& cplSiteName &

Pica8 Adds Muscle to ABC – '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
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
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
Heavy Reading: The Web-Scale View

1|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Heavy Reading's former chief analyst Patrick Donegan shared insight from the recent web-scale operators report, which featured research on how web-scale operators view the market, the best web-scale companies to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Cloud Scale Networking: Automation, Virtualization & Simplification

1|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Sanjeev Mervana outlines the latest innovations in networking technology at CES 2017 in Las Vegas.
LRTV Custom TV
ADVA Talks Innovation & the Future of Networking

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Le Maistre and Christoph Glingener, CTO of ADVA Optical Networking, discuss the current state of the industry, cooperation and collaboration, open innovation and the future of networking.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Infinite Video Platform

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Infinite Video Platform allows service providers to deliver broadcast-quality video over IP networks. Infinite video supports many devices, from 4K TVs to tablets to game consoles. Join Cisco's Rajeev Raman for a brief tour and live demo.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy: Ability to Adapt Key for NFV

1|16|17   |   6:40   |   (0) comments


Speaking at Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Masergy's VP, Global Technology, Ray Watson, said agility is key to providing the mix and match NFV-based services that are driving business for the managed service provider today.
LRTV Interviews
Equinix: The Data Explosion

1|13|17   |   4:16   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Eric Schwartz, president of EMEA, Equinix, talked about how Equinix is helping its customers manage the influx of data today, and how it's preparing for a future filled with millions of connected IoT devices.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Changing Data Center Landscape

1|12|17   |   6:05   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision event in Rome, Heavy Reading's Senior Analyst Roz Roseboro talks about how virtualization is impacting data center evolution and how that evolution is affecting the relationship between service providers, data center operators and public cloud providers.
LRTV Interviews
Boingo: Prepping for Millions of Devices

1|12|17   |   5:07   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Boingo's CTO Derek Peterson discusses how wireless operators will address the needs of low-bandwidth and high-bandwidth apps at the same time, the need for more MHz, the impact of IoT and more.
LRTV Interviews
Comcast Shows Off Gig Gateway at CES

1|11|17   |     |   (1) comment


With its largest presence at CES in years, Comcast took the wraps off its long-awaited gigabit gateway and a new platform for managing the home WiFi network. Light Reading Senior Editor Mari Silbey sat down with EVP Chris Satchell to discuss the latest Comcast advance, and met with VP of Product Strategy and Development Andrea Peiro to walk through a demo of the ...
LRTV Interviews
Colt: End-to-End Key for 2017

1|10|17   |   6:21   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Nico Fischbach of Colt said having a multi-carrier, end-to-end service proposition is going to be key for 2017 -- and SD-WAN is instrumental in making it happen.
From the Founder
Cisco's Clemson on Mobile Cloud Video

1|9|17   |     |   (1) comment


Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators. "If you think about where we're going… whether it's a mobile application, or a video ...
LRTV Custom TV
VMware Telco NFV Solutions – Preparing for 5G & IOT

1|9|17   |     |   (0) comments


Shekar Ayyar, EVP & Corporate Strategy/General Manager of Telco for VMware, discusses VMware's Telco NFV solutions role and foundation for the Imminent Arrival of 5G & IOT.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
A Women in Comms Glossary
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 1/18/2017
Next Plugfest Gets G.fast Closer to Market
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 1/13/2017
TV's Paradox: No HDR Without 4K
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/17/2017
Qualcomm Study Predicts 5G Will Create 22M Jobs by 2035
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/17/2017
Cable Has One Thing Verizon Needs
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/17/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
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.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.