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NEC Lends Microsoft a Hand in SDN

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
1/22/2013
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NEC Corp. has launched a virtual switch supporting OpenFlow 1.0, bringing OpenFlow into the Microsoft Corp. virtual-networking environment. The new ProgrammableFlow PF1000, launched to general availability on Tuesday, is analogous to VMware Inc.'s vSwitch, or Cisco Systems Inc.'s ASR 1000v, in that it's a software construct that handles switching between virtual machines. Target uses include data-center and cloud applications. The PF1000 runs on Hyper-V, the hypervisor Microsoft has created to compete with VMware's. NEC also claims it's the first virtual switch running OpenFlow. The PF1000 can support 1,280 ports (combining virtual and physical switch ports) and 260,000 data flows, NEC claims. At the same time, NEC announced a ProgrammableFlow upgrade that includes IPv6 and OpenStack support. Why this matters
VMware doesn't offer OpenFlow on virtual switches, as Roy Chua of SDNCentral points out in his analysis. (It does have a workaround, as detailed on the IP Space blog.) So, this is actually a nice announcement for Microsoft, giving Hyper-V something to brag about versus VMware's ESXi. On NEC's side, the company's ProgrammableFlow line of switches now has increased relevance in the cloud. NEC's moves don't make or break the switching market, since the company's sales remain mostly in Japan -- but ProgrammableFlow is meant to change all that, by using OpenFlow and SDN as levers. NEC did announce one customer for the PF1000, and it's not based in Japan: Edgenet Inc., which develops sales engines for online retailers. Lately, a lot of talk around SDN has emphasized the need to support protocols other than OpenFlow, but NEC insists that OpenFlow's importance hasn't diminished. "The customers we talk to see the investment protection of OpenFlow being a lot more solid than any particuar promise by any particular vendor," says Don Clark, NEC's U.S. director of business development. For more

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading
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Craig Matsumoto
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Craig Matsumoto,
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1/23/2013 | 5:46:32 PM
re: NEC Lends Microsoft a Hand in SDN
So, Hyper-V gets an OpenFlow virtual switch. A nice first for NEC, but (no disrespect to NEC) I'd assume Microsoft wants to see similar developments from other players.
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