ProgrammableFlow and Windows Server 2012 deliver Software Defined Networking to Private Cloud

NEC ProgrammableFlow selected as Finalist for Microsoft Best of Tech Ed North America

ProgrammableFlow has been selected as a finalist for The Microsoft Best of TechEd (BOTE) North America Awards, produced by Windows IT Pro, SQL Server Pro, SharePoint Pro and Dev Pro, which recognizes innovative products and services being showcased this week in Orlando at Microsoft TechEd.  More than 300 products were nominated with finalists selected in 15 categories.  ProgrammableFlow is a finalist in the Networking category.

All registered attendees can vote for ProgrammableFlow to win by visiting the Best of TechEd webpage before 2 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, June 13.

As reported in a previous press release, we demonstrated a ProgrammableFlow Virtual Switch for Windows Server 2012 at Microsoft BUILD last fall.  We are continuing to march forward, in lock-step with Microsoft, leveraging the Hyper-V Extensible Switch application programming interface (API) to deliver the exciting benefits of OpenFlow and Software Defined Networking (SDN) to Windows Server 2012 customers.

With ProgrammableFlow, the entire network can be configured and monitored and controlled from a central point, including visualizing end-to-end network flows and drag and drop configuration and network design.  Network performance is also optimized by network level load balancing across multiple paths for more available bandwidth and faster network response.

Best of Microsoft TechEd 2012 FinalistProgrammableFlow leverages OpenFlow to separate the control plane from the data plane, which allows for network-wide virtualization and programming of the network.  With ProgrammableFlow, delivery of network services and benefits are dramatically accelerated.  No longer will the network be a bottleneck for the progress of the business.

This week (June 11-14) we are demonstrating ProgrammableFlow with Hyper-V again in the Microsoft Partner Pavilion (#18) at TechEd 2012 in Orlando.  Our own Su-hun Yun will be taking the stage at 1:30 on Wednesday, June 13, during the Tech Session led by Microsoft Bob Combs in a session called “Get Hands-on with the New Hyper-V Extensible Switch in Windows Server 2012”.  He will repeat the stage demo of ProgrammableFlow with Windows Server 2012 at TechEd in Europe June 29.  And we recently completed a short video on the capabilities, which you can access on the NEC YouTube channel here.  Stop by at TechEd and view this exciting new capability live if you are there!


NEC ProgrammableFlow Version 2 takes home coveted Best of Interop Grand Prize Award

Best_Interop_Award_2012_Winner_BannerIt was a banner Day 1 at Interop in Las Vegas for the ProgrammableFlow team.  Sitting in the expectant audience, listening as each of the eight Best of Interop (BOI) winners were announced, we were gratified to win Best of Interop in Management, Monitoring and Testing.  The competition was tough, against 40 other innovators and applicants in the category, including Riverbed’s Virtual Cascade Shark and Net Optics’ Spyke appliance.  However, according to the lead judge it was hard to beat something as unique as the NEC PF6800 ProgrammableFlow Controller when there’s “nothing comparable on the market today.”

And just as we had settled again into our seats, we were back on our feet in excitement:  the NEC ProgrammableFlow PF6800 Controller had won the Grand Prize—the best of the Best of Interop! According to lead judge Stephen Hill, “the ProgrammableFlow Controller PF6800 from NEC delivered the innovation, insight, and advanced thinking expected of a Best of Interop Grand Prize winner. ”  Read his thoughts in Information Week’s Best of Interop 2012:  Award Winners.  More details can be found in the press release appearing on the NEC Corporation of America website.

We have been working in the OpenFlow arena since the founding of the Clean Slate Lab in 2007 at Stanford University.  Atsushi Iwata, who leads the NEC R&D effort for ProgrammableFlow, understood the promise and the vision, and wrote a proposal that resulted in NEC providing funding for those very first efforts-along with Deutsche Telecom and Stanford itself.  Atsushi spent three years at the University working alongside the brilliant engineers and faculty at Clean Slate who developed the initial OpenFlow protocol.  Then, taking his knowledge back to NEC, Atsushi and his dedicated team have leveraged the protocol to develop the first OpenFlow fabric, providing complete network virtualization:  ProgrammableFlow.

You may remember, we also won 2011 Best of Interop award in the Infrastructure category with the ProgrammableFlow 1/10 GbE switch.  At last year’s show we were the first to announce delivery of a Generally Available OpenFlow product family.  At the time, OpenFlow and Software Defined Networking (SDN) were an enigma to most network architects and IT managers.  Now the industry is awakening to the promise of SDN and NEC is proud to be in the forefront of this revolutionary movement.

Congratulations go out to the ProgrammableFlow team – on both sides of the Pacific! Here are a few of our members celebrating the award this afternoon at Interop.


NEC and IBM announce co-marketing of first high performance OpenFlow ecosystem

NEC and IBM are together transforming the networks of old, as they announce today the industry’s first high performance OpenFlow ecosystem, complete with customer references.  These include early innovators Selerity, furnishing real-time data for global financial markets, Tervela, who provide a high-speed messaging fabric, and Stanford University, the birthplace of OpenFlow.  These organizations join over two dozen other institutions and enterprises who have  deployed ProgrammableFlow, choosing the integrated NEC/IBM OpenFlow solution, which aligns with the OpenFlow standard and fulfills the promise of open networks.

We are excited to be co-marketing with IBM the first high-performance OpenFlow network solution, including our ProgrammableFlow controller, our PF5420 1GbE ProgrammableFlow switch, the new PF5820 10GbE switch, and IBM’s OpenFlow-enabled G8264 top-of-rack 10GbE switch.  This ecosystem, bought into by the companies mentioned above, begins to reveal the true promise of OpenFlow.

Enterprise Strategies Group: Challenges of Managing a Data Center Network

In related news, Jon Oltsik blogged in NetworkWorld earlier this month about a circumstance he calls “Network Discontinuity”.  This is a condition he equates to the demise of dinosaurs, which he says ESG research has uncovered in many large enterprise data center networks today.  Jon outlines all of the factors including cloud and virtualization that are changing the data center, but the network has been slow (like the dinosaur) in adapting to all of the changes.  As a result, he says “the data center networking dinosaur is adapting but we are rapidly approaching a breaking point.”  Jon graciously gave us permission to use the following chart, which outlines ESG’s recent findings on problems with data center networks today.     Do you see your issues reflected here?

We are observing gathering interest around SDN and the OpenFlow standard.  Big Switch Networks made an announcement recently, providing their controller, Floodlight, to open source.  Of course, NEC’s own Helios controller was added to the open source OpenFlow controller list back in November of 2010.  With Helios, now known as Trema, we provided an open source modular framework for developing OpenFlow controllers in Ruby/C.

NEC is at Joint Techs, this week, a conference for Network Engineers put on by Internet2in Baton Rouge.  We presented an update on SDN at NEC and January 25-tomorrow-at 8:50 CST will participate in  a panel discussion on Software Defined Networking: Industry Involvement, led by Matt Davy of Indiana University.

Finally, we’d like to give a shout-out to one of our favorite Network bloggers, Ivan Pepelnjak, who just put up a new sitewe think you may want to visit.  Ivan has been following OpenFlow and SDN closely, and is offering a three hour overview of SDNon February 7.  We plan to attend, and you may want to check it out, as well.

NEC adds to OpenFlow / SDN Fabric with 10/40GbE core switch

Today, NEC announced the ProgrammableFlow PF5820 10/40GbE OpenFlow switch, an extension of its Software Defined Network (SDN) architecture. The PF5820 joins the ProgrammableFlow controller, the PF5240 1/10GbE switch, and a visualization monitor which portrays end-to-end network flows at-a-glance.  ProgrammableFlow has been shipping since May and has been in production for a full year in our early adopters’ data center networks, including Nippon Express and Genesis Hosting Solutions.

ProgrammableFlow has grabbed the attention of industry watchers, and a demo of our award-winning technology took the recent Network Field Day 2 two-day event by storm.  Listen in as Network Engineers Greg Ferro, Ivan Peopnjak, Derick Winkworthand Ethan Bankstalk about “Why OpenFlow has Mind-Melting Potential”on their 76th podcast broadcast on November 20, archived at

NEC-UNIVERGE-ProgrammableFlow-OpenFlow-PF5820That said, we are adding to the leadership position NEC has staked out with this new core OpenFlow switch. This energy-efficient hardware provides high throughput, with low latency, delivering 1.28 Terabits of switching performance with a compact footprint.  The PF5820 is designed for building high performance, secure, and programmable networks.

One Software Defined Network using the PF5820 is called The Open Science, Scholarship and Services Exchange (OS3E)Internet2and Indiana University, two of the three partners behind the OS3E (the third partner is Stanford University’s Clean Slate Program) conducted a webinar last week to educate Internet2 members and other interested institutions and enterprises on how they can leverage OS3E to conduct network innovation and support global scientific research.   You can check out their use cases and support for the PF5820 by downloading the webinar presentation here.

A bit more information on the new switch:  the PF5820 provides 48 10GbE SFP+ ports plus 4 QSFP+ ports that operate at 40GbE or as 16 additional 10GbE ports providing a total of 64 10GbE ports in one switch.  Built for reliability, the PF5820 design includes optional front-to-back or back-to-front airflow, redundant, hot-swappable AC power supplies, The PF5240 supports the OpenFlow 1.0 specification today and we currently plan to support future versions as they are approved and deemed suitable for widespread deployment.

Learn more about the PF5820 or ProgrammableFlow by accessing our website at www.necam/pflow, or call the NEC sales team at 866-632-3226 to book an appointment with a NEC account representative today.  We look forward to talking to you directly about ProgrammableFlow and OpenFlow – and why last week even The New York Times was talking about the promise of this new technology.

NEC leverages OpenFlow to reduce transmission overload on cellular networks

NEC-ProgrammableFlow-OpenFlow-AndroidNEC continues to be a leader in the OpenFlow innovation movement.  This week in Tokyo our colleagues in Japan at NEC Corporation are demonstrating another first:  OpenFlow for Android, at iExpo in Tokyo on November 11 and 12.

Atsushi Iwata, NEC’s Senior Manager for System Platforms Research Labs, presented our findings at the Stanford Clean Slate CTO Summit this week.  Just a side note:  for those of you unfamiliar with Clean Slate, this is the interdisciplinary research program out of Stanford that has set the ambitious mission of “reinventing the Internet”.   A number of initiatives and innovations have come from Clean Slate, not the least of which is OpenFlow 1.0.  NEC, Deutsche Telekom and Stanford were the original charter members of Clean Slate, so as you can see we have been working with OpenFlow now for almost four years.

As detailed in an NEC news release recently, the Communication Control Technologies for networks and mobile devices being demoed at iExpo 2011 are designed to help reduce transmission overload for mobile carriers and customers.  Today communication carriers use data offload to deal with increases in cellular network traffic, automatically switching wireless connections from cellular networks to other high-speed wireless networks, like wireless LAN, when they are available.

The problem with this scenario is that wireless LAN connections are frequently lost due to limited coverage (those of you in major US cities surely know about this), and security is weaker than cellular networks.

NEC’s OpenFlow controller can control mobile device communication and select the most appropriate network, for higher quality, more flexible communication services.  The technology also leverages the advantages of different networks simultaneously; for example, the high-speed networking of wireless LAN can be offered at the same time as the connectivity and security of cellular networks.  This OpenFlow demonstration will control mobile device communications and switch functionality for Android.

Business policy and application needs can drive mobile communications and network switching for a more responsive, agile network and improved communications quality.   And Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO), who provide mobile phone services using the infrastructure of other carriers, can select connections from multiple mobile networks with NEC’s OpenFlow controller on the network side, further enhancing their service offering.

One of the big questions coming out of this month’s OpenFlow Symposium in San Jose was around OpenFlow use cases… providing control for networks and mobile devices to reduce transmission overload surely will stir some interest.

For more information on the iExpo demo read the press release here.  Or check out what ProgrammableFlow can do for you today at