Can Starter Kits Jumpstart SDN?
As concerns mount about the future of software defined networking implementation, Pica8 has introduced an SDN Starter Kit that it hopes will help both service provider and enterprise IT pros aggressively tackle their SDN projects and trials. (See Pica8 Kit Eases SDN Pursuits.)
Steve Garrison, vice president of marketing at Pica8 Inc. , acknowledged that 2014, which some months ago much of the industry thought would be the big production year for SDN, will now be more of an "evaluation year." He told Light Reading that the vendor developed the kit after it surveyed 100 IT leaders at carriers and corporations about the hurdles they experienced in adopting SDN in their organization.
About 20 of the people surveyed were from service providers, and they largely indicated they needed help putting together the pieces for open SDN platforms. About 50 enterprise IT folks surveyed said they still needed help understanding the value of SDN, and didn't necessarily have the skills to pursue SDN projects.
"We determined that a lot of the learning that's necessary to pursue open SDN projects can take at least three to six months," Garrison says. "IT people have a lot of projects on their plates, and if something takes that long, and it's very hard to do, it tends to get de-prioritized."
The Pica8 SDN Starter Kit, including the Pica8 open switch, PicOS software, programmable network tap, Ryu open-source controller, SNORT open-source security solution, and start guide, will be available on January 20, 2014.
Why this matters
The idea of consolidating all the complexities of SDN into something simplified enough to be called a "kit" might sound dubious. However, the SDN marketplace is rapidly becoming more complex, containing not only completely open-source and completely virtualized architectures, but also the wares of vendor giants such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), which has approaches that could in some ways make it harder for customers to decide what kind of SDN solution they want -- or if they want SDN at all. (See Cisco's ACI Gets Physical With SDN.)
Perhaps Pica8's kit just seems like another way to promote and package its own recipe for SDN, but it isn't alone in taking that approach. Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) launched an SDN software developers kit recently, which, though different than what Pica8 is talking about, has the similar aim to help the industry negotiate an increasingly complex technology trend. These kinds of kits will become a very necessary item if we want to jumpstart the SDN market anytime soon. Pica8's solution is not likely to be the last SDN starter kit we see. (See HP's Building an SDN App Store.)
For more on SDN developments:
- HP Exec Goes Northbound for SDN
- SDN Middleman: A Second Look at Juniper's MetaFabric
- OpenDaylight: Vendor SDN Aids Open Effort
- Carriers Say SDN Won't Save Capex
- Ericsson's Network Slicing: It's Far Out, Man
- Huawei Adds to Its SDN Arsenal
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading