The problem with leading edge technology is that it’s leading edge – sometimes the idea is sound but the parts aren’t all there.
As a result, there are lots of followers and few leaders willing to take risks with a new concept.
Big Switch Networks, a startup aimed at advancing software defined networking (SDN), thinks it can make enterprises more willing to take that risk by unveiling Tuesday what is believed to be the first open standards-based SDN suite.
Sold as downloadable software with a Linux operating system to run on the hardware of the customer’s choice, Its components are
--Big Virtual Switch, a network virtualization application which can dynamically provision virtual network segments;
--Big Network Controller, an application platform with gives unified network intelligence over virtual and physical networks;
--and Big Tap, a network monitor that can scale across virtual networks.
Network equipment companies such as Cisco Systems Inc., Juniper Networks, Brocade Communications, NEC, IBM and others have released SDN application interfaces for controlling their infrastructure, switches or controllers, said Andre Kindness, enterprise networking analyst at Forrester research. But no company has released all three, he said.
“From a technology standpoint they hit the nail on the head on the three components,” he said.
Release of al “will send a shock wave through the industry,” said
In addition, Big Switch announced over 40 physical and hypervisor switch, security cloud orchestration and application partners who have endorsed its approach including Juniper, Brocade, Extreme Networks, F5 Networks, Palo Alto Networks and Citrix.
That is, almost everyone except Cisco.
Support from these network-related companies is essential because a switch and controller alone can’t make an SDN.
Big Switch “went off and did their homework,” said Kindness. “The key is to have that (ecosystem) in their back pocket” to reassure enterprises, he said.
Similarly, Zeus Kerravala, principal of ZK Research, said the partner list is “impressive.” It means Big Switch can offer a broader network strategy than competitors, he said.
Although definitions vary, software defined networking separates a network’s control plane in physical routers and switches into a separate layer that network operators can customize the network for specific applications. Its use is particularly important in data centres where virtual loads shift across servers, virtual servers and virtual networks.