I was having a quiet Sunday afternoon (well, as quiet can be with two kids under 5 running around the house) when Mike Cohen from Big Switch reached out to share an update on their open source, OpenFlow Controller, Floodlight. The headline is Big Switch has over 6,000 Floodlight downloads since it was announced in January. Mike also released a blog post on Friday highlighting four applications that Big Switch (and / or Partners) are developing on top of Floodlight:
- Network Virtualization
- Cloud Security
- Network Monitoring
- Application Delivery
The question here is how to put the 6,000 downloads into context. For example, as part of our Lab at SDNCentral, we’ve downloaded, compiled and tested Floodlight (and just about every other open-source SDN controller) somewhere between 10-20 times. This lab is dedicated to running use cases and ‘customer readiness’ testing. One of the services we offer in the SDNCentral Lab is testing of 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).
What does this say about SDN’s, Big Switch’s, and OpenFlow? Not sure. When I was responsible for enterprise and security corporate development at Juniper Networks — I got used to start-ups throwing around impressive sounding statistics that my team then had to investigate to understand if the statistics were meaningful metrics to measure the health of the business or just a cool sound bite — like any sound bite — this requires some deeper investigation.
While 6,000 downloads sounds like a big number and the list of 12 network equipment vendors who’ve downloaded the product sounds impressive. What’s missing is context to help us understand how meaningful to the growth of SDN are the 6,000 Floodlight downloads. As Big Switch continues to make progress toward a commercial product announcement, hopefully they’ll provide more details on who’s using Floodlight, for which use cases, and suggest metrics that prospective customers, partners, and investors should use to correlate the 6,000 downloads as a measurement of Big Switch’s momentum. Regardless, we applaud our friends at Big Switch, for their continued growth.
See Big Switch’s press release below for more details:
Open Source Floodlight Ecosystem to Impact $3B Application and Switch Markets with OpenFlow-based SDN Solutions
PALO ALTO, CA – August 20, 2012 – Big Switch Networks, the leader in Open Software-Defined Networking (SDN), announced today that it has delivered over 6000 downloads of its Floodlight OpenFlow controller and APIs, which are quickly becoming the de facto standard for SDN controllers. The market response to Floodlight ensures that customers evaluating Big Switch SDN solutions will have a large number of OpenFlow physical and hypervisor switches and third party applications from which to choose.
“Customers are embracing SDN, open standards, and open source and the tremendous momentum behind Floodlight represents broad developer community support and provides customer choice,” said Guido Appenzeller, CEO and co-founder of Big Switch Networks. “This further solidifies Floodlight’s API interface as the standard for programming SDN networks, and will make it easier for customers to avoid vendor lock-in as OpenFlow applications developed by Big Switch, third parties or their own in-house developers become available.”
“Industry and investor interest in Software-Defined Networking has gone from second gear straight to fifth gear almost overnight. We are excited about the increased flexibility and enhanced business velocity this disruptive technology brings to both Layers 2-3 and Layers 4-7. We estimate SDN will become a $3 billion market opportunity over the next five years, similar in many ways to how the server virtualization market evolved,” said Brian Marshall, Partner and Senior Managing Director of ISI Group.
Companies and organizations that have downloaded the Floodlight controller APIs include: Arista, Brocade, Citrix, Dell, Extreme Networks, Fujitsu, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, Juniper Networks and Microsoft among others.
Released in January of 2012, and as the only available Apache-licensed OpenFlow controller, Floodlight has been embraced by developers building commercial SDN applications who want full control of what to open source and what to retain as their own IP. And, because Floodlight and the Big Switch commercial controller use the same core engine and open APIs, any application written for Floodlight is 100% compatible with the company’s commercial controller platform and can be submitted for certification and made available to Big Switch customers and ecosystem.
Floodlight is a Java-based OpenFlow controller that is tested and supported by the world’s largest developer community for SDN controllers. It was designed to be easy to set up with minimal dependencies, and is developer-friendly, offering a module system that makes it simple to extend and enhance. Floodlight supports a broad range of both hypervisor-based virtual switches like Open vSwitch, and the growing ecosystem of physical OpenFlow switches with rich support for mixed OpenFlow and non-OpenFlow networks. The company has also announced that OpenStack developers can now plug-in to Floodlight for programmable networking in multi-tenant cloud and virtualized environments.
OpenFlow-based SDN controllers are central components of SDN as they capture state information from OpenFlow-enabled switches, and provide standard ways to centrally manage those networks. OpenFlow Overlays allow for virtual OpenFlow networks to be overlaid on top of traditional, non-OpenFlow physical networks, bringing SDN network virtualization within reach of any enterprise.
Big Switch Networks delivers a highly scalable Software –Defined Networking (SDN) platform, Network Virtualization, and applications to customers who want flexibility, value, and choice with support for the virtual and physical infrastructure they have today. The company champions open standards and has developed both an open core and a commercial controller backed by the largest SDN ecosystem of OpenFlow applications and physical and hypervisor switches. Big Switch Networks virtualization and applications, which accelerate delivery of cloud services,are in customer trials today. Big Switch Networks was founded in 2010 by Guido Appenzeller and Kyle Forster and is based in Palo Alto, CA. For more information, visit: