Pica8 Aims to Broaden the Appeal of SDN with Platform for 10GbE Environments

By Paula Bernier January 13, 2014

Software-defined networking upstart Pica8 now offers an open SDN switch platform for environments operating 10GbE over copper network backbones. This news is important because it represents a move to bring the cost benefits SDN and standardized hardware platforms to existing infrastructure, and to broaden the appeal of SDN in the process.

The cost for the solution starts at $17,900. That includes a 64-port switch (48 10GBASE-T +16 10GbE).

While 10GBASE is considered existing infrastructure, it continues to grow, notes Pica8, which notes Crehan Research as saying that 10GBASE-T is expected to grow significantly faster than all other 10GbE data center switch technologies with a forty-fold increase over the next five years.

“To capture data center switch market share and have broad appeal for their software defined networking solutions, vendors need to have compelling products for both SFP+ and 10GBASE-T deployments,” said Seamus Crehan, president of Crehan Research. “With a list price of less than $280 per 10GBASE-T port, Pica8 is offering a compelling value proposition.”

Pica8’s SDN Starter Kit, which is intended to help people and organizations expedite their implementations in this realm, also is generally available starting today.

“What's new about this is that this Starter Kit allows organizations to get an SDN solution up and running within an hour, rather than the weeks or months it takes to integrate the pieces separately. Pica8 is the first company to offer such a starter kit,” Michael Schoolnik, a spokesman for Pica8, recently told NFVZone.

The $8,895 kit is a CD loaded with software, including:

• the open source network controller, developed by NTT Labs, known as Ryu

• a programmable network tap based on SDN technology

• an open source network intrusion prevention and detection system developed by SNORT

• a pre-configured Pica8 open switch running PicOS

• a quick start guide with the 10 simple steps needed to configure a test bed and start sampling network traffic

“SDN has captured the attention of data centers managers, but they remain unsure how to best start the deployment process without disrupting existing operations,” says Chris Becerra, president of Terrapin Systems. “We expect the Pica8 SDN Starter Kit to help take the guesswork out of how to best initiate an SDN infrastructure.”

Mike Fay of integrator Colfax adds that this starter kit represents the best open source software tools along with Pica8’s own open switch to enable customers “to hit the ground running with a fully functioning solution in literally minutes.”

Pica8 came up with the idea for the start kit after surveying 100 IT professionals and service providers, who said they need help pulling SDN pieces together and need an open solution that is easy to deploy. New data from Infonetics Research indicates that SDN controllers and Ethernet switches used for SDN will play a role in enterprise and data center networks, growing to a $3.1 billion market by 2017.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Executive Editor, TMC

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