Pica8 Debuts Industry First OpenFlow Architecture

Pica8 is the latest SDN startup to have exited stealth in the past few weeks.  And like its predecessors, the Palo Alto-based firm also has its own unique approach to software-defined networking.

Pica8’s flagship offering is a new reference architecture for service providers that takes full advantage of the existing technology in the market. The bundle is comprised of Pica8’s proprietary physical network device (one of several the system is compatible with), the Open vSwitch (OVS) 1.7.1 virtual switch and a software controller.  At launch there’s only one option: NTT Labs’ Ryu 1.4 controller, but additional integrations are due soon, according to the company.

This entire software component is integrated with OpenFlow 1.2 and runs runs on PicOS, the startup’s homegrown, vendor agnostic operating system. Wikibon networking analyst Stu Miniman provided his take in an article that went out yesterday morning:

“The Pica8 solution is complementary to both Big Switch Networks and Nicira solutions. While the underlying chipset for ODM switches being the same as used with many leading switch manufacturers, software is the leading, but not only, differentiator for network devices. The initial customers for this solution will be service providers or other large environments with high growth that are on the cutting edge of adopting SDN solutions to create scalable and agile networks.”

Big Switch Networks and Nicira are tackling the same issues from different angles. The latter was bought out by VMware for $1.26 billion earlier this year, but its younger rival is quickly catching up.  Big Switch exited stealth last month with $40 million in the bank and a suite of SDN offerings co-developed by the father of OpenFlow.  Its solutions include a full-fledged application platform, a virtualization layer and a monitoring solution that tracks network activity.