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October 03, 2012

IBM Adds SDN Controller to Enterprise Networking Portfolio

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

IBM (News - Alert) has added a software defined networking (SDN) controller to its enterprise networking portfolio.

The new IBM System Networking Programmable Network Controller provides intelligent software using the OpenFlow standard for the IBM RackSwitch G8264 and other OpenFlow-enabled switches, the company said.

Using OpenFlow, virtual networks are provided scalability and flexibility in cloud and mobile services environments.

SDN and OpenFlow are now being adopted at financial services firms, software companies, cloud providers and web enterprises – a move beyond initial interest at research settings.

“Industry pundits are calling software defined networking the most exciting and disruptive networking technology in decades,” Vikram Mehta, vice president, System Networking at IBM, explained in a company blog post.

“Just as IBM was first to market with a 10/40GbE OpenFlow-enabled switch, IBM is now leading the market with a complete SDN OpenFlow solution for the agile data center. By aggressively adopting, and contributing to, this new design paradigm, IBM is again demonstrating its commitment to innovation in order to meet and exceed customers’ needs for increased IT and business efficiency, competitiveness and creativity.”

“Customers tell us that IBM’s focus on interoperability and standards enables them to significantly reduce cost and time-to-value by increasing their networking intelligence,” Renato Recio, an IBM Fellow and System Networking CTO, added.

“Now that SDN and OpenFlow are not just for research institutions anymore; financial services, software companies, cloud providers and web enterprises are increasingly adopting these new technologies to provide more consistent, improved performance and better control of their network.  SDN provides the ability to build the networks that today’s dynamic data centers require for the delivery of competitive services while building a foundation that can continue to add value as needs increase.”

The IBM Programmable Network Controller offers an OpenFlow-based network fabric. It features centralized control of network flows and virtual machine mobility, the company added.

IBM and NEC (News - Alert) recently announced several customers who are adopting OpenFlow technology.

OpenFlow was developed at Stanford University as a new way to implement SDN. Researchers and universities used it to experiment with new protocols and it is being seen as appropriate for highly virtualized enterprise and cloud computing networks, IBM said.

OpenFlow is being promoted by the Open Networking Foundation. It was started by Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Verizon (News - Alert) and Yahoo — as well as other member companies, including IBM and NEC, and equipment vendors, software suppliers and IC technology providers.

The OpenFlow solution improves efficiency and is more economical than alternatives, according to an IBM blog statement. It also is well suited for multi-tenant environments and when continuity is critical for businesses. For instance, it provides a form of self-healing after an outage.

In other recent IBM news, IBM has unveiled new technologies that improve security, allow for the use of cloud computing, and let users manage and analyze vast amounts of data, according to TMCnet. The new offerings include enterprise power systems, a disk storage system, and software updates for IBM's newest mainframe computer.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Austin 2012, happening now in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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