Netsocket, a 6-year-old startup that has made its name with technology that detects problems with unified communications systems, is now turning its attention to the burgeoning software-defined networking market.
Company officials on July 8 unveiled the Netsocket Virtual Network (NVN) suite of products aimed at the network virtualization and software-defined network (SDN) spaces. The technology is designed to enable businesses to create more automated, flexible networks while driving down their operating and capital expenses.
NVN also reveals what Netsocket officials were hinting at in April, when the company announced $9.2 million in funding to drive a new solution around SDN that would be introduced in the summer. In a statement at the time, President and CEO John White noted the company's experience in the unified communications (UC) service assurance solutions space with its Cloud Experience Manager.
"We plan to apply that same innovation and focused vision to the SDN market, which we expect to experience explosive growth this year," White said.
The result is NVN, the latest addition to a rapidly growing market of SDN products, solutions and platforms from a range of vendors, including established players like Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Juniper Networks and Brocade, as well as startups like Big Switch Networks and Plexxi, that are flooding the market. SDN holds the promise of creating more flexible, automated and programmable networks by separating network functions from the underlying physical hardware and housing them in software.
It also can help drive down networking costs by eliminating the need for more expensive switches and routers.
As more business moves to the cloud and virtualization spreads through servers and storage products, networking—with its complex hardware and manual operations—has been seen as the bottleneck in creating highly automated, dynamic and scalable data center infrastructures. SDN and network-function virtualization (NFV) are designed to bring networking to the same level as servers and storage.
"The Netsocket Virtual Network possesses a three-tiered SDN architecture that focuses on three important factors that have to be addressed to meet the needs of the cloud: functionality, management and integration," Tricia Hosek, vice president of products and marketing at Netsocket, wrote in a post on the company's blog.
Included in Netsocket's offering, aimed at enterprises and service providers, are the vFlowController and vFlowSwitch, both of which run on Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization technology. The vFlowController can interoperate with legacy networks through three components: vRouter, vTunnel (for VPN capabilities) and vFirewall (for security). Those components are provided for free, according to Netsocket officials.
NVN also includes two applications. The company's vNetCommander software brings centralized management, handling such tasks as the automated installation, provisioning and orchestration of the network. At the same time, vNetOptimizer is a virtualized version of the company's Cloud Experience Manager, which will offer real-time network services, including analytics, automation and optimization.
The software can run on commodity x86 virtual servers—while it runs now on Hyper-V, support for other platforms, such as VMware, reportedly will come later. It also will enable organizations to move away from proprietary routers and Layer 3 switches to less expensive layer 2 switches and commodity servers, reducing operating and capital costs savings while adding flexibility and agility, the officials said.
"NVN provides end-to-end virtual networking from even the smallest remote branch office all the way up through the data center; network automation such as unified network management, real-time network services analytics and intelligent network remediation; and interoperability and integration with legacy routed networks and higher-level management systems such as Microsoft System Center," Netsocket's Hosek wrote.
Netsocket officials also announced the availability of its Virtual Network Early Experience Edition, which includes the vFlowController, vFlowSwitch and the vNetCommander-BASIC applications, which enables organizations to spin up small networks in a matter of minutes. The Early Experience Edition can be downloaded for free at www.virtualnetwork.com.