Pica8 launched its new capability for software-defined networking (SDN) today. CrossFlow Networking, a feature of version 2.4 of the company’s PicOS operating system for white box switching, lets users run traditional Layer 2 and Layer 3 protocols alongside OpenFlow, all on the same switch at the same time.
Ideally, this would enable users to access the flexibility and agility of SDN without giving up their existing network infrastructure. It could also be used to more quickly roll out new services with OpenFlow.
“We are offering a toolkit. CrossFlow doesn’t have one hammer or one screwdriver,” says Pica8 Vice President of Marketing Steve Garrison. “Everybody has different networks and data centers and needs. To say there is only one way to do use SDN is the wrong way to come to market.”
Garrison says that the industry is now at a place where compute and storage methods are “click and go,” but networking requires more effort. Rather than taking days or weeks to deploy a new service with current infrastructure, operators could use OpenFlow policy with CrossFlow to cut time to service to seconds or minutes, he says.
CrossFlow’s use of OpenFlow also allows users to stitch in a unique path for a specific application, says Garrison. It can do this by either fine-tuning or overriding the routing or switching tables in the switch with a policy prompting specific network action.
“By allowing CrossFlow to trigger specific behavior in the FIB/RIB through OpenFlow, we give you the granular control to allow a specific policy to change behavior,” said Garrison. “And we don’t disrupt your existing topology to enable this level of control.”