Palo Alto-based open networking startup Pica 8 today announced an open software defined network (SDN) reference architecture. Designed specifically as a network development platform for cloud providers, this architecture includes a physical switch, integrated with a hypervisor virtual switch and an SDN controller using the OpenFlow 1.2 standard to communicate between the three components.
It has been an extremely busy year for SDN technologies and initiatives, and Pica 8 is looking to take on the challenge of being more open, and avoiding the proprietary path for SDN. With seamless integration with leading and emerging open network protocols, the new reference architecture is best suited for cloud, portal and service providers where the biggest and most dynamic data centers reside today. It combines an Open vSwitch (OVS) 1.7.1 virtual switch, which is licensed under the open source Apache 2.0 license, with the Pica 8 OpenFlow-compliant PicOS operating system. With support for OpenFlow 1.2 the PicOS integrates with the Ryu 1.4 OpenFlow controller, designed by NTT Laboratories specifically for SDN applications for service providers.
“Cloud service providers are drawn to SDN for its technological, operational, and business benefits,” says Brad Casemore, Research Director, Data Center Networks at IDC. “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.”
After several years in stealth mode, Pica 8 has emerged in 2012 with a round A of financing and significant expansion of its executive management team. With sales and support offices worldwide and R&D facilities in Beijing Pica 8 strives to deliver open, flexible and adaptive Ethernet switches. This new reference design was developed on the building blocks that the company has produced to date, with traffic switching, mirroring, filtering and aggregation.
The new reference architecture is the first such demonstrable product tested at the new Pica8 open network architecture lab. 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 applications.