One of the advantages of software-defined networking is that applications are able to control a wide range of network devices, enabling fine control over everything from QoS to security from a single dashboard.
Meru Networks is one of the Wi-Fi equipment makers trying to take advantage of what most industry analysts expect will be a shift towards SDN by having its gear approved to handle the OpenFlow protocol used by some solutions.
On Wednesday it went a step further, announcing Meru Center, a software platform for making discovering and deployment of SDN network apps simpler, and a cloud app store for hosting applications.
“It’s the first application platform designed to help enterprise networks to become more agile and open,” Manish Rai, vice-president of marketing, said in an interview.
“The network needs to be more open, easy to mix and match network solutions and, more importantly, to enable standards-based networks so IT can automate tasks,” he said in explaining why Meru is going in this direction. “IT also wants greater intelligence on the network to troubleshoot problems.”
Meru Center is a dashboard that houses SDN apps and displays their information in a single console. Administrators can switch between apps through tabs.
Center comes with four of Meru’s existing apps, two of which which have been re-named. Until now each had their own console. Cente consolidates them in one dashboard. Meru Center itself is free.
Administrators can try the four for free for 60 days before having to buy licences. They include
–Network Manager (formerly EzRF), for wireless network management
–Meru Connect (Identity Manager) for onboarding devices and guest access
–Service Assurance Manager for troubleshooting
–Spectrum Manager for deep audits and facilitating channel planning
The app store comes with two applications:
–Meru Collaborator for Microsoft Lync (previously announced), which assures high performance and qualify of calls, while giving administrators visibility into the network to troubleshoot.
–Personal Bonjour, which manages Apple’s Bonjour protocol for discovering services. When a wireless device (say, a printer) advertises its availability, the app only sends packets to nearby mobile devices that administrators allow to be registered on the network. It makes Bonjour scalable and secure for the enterprise, Rai said.
Meru is also working with other vendors to develop SDN apps for their products. “We expect next year will be a big year for SDN applications,” he said.