This post is also available in: Japanese
IBM gave SDNCentral a preview into their SDN strategies earlier this week, including announcing the release of the IBM Programable Network Controller (or IBM SDN Controller) in Q4 2012.
For those who are too young to remember — IBM owned the networking market until they exited by selling their networking business to Cisco
in the ’90′s as IP
was taking over technologies such as Token Ring
. IBM re-entered networking with an acquisition of Blade Network Technologies a few years back and has been working hard to re-build networking DNA into the company.
Today’s announcement of the IBM System Networking Programmable Network Controller is a nice proof point to SDN Mythbuster #1 we busted in our post earlier this week.
While we haven’t installed the IBM Controller in our environment yet (we hope to soon!) — we do have experience implementing SDN Controllers
. At SDNCentral, we have a lab dedicated to run use case and ‘customer readiness’ testing. For example, we have a team of killer TMEs and SE’s who staff our lab to test popular controllers for enterprise and service providers as an independent assessment as to how ‘ready’ specific controllers and applications are for production deployments (i.e. how easy is to install, does it work with existing management tools, does it meet security requirements, etc). For example, as part of this work – we’ve downloaded, compiled, and tested Floodlight
(and just about every other open source Controller) somewhere between 10 – 20 times and connected them to publicly available, shipping OpenFlow enabled switches / vSwitches. (contact us
to learn more about these services). Even without playing with the IBM Controller — one of the biggest benefits of the IBM offering isn’t prompted by their marketing folks — which is global service and support.
What does this mean?
- Customers: There’s now an SDN controller from a supplier trusted by the biggest service providers and enterprises which should accelerate adoption. One open question is, is this a controller IBM developed or a controller OEM’d from another vendor. Buyers should press their vendors for details on this topic as networking OEMs have a long history of being temporary marriages of convenience when the products are strategic control points — ask customers who lived through the SynOptics OEM of the Cisco 2500 or Nortel’s OEM of Airspace. It was those early adopter customers who paid the price by having to replace those technologies when those marriages ended.
- IBM: IBM is leveraging their vast software experience to enter a new market. Frankly, it’s quite remarkable they have a controller so early in the market evolution (unless it’s OEM’d).
- Controller Startups: This is the start of your competition getting both real and focused. Focus to get enough end customer traction to justify that lofty valuation and cast a weary eye to prospective OEM partners who maybe building their own while OEM’ing yours.
- Application Developers: The fight for developers is ‘on’. Cisco has onePK, Arista hired Tom Black, Juniper is considering open source; Big Switch is wooing developers with their open source controller. IBM didn’t say anything about developers to us — which was interesting by omission. IBM is one of the most developer friendly organizations (think Linux) who’ve given to the open source community when market was mature enough. Before you decide to write your app on current open source initiatives, like Floodlight, consider developing in the IBM, Cisco, (maybe Arista) ecosystem(s) or adding a few OpenFlow hooks to your existing platform.
- Open Source: IBM has the market power, product capabilities, and history to surprise us with a viable open source option under the right market conditions.
Below are specific deals provided to SDNCentral by IBM.
See other IBM SDNCentral Coverage:
IBM delivers scalable, virtual networks with new OpenFlow controller
Harnessing Software Defined Networking (SDN) to Build Agile Data Centers
IBM now (as of 3 October 2012) provides a complete OpenFlow solution with the addition of a software defined networking (SDN) controller to its enterprise networking portfolio. The new IBM System Networking Programmable Network Controller provides intelligent software using the OpenFlow standard for the IBM RackSwitch G8264 and other OpenFlow-enabled switches. Using OpenFlow, clients can create virtual networks with the scalability and flexibility required to respond to changes in cloud and mobile services environments.
“Industry pundits are calling software defined networking the most exciting and disruptive networking technology in decades,” said Vice President of IBM System Networking Vikram Mehta. “Just as IBM was first to market with a 10/40GbE OpenFlow-enabled switch, IBM is now leading the market with a complete SDN OpenFlow solution for the agile data center. By aggressively adopting, and contributing to, this new design paradigm, IBM is again demonstrating its commitment to innovation in order to meet and exceed customers’ needs for increased IT and business efficiency, competitiveness and creativity.”
“Customers tell us that IBM’s focus on interoperability and standards enables them to significantly reduce cost and time-to-value by increasing their networking intelligence,” said IBM Fellow and System Networking CTO Renato Recio. “Now that SDN and OpenFlow are not just for research institutions anymore; financial services, software companies, cloud providers and web enterprises are increasingly adopting these new technologies to provide more consistent, improved performance and better control of their network. SDN provides the ability to build the networks that today’s dynamic data centers require for the delivery of competitive services while building a foundation that can continue to add value as needs increase.”
The IBM Programmable Network Controller
The IBM Programmable Network Controller provides an OpenFlow-based network fabric with centralized control of network flows and virtual machine mobility.
Automatic discovery: The controller continuously discovers the OpenFlow network topology and maps physical and virtual traffic flows across an OpenFlow-based data center network environment.
Network partitioning: The controller helps provide a highly reliable, edge-to-edge system network fabric partitioned for multi-tenant environments. Granular policy enforcements ensure secure isolation.
Policy-based Management: Administrators can deploy policies that direct overall network operations, saving management time and helping to ensure that data center system and network deployments are aligned with business strategy.
This new capability enables clients to:
• Dramatically simplify what is a very complex and expensive management task today.
• Squeeze out costs from network administration.
• Mitigate business risk with flexible controls and management of network flows based on business policy.
• Deploy a “pay as you grow” scalable fabric that can be cost-effectively implemented with immediate benefits, accelerating time-to-market.
• Use all resources efficiently.