFlow 1.2-compliant PicOS operating system, thus integrating with the Ryu 1.4 OpenFlow controller, designed by NTT Laboratories for SDN applications that service providers need.
According to a prepared statement from Brad Casemore, Research Director, Data Center Networks at IDC, cloud service providers are drawn to SDN for its technological, operational, and business benefits. “In offering integrated SDN components, Pica8 and other vendors are trying to make it easier for cloud providers to quickly test, validate, and deploy SDN for cloud-service delivery.”