IBM System Networking Supports Industry Standard Open Data Centers with Interoperable Networks

SDN-architecture-openflowThe modern data center is going through an unprecedented transformation, as customers attempt to deploy new applications in a highly virtualized, cloud-based environment.  What is clear is that traditional networks are not suited to handling the traffic patterns and volumes created by these more agile cloud-computing environments.  What we also know is that centralizing network intelligence through software-defined networking (SDN) has emerged as the preferred approach to solving the Big Data / network bottleneck conundrum.

Today the IBM System Networking released a series of technical papers that further support and underline industry standards unfolding around SDN and OpenFlow, a protocol developed at Stanford University offering an open-standards approach to SDN.

Both IBM and NEC are strong supporters of industry standards within the data center network, and we’re pleased to endorse the series of technical briefs known as Open Datacenter Interoperable Network (ODIN).  In addition to OpenFlow, the IBM papers will cover other standards such as IEEE 802.1Qbg and FCoE.

Casimer DeCusatis, Ph.D., an IBM Distinguished Engineer, wrote the ODIN on SDN architecture.  In it, he points to the logical view of the SDN architecture, using a diagram developed by members of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).  NEC was a founding member at ONF, and participated in developing this view of SDN.  We strongly support IBM in their discussions around this standardized network architecture, depicted here.

You can read the full texts of IBM ODIN papers at on the IBM System Networking website.   You can also follow Casimer DeCusatis on his blog  or on Twitter for further updates.  And, of course, you can read and learn more about ProgrammableFlow at  In January, NEC announced its SDN collaboration with IBM.

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.