Pica8 is trying a multitude of tricks to get users hooked on its software for bare-metal switches. It’s already assembled reference design and a starter’s kit. Now it’s giving away free samples. A four-port version of the PicOS operating system is downloadable for free, Pica8 is announcing today.
The trial version is PicOS for a 48-port switch, but with only Ports 1 through 4 activated. The license covers all three varieties of PicOs — switching, routing, and OpenFlow. It’s available through the Pica8 web site.
The trial has no time limit. If four ports is all you need, then you can just take the software and run. “We don’t think that’s that many people,” says Steve Garrison, Pica8 vice president of marketing. “Maybe it’s a guy in a lab — but we’re OK with that, because he’s going to learn.”
Getting people to learn the stuff would be important, because Pica8 is trying to catalyze a spreading-the-word phase. White box switching, like SDN, is trying to broaden its appeal beyond early adopters, but customers in the mainstream aren’t always so keen on, say, loading software onto their own switches.
“This is a litmus test to help us understand more about buying patterns,” Garrison says. Pica8 wants to use gimmicks like the free trial and the starter’s kit to glean more about what spurs customers to buy white-box switches and what barriers to adoption, real or perceived, stand in the way.
Pica8 has not yet gotten the name cachet of a partner like Dell, which announced a deal with Cumulus Networks in January. But Pica8 company claims more than 320 customers and just raised a $12.5 million round of funding.
(Photo: The warrior rabbit in the PicOS logo is based on a real animal called the pika, from whence Pica8 got its name. They posted the story here.)
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