In 2011, NEC introduced its ProgrammableFlow Networking Suite. It was the first commercially available software-defined network (SDN) product to use the OpenFlow protocol as the NEC OpenFlow ProgrammableFlow Controller. It enabled full network virtualization and empowered enterprises, data centers, and service providers to deploy, control, monitor, and manage multi-tenant network frameworks easily from a single console.
Central to the ProgrammableFlow family of products is the ProgrammableFlow Controller. As an SDN Controller, it acts as the “brains” of the network. It is the strategic control point in the SDN network, relaying information to the switches/routers ‘below’ (via southbound APIs) and the applications and business logic ‘above’ (via northbound APIs). The separation of the control plane from the network’s forwarding plane allows for network-wide virtualization, an important factor in SDN environments.
The ProgrammableFlow Controller, currently on Version 5, is capable of managing both virtual and underlying physical networks. The award-winning controller supports OpenFlow 1.3 protocol, physical and virtual switches, as well as hybrid offerings compatible with both OpenFlow and traditional networks. The ProgrammableFlow Controller also has integrated network and compute orchestration with OpenStack, as well as Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
ProgrammableFlow Controller Background
NEC has a long history with open source. In 2009, it contributed its first SDN Controller, Trema, to the open source community. The next year, early adoption of the ProgrammableFlow Controller began with use of a hybrid OpenFlow switch. In 2011, NEC became a founding member of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), and in 2012, the ProgrammableFlow Controller won its first award, the Best of Show at Interop. In 2013, NEC became a Gold member of the OpenDaylight Project.