The Arista software did not take as large a leap into the emerging world of software-defined networks. It supports version 1.0 of the OpenFlow standard, a release generally seen as a vehicle for academic experiments rather than commercial use.
By contrast, HP is stepping on the gas in SDN. It announced a set of virtualization software offerings based on the current OpenFlow version 1.3 which supports IPv6 and other key networking standards. However, key parts of the code will not be available until late this year.
The largest data centers are starting to adopt software-defined networks this year, basing their work on OpenFlow but using different implementations, said Weckel. Business networks will move more slowly to SDN, he added.
Peter Christy, a research director in networking for market watcher 451 Research, said he doesn’t expect 2013 will be a break out year for OpenFlow, But “the broad category [of SDN] will do well in 2013 lead by virtual network implementations such as the offering from Nicira/VMWare, he said.
“The OpenFlow supply chain is beginning to cohere, but SDN overlays that deliver network virtualization from vendors such as VMware (Nicira), IBM, Nuage, and others can be rolled out today atop existing IP switch infrastructure,” said Brad Casemore, an analyst with International Data Corp. “In the near term, that will continue to be the dominant approach to SDN deployments," Casemore said.
Much of the news at Interop will center on SDN which is moving to the top of the hype curve, said Mark Fabbi of Gartner. “2013 should be a year where we start to see enterprise-ready commercial solutions” for SDN, he said.
For its part, Brocade aimed at a different set of markets, announcing a four-port 40G Ethernet router module for its systems. Financial services companies are said to be just starting the transition to 40G Ethernet.
Brocade’s systems are based in part on FPGAs. Like Arista it supports OpenFlow 1.0 in its latest software with plans to migrate to version 1.3.
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