Pica8 Answers The Question Of What Do I Do With SDN

Pica8, one of the software defined networking (SDN) Davids taking on the network and compute Goliaths, has released its Open Data Center Framework that is intended to provide the building blocks toward an eventual transformation to programmable and agile data center networks. Based on OpenFlow 1.2, the framework is designed for cloud and data center service providers looking to fundamentally change how they operate and manage their network.

This announcement will take the industry down a path they want to migrate, said Pica8’s Steve Garrison, VP of Marketing. “The tangible part of the release is that we packaged three use cases, the building blocks to build a truly programmable datacenter fabric: traffic engineering; tunneling; and network TAPs. It answers the question of what do I do with SDN?”

A lot of customers are still uncertain what SDN means, said Garrison. In fact, a new survey found that while 89% organizations are at least discussing software defined networking, but despite the high interest, only 51% could correctly define what it is.

According to IDC, the SDN market will reach $200 million in 2013, but will increase tenfold by 2016, to $2 billion. Another study reports that nearly 25% of the enterprises interviewed have already deployed SDN technology in their data centers, and 33% plan to do so by the end of next year.

“It’s pretty exciting to see so many people aligned to that way of thinking,” said Garrison. And it’s not for SDN, he said, the server model has won, which supports the company’s strategy of blending the conceptual benefits of the server and conventional networking worlds.

“Server best practices are now also driving initiatives for networks, in particular, operations, management and provisioning tasks,” said Seamus Crehan, President of Crehan Research, in a prepared statement. “Pica8’s framework for a programmable network strives to lay the foundation for a “rip and replace” model similar to what is commonplace on the server side.”

By leveraging the framework for more granular application flow management, Pica8 technology enables customers to personalize and abstract the OS from the hardware. This enables service providers to utilize commoditized switches in a similar rip-and-replace fashion to swapping out a white box server, said Garrison.

Last December Pic8 announced what it called the industry’s first open SDN reference architecture, intended as a network development platform for cloud providers. “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.”

The good news is everybody wants to play SDN and transition the industry to a better way to do network management, he said. “It really comes down to the approach. We’ve always been open source.”

The tools and resources for the Open Data Center Framework and an open and programmable data center network mesh are available in Pica8’s software release 1.7 that is generally available on all four of its 1 and 10 GbE open switches.


Author: Steve Wexler

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