In the last few days, the web has been abuzz with the announcement from IBM and NEC that they’ve collaborated on an SDN demonstration. In the announcement, IBM and NEC have certified that NEC’s OpenFlow controller, the NEC PF6800, and IBM’s switch model G8264 interoperate.
IBM is not OEMing or reselling the controller, and NEC already has its own OpenFlow-enabled switches. Regardless, the announcement is significant in that two industry giants are throwing significant weight behind OpenFlow.
A few excerpts from some of the more prominent articles on the web for IBM and NEC:
…The companies said three organizations are currently using their combined OpenFlow system to handle Big Data, global trading, risk analysis, e-commerce and for evaluation purposes. Tervela, a global data transport company, is using the IBM/NEC system to ensure predictable performance of Big Data for business environments such as global trading and e-commerce. …
Network World Blog posting by Jon Oltsik
…To me, this is bigger than just a press release and some joint marketing programs. Here’s why:
1. IBM and NEC are moving OpenFlow beyond academic labs and cloud computing theory, taking their joint solution to enterprise data centers. Yes, enterprises need to be educated on SDN and its benefits, but the use case for OpenFlow is certainly there since legacy networks can’t keep up with growing data scale or virtual server mobility….
…Using OpenFlow on NEC’s Programmable Flow Controller, Selerity was able to move the forwarding decision off the servers and firewall/switch layer into an OpenFlow-controlled network. Using flow rules defined once on the Programmable Flow Controller, the UDP packets coming from Selerity’s servers are rewritten, added to a multicast group and forwarded to the destination ports corresponding with individual customers in a few micro-seconds. Selerity ensures that the correct data goes only to intended customers and that all of the customers receive the data at the same time. Selerity was also able to easily add more redundancy to its delivery network since an OpenFlow network isn’t hobbled by Ethernet constraints like having a loop-free network….
…Stewart Raphael, who used to be vice president of sales for BNT down on Wall Street, and who is now in charge of business development for the IBM’s System Networking division, tells El Reg that depending on the size and complexity of the switches, the OpenFlow controller sold by NEC as either a hardware appliance or as a software appliance that runs atop SUSE Linux that can handle 15 or more switches. The OpenFlow chatter from the controller out to the switches has very small message sizes, so there isn’t much overhead on the network to pull the control plane out of the boxes….