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@CloudExpo Authors: Cloud Best Practices Network, Liz McMillan, Glenn Rossman, Adine Deford, Dennis Griffin

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Open SDN Reference Architecture for Cloud Developers

Pica8 Introduces new reference architecture ideally suited for cloud, portal and service providers

“Cloud service providers are drawn to Software Defined Networking for its technological, operational, and business benefits,” said Brad Casemore, Research Director, Data Center Networks at IDC, as Pica8 Inc. recently announced the industry’s first open SDN reference architecture.

“In offering integrated SDN components, Pica8 and other vendors are trying to make it easier for cloud providers to quickly test, validate, and deploy SDN for cloud-service delivery,” Casemore continued.

Designed specifically as a network development platform for cloud providers, this SDN reference architecture architecture includes Pica8’s physical open switch, integrated with a hypervisor virtual switch and an SDN controller leveraging the OpenFlow 1.2 standard to communicate between the three components.


“The rapidly emerging SDN market is targeting both Enterprise and Cloud/Network service providers; however, today they have different needs. While most enterprise organizations are looking for complete SDN solutions, service providers want an open and flexible network platform to build its own solutions,” said Bob Laliberte, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group. “Pica8 understands this requirement and has developed an innovative and cost effective open network platform to better enable those service providers.”

Because of its seamless integration with leading and emerging open network protocols, the new reference architecture is ideally suited for cloud, portal and service providers where the biggest and most dynamic data centers reside today. The development solution combines the popular Open vSwitch (OVS) 1.7.1 virtual switch with OpenFlow 1.2 implemented in Pica8’s PicOS operating system. OVS has support from many companies and is quickly gaining adoption in cloud environments as well as having integration with OpenStack. Because PicOS supports OpenFlow 1.2, it also integrates with the Ryu 1.4 OpenFlow controller, designed by NTT Laboratories specifically for SDN applications that service providers need.

"The Ryu open source controller helps data centers enjoy the benefits of SDN by providing a platform for the deployment of a wide range of network applications including cloud services," says Fujita Tomonori, RYU chief maintainer, NTT Software Innovation Center. "We are proud to see Ryu being leveraged for cloud services and excited to see Pica8's ongoing work to commercialize NTT Laboratories' efforts and bring value to their customers and partners."

In the coming weeks, Pica8 will continue to test configurations with customers and partners. The testing results will contribute to reference designs that can help the development of cloud-specific SDN applications.

More Stories By Liz McMillan

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