IBM is making sure that it isn’t left behind in the rush to get into software-defined networking. The company announced this week the availability of a software-based Programmable Network Controller that leverages the OpenFlow protocol to manage OpenFlow switches.
As we reported earlier this year, IBM and NEC have teamed to push OpenFlow solutions, with IBM’s initial contribution the the RackSwitch G8264 top of rack switch that it released in the fall of 2011.
OpenFlow allows a flow controller to be server-based rather than on a switch. As a result, network managers can treat OpenFlow-enabled switches from different vendors as one switch for a more efficient flow of traffic.
As Network Computing points out, this first network controller from IBM is pricy and obviously aimed at large enterprises.
In a product brochure IBM says the controller software maps physical and virtual traffic flows across any OpenFlow-based data center network environment. Granular policy enforcements ensure secure isolation across multiple tenants, the company says. Policies can direct overall network operations, saving management time and helping to ensure that data center system and network deployments are aligned with business strategy.