Brocade: If SDN talent were weapons, Brocade would be 1980 Soviet Union. I have done a fair bit of reading and I have had a few conversations with Brocade. Truth be told I last looked at them for network fabric solutions, namely TRILL. The Vyatta product family has come a long way since then and they have made some big waves recently in announcing their ODL (Open Daylight) based Vyatta controller. This is one area I am personally excited about and I look forward to finding out more about.
Brocade Vyatta controller info: http://www.brocade.com/products/all/software-defined-networking/brocade-vyatta-controller/index.page
Cisco Data Center: The titans of the industry, need I say more. My current environment is a heavy Cisco shop so honestly this will likely be more of the same for me. Truth be told ACI is actually not bad at all but overall the management tools still needs polish. At the end of the day Cisco is going to have solid market adoption of this product line. Really the big question is will it be up to their standards. *Disclaimer: I am currently testing ACI products and under NDA so I can’t say any more but I should note that I am going to be a little biased due to comfort level with this vendor.
CloudGenix: I am going to keep this short, I don’t know anything about them other they do SDNish WANish something-ish. For their sake I hope they have a software only solution because there are already a lot of vendors doing similar things with appliances but only a few (two that I know of) with a software solution. Their website and the press alike are very scant on any details so I am curious to find out more.
Cumulus: At first I was hesitant about the idea of a full featured Linux OS running on my switches. Suffice it to say I am over that now and I have gone the other direction. This is going to be a great development for the industry to have a common look and feel for managing, deploying, updating/patching, etc network hardware and server hardware alike. I only have a little bit of Linux admin background so this is an area I just really need to dive in and learn more so this session should be an excellent one for me. I’ll be sure to ask plenty of stupid questions that I am certain other network centric folk who do not have much Linux background will want to know.
NEC: I’ve had many discussions with NEC about their solution in the past. Frankly it is one of the best, if not the best, pure OpenFlow network controller on the market. There are a couple of problems with this however, 1) OpenFlow at current has problems and fixing these problems requires proprietary solutions. (However I fully believe the ONF will mature OpenFlow significantly in the coming years) 2) The last time I did an honest evaluation I found that there were just not enough enterprise applications available for OpenFlow networks. For example centralized NAC. I have wanted to do actual lab testing with NECs solution for a while now but funding and time have prevented me from doing so. Nonetheless, I will be happy to hear what NEC has been up to lately.
NetBeez: I know almost nothing about these guys other than they have a widget that plugs into the network that simulates users and hosts and apparently they give you some useful information. My only problem with their solution is I don’t want to buy a widget to have to do this, I would rather my network and systems tell me directly. This is obviously not this vendor’s fault and apparently they have found a way to give us more intelligence than we could easily get before.
Pluribus Networks: Ok, if you held a gun to my head and told me to tell you which vendor I am most excited about … I would probably say Pluribus. (Sorry Brocade – you were a close #2) But since you are are not holding a gun to my head and I am telling you voluntarily I will just say I am quite excited to hear more form this vendor. Ok where to start … they embrace DevOps, they have a bare metal network hypervisor, they have microblade switches (and peer server Architect seem to get all ‘hot and bothered’ when we talk about the evolution of microblades and server cartridges), their switches are servers with Intel procs that basically build an on box software feature abstraction!!! I don’t know if you can tell but I think this concept is HUUUUGE. I hate having YEARS to wait for silicon to be turned and then for hardware to be refreshed and then for the proprietary monolithic network OS to finally roll out support to be able to implement a new feature! I want it NOW! Just code the feature and deploy! … Anyway I am REALLY excited to talk more to these guys!
Want to know why I am so amped about them? Read this: http://www.pluribusnetworks.com/media/briefs/pn-arch-brief-final.pdf
And I definitely recommend watching the prior Pluribus presentations from Network Field Day:
SolarWinds: You know what, I’ve been doing networking for a living since I graduated pretty much. My first ‘real’ network that I deployed, I used SolarWinds and I LOVE IT! In case you don’t know, their bread and butter is network management. I also love their pins and bumper stickers … I have them all over my backback and laptop, seriously. Anyway, will be nice to get to listen to what they have been up to.
Velocloud: This is one of those aforementioned dynamic WAN appliance companies. I have the same general problem with this as I do with NetBeez, I just want the gear I spent a ton of money on to be able to do this, not have to buy more gear. That said, many enterprises have been deploying hybrid internet and MPLS solutions for the past few years and this is an area of significant need. Personally I plan to focus on this technology domain this year so it will be good to find out more details about Velocloud’s solution.
NOTE: All opinions are my own and do not reflect the view of my employer.