Pica8’s Breakthrough Networking Technologies
Pica8’s breakthrough networking technologies are revolutionizing both ease of use and business return for today’s largest enterprise networks. While the value of white box networking in leaf-spine data center architectures is now well established, delivering that value in a form that’s consumable by the rest of the enterprise — campus and branch-office deployments – required Pica8 to develop both a deep L2/L3 enterprise feature set as well as create two new industry-firsts – CrossFlow™ and PicaPilot™.
When combined with our PICOS® NOS, these two capabilities have made Pica8’s disaggregated white box networks the new gold standard for switch stack and chassis switch upgrades and replacements. First, we massively simplified the deployment and management of modern leaf-spine designs by extracting all the complexity from the basic architecture and flattening it to a single layer with our PicaPilot switch orchestration application. No network expansion restrictions, better reliability and performance are also part of the package. We’re basically showing legacy enterprise switch stacks and chassis switches the door.
What’s more, Pica8 gives you something no other networking vendor of any kind can, which is the ability to run both L2/L3 and “classic” SDN OpenFlow control planes on every switch port in a network at the same time via CrossFlow. With CrossFlow, for example, enterprises can – for the first time – apply granular policy and security updates to any/all ports in their networks, or redirect suspicious flows to analytics or security appliances – all in real time without any interruptions to the networks. (And, yes, all of this is completely compatible with legacy networking infrastructure.)
In short, with PICOS®, enterprise customers can crush their ease of use problems, build in virtually unlimited expansion capability, and improve the reliability, performance and security capabilities of their networks all at the same time. And, in doing so, they’ve also stepped away from any form of vendor-lock and have fully future–proofed their network investment. The fact that these solutions also come with the full economic benefits of the disaggregated white box model is simply a bonus.
Simplified Open Networks Designed to Run the Entire Enterprise
Thanks to Pica8, disaggregated open networking has finally escaped from its birthplace in the data center and is now a viable solution for every corner of the enterprise, from campus to remote offices and the access edge. Pica8’s PICOS® Network Operating System (NOS) enables a revolutionary – and massively simplified — leaf-spine architecture to be deployed all across the enterprise.
The PICOS PicaPilot™ application, the world’s first fully automated white box/brite box switch orchestration software, enables dozens of access- and aggregation-layer switches to look like a completely flat network with a single IP address. It simplifies network operations and allows for seamless, cost-effective upgrades for aging enterprise switch stacks and chassis switches. And of course, PICOS sports a full enterprise feature set backed by global, round-the-clock support.
For IT professionals seeking generational technical advances over their legacy vendors’ products, as well as the ownership cost advantages baked into the disaggregated open white box economic model, the search is over.
Secure, Always-on Access Networks Keep Your Business in Business
Today’s IT applications are the lifeblood of business around the globe. When they’re hacked or unavailable for any reason, revenue stops cold. IT apps literally serve and support every aspect of operations; from marketing products and services, to sales, production, delivery, inventory, collections, payments, accounting and communications with customers.
When a major U.S. mobile carrier elected to refresh its legacy access network infrastructure for thousands of the company’s retail stores in 2017, it decided to look not only at its existing switching/routing vendors but also at open network switch solutions. The company wanted to see just how far disaggregated open networking solutions had progressed and what advantages they might bring to the carrier’s retail business. In the end, it wasn’t much of a contest.
Pica8 was the beneficiary of the carrier’s comprehensive decision-making process with most of the selection criteria strongly tipping in favor of the modern disaggregated hardware/software model. With features like CrossFlow™, the company could implement Open Intent-based Networking, adding software defined network features alongside traditional L2/L3 switch/routing – on the same switch ports. That greatly enhanced security at retail locations, for example, by enabling the company to issue security updates without affecting normal network traffic. (Learn more in this white paper, “An Enterprise Approach to White Box Networking.”)
Monitoring and Analytics
Granular PICOS® Policy Control Mitigates Attacks
Enterprises and service providers alike both need the ability to collect, monitor and analyze the data flowing through their networks and into their server farms.
The leading use case for monitoring and analytics is the speedy detection and remediation of traffic that threatens applications and/or end devices. Other popular real-time monitoring use cases include network performance monitoring, quality of user experience measurement, error detection, network flooding by malfunctioning streaming devices, performance optimization and data consumption billing.
CrossFlow™, a feature built into the PICOS® NOS, enables any (or every) network switch to also function as a software-activated network probe. Packets of interest can be directly mirrored from the switches to a plethora of monitoring tools, typically servers instrumented with threat-specific software. Other security use-case examples include intrusion detection and e-mail- and media-borne virus detection. All without interrupting normal network traffic.
PICOS and CrossFlow eliminate the need for expensive external probe hardware and enable switches to be updated in real time while remaining in operation. It’s Open, Intent-based Networking – a concept Pica8 invented back in 2014 – and it’s available now for the enterprise.
Control Your CDN of the Future Today – with PICOS® and CrossFlow™
TCP/IP-based broadcast content can originate from many sources, including centralized media server complexes; regional content storage caches; studios; live performances; and sports, news and events.
Media content delivery networks (CDNs) have to deliver all that traffic flawlessly, in real time, while also providing features such as ad insertion, alternate audio and caption insertion, caching, emergency announcement override, and tight delivery security to prevent unauthorized content receipt or theft by interception.
Software-defined Open Intent-based Networking enables open network switches to support all of these features – so long as they’re running the Pica8 PICOS® NOS.
CrossFlow™, a feature integrated with PICOS, enables application-based real-time video stream scheduling and management software to control both media servers and switching networks via a centralized OpenFlow-based control plane that talks to a variety of SDN controllers. This capability hands broadcast and cable TV operators unprecedented, labor-efficient flexibility along with content delivery, including providing them an easy migration path to 4K HD video and beyond.