Pica8 Becomes First Networking Vendor to Support OpenFlow 1.4

With industry-leading protocol support, Pica8 uniquely positioned to help data center and cloud providers transition more seamlessly to SDN

PALO ALTO, CA – April 28, 2014 – Pica8, the leader in open systems for software defined networking (SDN), announced it is the first networking vendor to support OpenFlow version 1.4, which acts as a hardware-software abstraction protocol to communicate between Pica8 switches and their respective controllers. Those controllers then manage the switch via the OpenFlow protocol. By supporting OpenFlow 1.4, Pica8 has extended its leadership through its unmatched variety of Open Networking switches operating a hardware-agnostic, Linux-based operating system (OS) that provides service providers with a seamless migration path from traditional networking to SDN.

“Bringing the benefits of open networking to market hinges on delivering innovation that helps new implementations 'lift off.' Pica8 has shown awareness of this with its recently-delivered Starter Kits, and continues now with its support for GUI-based configuration of its platforms, accelerating their implementation,” said Paul Parker-Johnson, practice lead, ACG Research. “Delivering on customer-friendly features like this lets users start realizing the benefits of open networking infrastructures quickly. Pica8 continues to demonstrate a knack for providing practical tools that support implementations today, along with continuing investment in delivering leading edge functionality like OpenFlow 1.4 that will open up further advantages of open networking platforms moving forward.”.

“Networks in the cloud and across the Internet have become increasingly complex to architect and manage,” says Brighten Godfrey, assistant professor of computer science at the University of Illinois and collaborator on the project. “SDN is a powerful way to cut through that complexity, allowing our lab to build solutions ranging from real-time verification of network security to novel data center network architectures that improve flexibility and efficiency.”

As SDN continues to gain momentum, network services are not strictly associated with specific physical devices. Pica8 has taken a new approach to help eliminate a barrier to widespread SDN by designing a GUI to help engineers set up OVSDB in OpenvSwitch (OVS). Reconfiguring devices for the environment becomes much easier, to provide true open networking while easing SDN deployment, Pica8’s GUI helps users to program OVS. OVS runs as a process within PicOS™ 2.3, Pica8’s hardware-agnostic operating system, providing the OpenFlow interface for external programmability.

“OpenFlow is important for many data center SDN networks because it facilitates automation by making network traffic flows adjustable under program control,” said Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., directing analyst, data center and cloud, Infonetics Research. “Pica8’s first mover advantage with OpenFlow 1.4 gives them a strong position in the fast growing market for programmable networks based upon white box switches.”

“While deploying SDN with white box components has shown great promise, backward compatibility is critical to effectively bridge datacenter applications and drive down costs,” says Lin Du, vice president of engineering at Pica8. “OVS has emerged as a new paradigm in datacenter management, so providing an easy-to-use OVS-based GUI where complexities can be masked without scripts and CLIs is critical to initiate and maintain SDN programmability as cost effectively as possible.”

OpenFlow brings a key degree of maturity including decision hierarchy through “bundling,” which builds a service transaction-like framework, enabling controllers to group a set of OpenFlow actions and commit or rollback the entire group of actions. OpenFlow 1.4 also offers enhancements for redundant controllers as well as more flow monitoring capabilities.

Pica8 has assembled a growing roster of original design manufacturers (ODM) now qualified to operate PicOS™ 2.3 over their hardware including Accton, Alpha Networks, Foxconn and Quanta Computer.

OpenFlow 1.4 support is provided through PicOS 2.3 on all Pica8-qualified white box bare metal switches and is in early access now. PicOS 2.3 can be downloaded here by customers with Premium Support.

About Pica8, Inc.

Since 2009, Pica8 has been transforming the data center by providing the world’s first open switching system, which can be personalized to fit any application environment. A pioneer in the software-defined networking (SDN) revolution, Pica8’s PicOS™, its externally programmable switching operating system runs on commodity, bare-metal switches made by ODM partners to provide the ultimate in cost savings. In a single package, costs are slashed, and customization for the data center becomes a promise fulfilled. Pica8 is a global company headquartered in Palo Alto, California. For more information, visit www.pica8.com.