IBM gave SDxCentral a preview into their SDN strategies earlier this week, including announcing the release of the IBM Programable Network Controller (or IBM SDN Controller) in Q4 2012.
Today’s announcement of the IBM System Networking Programmable Network Controller is a nice proof point to SDN Mythbuster #1 we busted in our post earlier this week.
What does this mean?
- Customers: There’s now an SDN controller from a supplier trusted by the biggest service providers and enterprises which should accelerate adoption. One open question is, is this a controller IBM developed or a controller OEM’d from another vendor. Buyers should press their vendors for details on this topic as networking OEMs have a long history of being temporary marriages of convenience when the products are strategic control points — ask customers who lived through the SynOptics OEM of the Cisco 2500 or Nortel’s OEM of Airspace. It was those early adopter customers who paid the price by having to replace those technologies when those marriages ended.
- IBM: IBM is leveraging their vast software experience to enter a new market. Frankly, it’s quite remarkable they have a controller so early in the market evolution (unless it’s OEM’d).
- Controller Startups: This is the start of your competition getting both real and focused. Focus to get enough end customer traction to justify that lofty valuation and cast a weary eye to prospective OEM partners who maybe building their own while OEM’ing yours.
- Application Developers: The fight for developers is ‘on’. Cisco has onePK, Arista hired Tom Black, Juniper is considering open source; Big Switch is wooing developers with their open source controller. IBM didn’t say anything about developers to us — which was interesting by omission. IBM is one of the most developer friendly organizations (think Linux) who’ve given to the open source community when market was mature enough. Before you decide to write your app on current open source initiatives, like Floodlight, consider developing in the IBM, Cisco, (maybe Arista) ecosystem(s) or adding a few OpenFlow hooks to your existing platform.
- Open Source: IBM has the market power, product capabilities, and history to surprise us with a viable open source option under the right market conditions.
Below are specific deals provided to SDxCentral by IBM.
IBM delivers scalable, virtual networks with new OpenFlow controller