& cplSiteName &

Pica8 Adds Muscle to ABC Ė 'Anybody But Cisco'

Mitch Wagner
2/18/2014
50%
50%

Pica8 Inc. has introduced a new white box switch designed to counter fears of limited configuration choice and bolster its ABC -- "Anybody But Cisco" -- strategy.

Adding to its range of switches developed for software-defined networking (SDN) deployments, the P-3297 is purpose-built for scaling OpenFlow environments, running Broadcom ASICs scaling to 8,000 flows, with a US list price of $4,690.

Hardware is provided by original device manufacturers (ODMs) Foxconn and Alpha Networks, along with another manufacturer that doesn't want to be named. "It doesn't want to be known as a white-box manufacturer just yet," Pica8 VP marketing Steve Garrison said in a phone interview.

Garrison said, "We're trying to reduce the fear that there's not enough choice out there." (For more on Pica8's attempts to make SDN easier, see Can Starter Kits Jumpstart SDN?)

The ODM model gives customers the same breadth of configuration choices they get when ordering desktop PCs from Dell, he said. Pica8 wants to provide more scalable networking hardware, just like with PCs.

The new switch means Pica8 now offers three 48x1GbE models, four options for 10GbE, and plans for 40G platforms and Trident 2 VXLAN support.

The breadth of Pica8's offerings is its biggest strength, says analyst Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research. "As the expression goes, when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail and that's the way most of the startups in the SDN space approach the market," he said in an email. "However, Pica8 has multiple hardware platforms as well as pure software model so organizations can choose the best combination of switches and software to build a conventional network, software-defined network or hybrid environment."

Pica8's main competition is the installed base that's reluctant to switch to a white box model, Garrison said. "My competition is the customer unwilling to try a new vendor, because they have many things on their plate." Other vendors with a white-box strategy include Pluribus, Big Switch Networks , and Cumulus. (See Murray Leads Big Switch Into Bare Metal Battle, Big Switch CEO: We're Not for Sale, and SDN: A Particular Set of Skills Much in Demand.)

Kerravala agrees: "The big competitor for the entire industry is the status quo. Customers need to recognize that it's time to evolve the datacenter network to meet the demands of today's IT challenge."

Pica8's big weakness is credibility, Kerravala added. Customers may be hesitant to buy from a company that might get acquired or experience some other event that would interrupt service. Pica8 has a strong customer base and should promote its existing customers to mitigate the perceived risks, he believes.

"There is a group out there that I call ABCs -- anybody but Cisco," ACG Research analyst Ray Mota said. The group includes Pica8. "What they're smart in is that they realize that just breaking the control plane from the data plane is not enough," he said. Pica8 uses CloudStack and OpenStack to manage and orchestrate the network more effectively.

"Right now the weakness would be key partnerships," Mota said. "Having partnerships with integrators that can put all the pieces together is important for Pica8 to do. Another part is scaling on support. They need to accelerate their channel management program so that when they go to these enterprise customers they have a good solid base of people who support it, install it, and allow it to scale."

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to mwagner@lightreading.com.

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/24/2014 | 3:40:30 PM
Re: Dominant
I agree that partnerships will be key to development. That is why I think this strategy of 'Anybody But Cisco' will work. Especially in the case of SDN. Will anyone be able to do it alone? Maybe Cisco...
MarkC73
50%
50%
MarkC73,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/18/2014 | 7:42:39 PM
Re: Dominant
I agree, typically if you are going against a heavily entrenched incumbent, you'll need to do at least a couple of things right.  Something better than what the current market leaders offers and a sustainable (and growing) customer base.  If not, things are going to be rough, even if you have a superior product.

With SDN, partnerships will be key to development and acceptance, both on the development of the technology as well as the trial customer base.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/18/2014 | 1:23:40 PM
Dominant
Cisco is such a huge force in networking, but I can see how being the antithesis for that company could offer something different for providers. 

What Pica8 really needs to do is strategically partner with some service providers - those organzations are the ones who bring the gear into certain environments. I think they know this - but it is easier said than done. 
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
No Stopping Cable's Ethernet Gains

12|9|16   |     |   (0) comments


Vertical Systems' Erin Dunne explains why US cable operators, which now command a record-high 26% of the Ethernet market, will keep boosting their share.
LRTV Interviews
Fixing IoT Security Is an Ecosystem Challenge

12|9|16   |   05:34   |   (1) comment


Level 3 Communications' Chief Security Officer Dale Drew says service providers, manufacturers and even consumers must combine to halt massive DDoS attacks using IoT devices in botnets. The solution he has in mind includes reputation-based routing by the service provider but also more secure endpoint devices and greater consumer awareness.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Clears $2B in Business Revenue

12|8|16   |     |   (0) comments


Cox's Jeff Breaux discusses how the third-largest US MSO will reach the $2 billion revenue mark this year and plans to hit $3 billion by 2021
LRTV Interviews
Can Cable Climb Upmarket?

12|7|16   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson and Alan Breznick assess cable's prospects for winning more enterprises in a landscape rocked by corporate M&A activity.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
TalkTalk Exec: Find Your North Star at Work

12|7|16   |   3:38   |   (1) comment


Women need to find their purpose, a professional North Star, and create a personal board for themselves, according to Alex Tempest, director of partners at TalkTalk Business.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon: Beware Unknown Unknowns

12|7|16   |   04:58   |   (0) comments


Chris Novak, director of the Verizon Enterprise Solutions Risk Team, explains that enterprises who don't conduct a thorough audit of their assets often leave some things unprotected because they don't know they exist. Many times these unprotected assets are part of corporate M&A activity but left unshielded they can become a hacker's playground, he tells Light ...
LRTV Interviews
ETSI's CTO Talks NFV, 5G & NGP

12|5|16   |   09:45   |   (0) comments


Adrian Scrase, CTO at standards body ETSI, talks about the various initiatives and specifications developments related to NFV, 5G and NGP (next-generation protocols) that will underpin next-gen networks.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (2) comments


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
Upcoming Live Events
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cable Nodes Becoming a Choke Point
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 12/5/2016
Consolidated Snaps Up Fairpoint for $1.5B
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/5/2016
Small Arctic ISP Caches Netflix in New Way
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 12/7/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
A Mobile Safari Click Here
Literally.
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.