The brouhaha over software-defined networking (SDN) is sounding less like much ado about nothing as dollars continue to flow toward companies with plans for SDN buildout using OpenFlow.
Several funding deals have happened in just the past year. In August 2012, PLUMgrid announced it had raised $10.7 million in funding to deliver SDN as software over standard silicon, which serves as a platform for a virtualized network. In June 2013, Affirmed Networks announced that it received $51 million in funding to develop its range of network functions virtualization (NFV) solutions. Thus far, the company has raised at least $117 million.
The funding boon continued in February 2013, as Big Switch Networks received $6.5 million in venture funding to add to the $38.8 million the company has raised since 2011. The company is using the money to further its Open SDN platform, an OpenFlow switch fabric that can run on bare metal switches and hypervisor virtual switches.
Also announcing SDN projects were vendors Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent. In April 2012, Cisco announced that it is funding and plans to absorb Insieme, which is developing an SDN network that's built to complement Cisco's existing products. Cisco has already invested $100 million and is capping its investment at $750 million. In January 2013, Alcatel-Lucent announced its investment in Nuage Networks, which is focused on the scalability and automated service provisioning issues of cloud providers that offer hybrid multi-tenant cloud services.
As excitement over SDN and its possibilities continues to mount, however, testing of SDN networks becomes even more important. As shown in the latest Heavy Reading Insider, "SDN & OpenFlow Testing: Who's Doing What," the only way to ensure that SDN reaches its full potential is through strenuous and continuous testing of the networks.
This report examines the test and measurement market for SDN and OpenFlow. It examines the verticals that are the most lucrative for SDN test and measurement, and discusses drivers and challenges in the industry. It includes a comparative analysis of solutions available, examines the geographic landscape of the market, and details trends that will likely occur in the industry over the next 18-24 months.
But it's not just money that's underscoring the hope that operators and vendors are placing on SDN. Already in its very short lifespan, SDN has spurred the creation of the OpenDaylight Project, a community-led and industry-supported open-source framework aimed at accelerating adoption of SDN. Companies signed up for the project include Big Switch Networks, Brocade, Cisco, Citrix, Ericsson, IBM, Juniper Networks, Microsoft, NEC, Red Hat, and VMware -- all of which are donating software and engineering resources for the open-source framework.
Nevertheless, just because operators and vendors are willing to spend money and time on a new venture doesn't mean that it will cure all their ills. Already, some companies have rebranded existing products as "SDN-friendly," despite a lack of clear product evolution. Moreover, operators will be reluctant to move customers onto SDN networks until they're tested and proven capable of handling traffic and preventing churn.
— Denise Culver, Research Analyst, Heavy Reading Insider
"SDN & OpenFlow Testing: Who's Doing What," a 16-page report, is available as part of an annual subscription (12 monthly issues) to Heavy Reading Insider, priced at $1,595. This report is available for $900. To subscribe, please visit: www.heavyreading.com/insider.