Pica8, Vello Use OpenFlow for Interoperability of SDN Offerings

The two companies are linking Pica8’s PicOS operating system with Vello’s VellOS 7.0 solution, giving users a wider range of SDN options.

Pica8 and Vello Systems are using the OpenFlow software-defined networking protocol to create interoperability between their two offerings.

The two companies announced Sept. 5 that Pica8’s open switching operating system running on a 48x10 Gigabit Ethernet open switch with 40 GbE capabilities is now interoperable with Vello’s VellOS 7.0 operating system. Linking the two is OpenFlow, a foundational protocol for software-defined networking (SDN).

The interoperability shows that Vello can grow its ecosystem and use OpenFlow to unify the optical, Ethernet and virtual forwarding planes via a common open software platform, according to company officials. For its part, Pica8, with support for OpenFlow 1.3 and a Layer 2 and Layer 3 presence, will now be able to leverage its relationship with Vello to offer customers a wider range of SDN options.

The OpenFlow protocol was the key to the interoperability, according to executives with both companies.

“Part of the appeal of OpenFlow is the ability for end users to mix and match equipment to create the lowest cost and highest operational efficiency scenario,” Vello CEO Karl May said in a statement. “However, these IT managers and network operators need to know that this equipment will work seamlessly from the beginning. This achievement then represents a valuable step forward for our customers and the OpenFlow movement as a whole.”

Pica8 co-founder and CEO James Liao said in a statement that the interoperability between the two companies is another proof point in the ability of OpenFlow switches to run robust applications. “Leveraging OpenFlow will facilitate administrative central control while maintaining distributed intelligence to enable local switches to have the decision-making ability needed to suit the particular application and deliver very high service levels,” Liao said.

The interoperability testing enables both companies to add to their portfolios of OpenFlow-compatible switches and operating systems, according to the vendors.

SDN and its cousin, network-functions virtualization (NFV), are garnering attention from vendors and businesses alike with the promise of creating more scalable, programmable and flexible networks by decoupling the network intelligence from the underlying physical hardware and running it in software. Established data center technology vendors are rapidly mapping out their SDN strategies, while a growing number of smaller companies—like Pica8 and Vello—are coming out with their own platforms and solutions.

Pica8’s PicOS is an externally programmable switching OS that runs on bare-metal switches from original design manufacturer (ODM) partners and is targeted at cloud and virtualized data centers that demand flexibility and easy programmability. In December 2012, Pica8 rolled out an SDN reference architecture for cloud service providers.

Vello’s VellOS 7.0 operating system is a way to unify and automate the control and management of the optical, Ethernet and virtual networking planes under a common open software. The Linux-based OS uses RESTful APIs and network policy and control that are implemented through a graphical user interface, which enables users to incorporate any OpenFlow-enabled networking equipment. The result is complete visibility for management and analytics into all network resources, according to company officials.