How Cisco, HP, Juniper, Others Are Tackling SDN, OpenFlow
In 2011, Cisco officials said the company will offer OpenFlow support on its Nexus switches, and the networking giant is "spinning in" a new companyInsiemethat will be started by Cisco engineers and funded by Cisco, with Cisco holding the option of buying it if it's successful. Insieme's job is to develop products for SDNs, which Cisco officials have said is an important evolution in networks but encompasses more than simply OpenFlow and the drive to decouple the data and control planesthe switches and routers.
HP has been a proponent of OpenFlow since the onset of its development in 2007, and announced in February that it is providing OpenFlow support on 16 of its switches, such as the HP 3500, 5400 and 8200 series switches. Officials at the time said by the end of 2012, all the switches in their FlexNetwork networking architecture will support OpenFlow. Its new Virtual Application Networks is essentially an SDN effort that virtualizes the network.
Juniper officials in October 2011 announced they were putting OpenFlow into the software developer kit for their JunOS network operating system. Programmers creating applications for JunOS can now leverage OpenFlow version 1.0 in the SDK.
IBM in November 2011 rolled out the OpenFlow-enabled RackSwitch G8264 10 Gigabit Ethernet and 40 Gigabit Ethernet switch. IBM also is partnering with NEC in creating a package that includes IBM OpenFlow-enabled switches, and switches and a controller from NEC that also support OpenFlow.
NEC has been a strong proponent of OpenFlow, creating its ProgrammableFlow networking solution that offers switches like the ProgrammableFlow PF5240 and PF5820 (pictured), as well as the ProgrammableFlow Controller and ProgrammableFlow Management Console.
Dell officials, who have voiced their support for SDNs, are looking to leverage their acquisition of Force10 Networks in 2011 to become a larger player in the networking space. At the Interop 2012 show in May, Dell will demonstrate a number of networking technologies, including products that can interoperate with Big Switch Networks' OpenFlow-enabled SDN controller.
At the Open Networking Summit in April, Extreme officials demonstrated the OpenFlow 1.0 protocol implemented on their Summit Ethernet switches running the ExtremeXOS operating system. Officials also talked about the company conducting OpenFlow customer trials to show how SDN is being applied.
The company has demonstrated two OpenFlow-enabled routers: the MLXe, a modular system that supports both 10GbE and 100GbE ports, and the fixed-form-factor CER router.
NetGear showed off two OpenFlow-enabled switches at Interop 2011, and officials there said that they expect the protocol eventually to expand throughout the company's entire product line.
Arista has outlined what it sees as the four pillars of SDNssingle point of management, single image L2/3 control plane, multi-path active-active data path, and network-wide virtualizationand its Arista EOS as the foundation.
Ericsson Research is doing work around supporting multiprotocol label switching, or MPLS, with OpenFlow, calling it OpenFlowMPLS.
The Chinese networking giant last fall demonstrated its Open Scalable Service Platform (OpenSSP), designed to enhance OpenFlow and enable service innovation on both the control and data planes.
Nicira in February launched its OpenFlow-enabled Network Virtualization Platform. In January, Big Switch Networks unveiled Floodlight, an open-source OpenFlow controller. Vyatta in April rolled out vPlane, a scalable forward plane appliance that can support OpenFlow and other emerging standards.