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AI World Conference & Expo · Boston, MA · December 11-13, 2017

Posts Tagged ‘Pica8’

This may be hard to believe, but OpenFlow is now about four years old, and late last year version 1.4 of OpenFlow was unveiled. This week, startup Pica8 became the first vendor to support 1.4, which may be the first OpenFlow version that’s ready for prime time. OpenFlow features a number of new features, improvements, and one change.

The new features are:

  • Bundles. The bundles feature of OpenFlow 1.4 enables a group of OpenFlow messages to be “bundled” as a single, which allows for better synchronization of changes across as series of switches. This is similar to a “commit” of multiple configuration changes in traditional layer 2/3 environments.
  • Optical ports. In 1.4, support for Optical ports has been added. OpenFlow can now be used to configure or monitor optical ports, which brings FiberChannel over Ethernet into, play in an SDN. This also allows for higher-speed transmission rates to be used in the SDN.
  • Synchronized tables. Flow tables can now be synchronized uni-directionally or bi-directionally. This has some implications on the way data flows are synchronized to transmissions of data. This effectively doubles the TCAM scalability of the switch.

For decades, networks have been built on closed, proprietary infrastructure. It’s what’s allowed vendors to create unique features and differentiate themselves. Those features are what have enabled the networks to be as reliable, secure and resilient as they have been in the past. However, over the past couple of years it seems that “open” has become the new black when it comes to network infrastructure and every major vendor now has some degree of openness, although may not be 100% open (I’ll define later). Recently, though, I ran across a startup called Pica8 that is, by far, the most open networking vendor that I have seen to date.

Before I get into the specifics of Pica8, let me define why open networking has become all the rage and what it actually means.



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